The thing about stroking a man's big... ego

Explaining yesterday's epic dose of snark...

For the twenty-two-millionth time, someone decided to write an article telling women how to make a man feel like a man. Offering such sage advice as "Let him order for you" "Give him full reign in the bedroom" "Let him figure out the directions" "Pleasure him while he's driving" and "Fix his plate" the article says these are ways to let your man know how much you love and appreciate him. Just as him giving you "daily compliments and kisses" lets you know how much you are valued.

To which I respond with a resounding:
The whole vibe came across very Harlequin romance-y and not so much based in reality. It seemed to me as though the article was advocating ego-stroking just for stroking's sake. Which is fine every now and again but on the regular?  C'mon now. I love men. I don't mind giving a man his just due. If you are fantabulous I will show you and tell you and be uberappreciative. But if pumping you up is just propping you up, I have an issue. I decided to seek male opinion:

I had drinks with David, Trey, their frat brother Bryan and Jayme's husband Owen. I took the opportunity to discuss this whole "make a man feel like a man" concept. David is in a relationship, Trey is hunting looking, Bryan has been married for seven years, Owen has been married for close to twenty. Here's what they had to say:
Owen: A man is either a man or he isn't. If he's waiting on a woman to make him feel like one, there's a bigger problem underfoot. 
Trey: Agree but I don't mind a little ego stroke. 
Bryan: These days you'd be happy for any kind of stroke. 
Me: Play nice. 
Trey: What I mean is, it's great to feel appreciated but I don't need a woman to sit there in angry silence while I'm driving in circles. If I'm lost, say I'm lost. Help a brutha out. We wastin' gas cuz you want me to feel like a man behind the wheel? 
David: The overall vibe should be of mutual respect and admiration. Listen when I speak, act like I'm adding value to your world, be appreciative of things I do for you. I'll reciprocate. That stays with me longer than whether or not you scooped rice and chicken onto a plate for me. 
Owen: People get too caught up in these "How to" rules. How bout some basic common sense and courtesy? Jayme cooks most of the time so I get up and fix the plates. We have a GPS because I don't need "Owen, you missed the right turn" drama.  
Bryan: And speaking of driving - that whole treat him like a lollipop in traffic concept? That's some "we on vacation and don't care about the rental car" flow right there. C'mon now. I got kids. As for the daily compliment and kiss, that's sweet in theory. But when you've been in a relationship and married for a while, it's more genuine to say what you feel when you feel it. No, I don't tell my wife she's gorgeous everyday but when I say it,  I mean it and she's appreciative of that. 
Trey: That food ordering idea is a FAIL. People have allergies. I'm not presumptuous enough to think I can read a woman's mind and know what she wants. What I will do is defer to her first. "What do you think looks good?" or "Are you ready to order?"  
Me: The article also suggested going to company events with your man. 
David: Isn't that standard operating procedure once the relationship goes official? 
Me: And giving massages. 
Bryan: Naked massages? 
Me: That wasn't specified. 
Owen: Massages are nice if she's into it. But again, none of that is mandatory. I'd rather you give me one hour of companionable silence with a sandwich and the remote. Sometimes it's enough just to look over and see your lady sitting there with you. 
Bryan: Amen. 
David: About that giving a man full reign in bed concept.... isn't the point to be collaborative? 
Trey: I like how you kept that PG-13. 
Bryan: Yeah, I gotta say it's not a bad thing for the woman to take the reigns in mattress hockey from time to time. 
Owen: You're mixing your sports metaphors. 
Bryan: But you know what I mean. You have to keep it fresh, take turns, make a game out of it. Maybe a little role play- 
Me: Okay! We're good on that. So overall if you all had to give women advice on how to "appreciate a man" what would you tell her to do? 
Owen: Depends on the man. We're not all the same. Find out what matters to him and accommodate when you can. 
David: Just ask him. "How do you want to be treated?" Trust and believe, he'll have an answer. 
Trey: I'm of the Feed him, F**k him and let him get a nap mentality. It's really about that big piece of chicken.*
Bryan: And this is why you ain't got nobody, son. Listen, all those suggestions in the article were superficial. Treating a man like a man has nothing to do with massages and meatloaf. It's about letting your genuine respect and love for him show and acting on that. It shouldn't be a checklist like oh, this is what I gotta do for my man today. The other day Jazz (his wife) downloaded some music that I'd been talking about. The next time I was in the car, I plugged in the player and there it was. That was some thoughtful ish. 
David: I came home from a business trip overseas and found the house stocked with groceries and dinner ready to go into the microwave. I felt like a king. 
Owen: Jayme got those kids up and off to camp while I slept in. They'll be gone for three weeks. Now that's cause for gratitude. 
Trey: All ya'll braggin' azzes. Whatever. 
Me: And on that note.... thank you menfolk.
BougieLand, what say you? Ladies, how do let your man know he's appreciated? Gents, thoughts on the topic? What in all that is holy does "letting a man feel like a man" mean any damn way?!

*The "Big Piece of Chicken" references a Chris Rock joke. NSFW