My opinion on this is obvious from my previous posts but I'll extrapolate a little through personal experience. I live on Long Island which is outside of NYC but surprisingly different from. It is a very close minded area and definitely has the same view as the OP on what makes a "real man."
You can probably guess that I don't fit this stereotype although it has nothing to do with being a nerd. It has to do with the fact that, apparently, to most LIers I am a gay man. I'm not. But I guess my actions and personality make them think that. For example, I have pretty much ZERO talent with mechanical things or with fixing broken appliances. I dress very well, button down shirts and nice jeans. I also wear tighter clothing because I like the way it looks. I am artsy, for Long Island at least, and would rather talk about movies or books than sports or beer or whatever else.
I'm also a bit feminine (again, in their opinion- I don't think there's such a thing as definite feminine behavior) in my behavior. I tend to wave my hands around a lot while talking and I'm very expressive as opposed to stoic and don't have much of a "manly" walk.
Now I could easily change some of this. I've always refused as it would be a lie. But I can't say that it's not frustrating and has made it difficult for me to make friends here. Since I've been in the city more I've made a lot more pals.
I also want to add that by no means am I trying to say I have it as hard as men who are gay- definitely not true. I'm just saying the fact that I'm perceived as gay or not a real man or both has hurt me a lot throughout my life. I've tried my best to remain true to myself, though.
For what it's worth, I know how you feel. I live in a part of Southwestern Ohio that's right smack in the heart of "dually truck, skoal tucked into your lip, cut off tee shirt even in the winter, readin' books with just words are for pussies" country.
I smile a lot, use the mid-register of my voice instead of the deeper country twang, and I'm polite, saying "Please, thank you, sir, ma'am", and so on. This results in my getting funny looks, epithets tossed my way. Hell, I used to work in a farmer's market office, where a booth owner actually asked me "if I was a faggot" because I referred to him as "gentleman", when getting assistance from another office clerk.
Most of you obviously know about my love of cartoons, one in particular, which of course draws it's own assumptions about my sexuality, and about my preponderance towards other things by which I will not dwell on here.
The point is, there is this ridiculous notion that men must behave a certain way, that they have to follow some kind of guideline to "be a man", and it's all arbitrary.