5 Reasons Why Ernest Hemingway Was A Total Badass

Ernest Hemingway was The Man. In a fight between him, Teddy Roosevelt, and an African elephant ... even if he didn't win (doubtful), he'd still manage to be the coolest. Despite spending much his time drunk in front of a typewriter, he somehow managed to be an Awesome Showcase of Manly Prowess. Don't believe us? Check this out ...

Chest hair competition causes Hemingway to smack a writer in the face (with his own book!)

Hemingway was into bull-fighting, and not the way most bullfighting fans are (obsessively watching it while drunk, though Hemingway almost certainly did that some point). No, Hemingway was an amateur bull-fighter, who entered rings with bulls and waved flags at them until they got mad enough to charge at him. Hemingway did this for fun. He loved it so much, he wrote a book called Death in the Afternoon, all about bull-fighting.

Rival Max Eastman later wrote an essay called "Bull in the Afternoon," making light of Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon, including a challenge for Hemingway to "[c]ome out from behind that false hair on your chest." So Hemingway went to Eastman's office and ... bared his chest. Eastman ripped his own shirt open and the two stood, staring at each other's chests. (This incident would go on to create literally thousands of fan-fics, or would have, had the internet existed back then.)

Then Hemingway saw Eastman's book — the one his essay was in — laying on his desk, and lost his mind. Hemingway picked it up and walloped Eastman in the face with it. He would later say he wished that he could be left alone in a locked room with Eastman. Had this happened, we're pretty sure Eastman wouldn't have made it out alive.

He helped liberate Paris ... in his own way

Though Hemingway was an expert hunter who went on safaris as often as you order pizza, there was one animal that Hemingway liked best to hunt — man. As he said, "Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man. and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else." He knew what he was talking about, too. See, Hemingway entered World War II as a correspondent, but quickly decided that was a bit boring. So he entertained himself with one of his favorite pastimes: drinking at The Ritz, a posh hotel in Paris. However, Germany had recently taken over Paris, and was using the hotel as a generals' quarters. That didn't sit well with Hemingway. Plus, with a whole war going on, was he just going to sit it out? Of course not! So he rounded up a rag-tag group of soldiers and countrymen, and helped liberate Paris.

Well, and drink a lot, of course. According to everyone, this was Hemingway in his ultimate element — playing soldier, getting drunk, and probably playing soldier while getting drunk. Hemingway and his soldiers would stop at dozens of places — ducking sniper fire, then heading to bars — before getting to the Ritz hotel in Paris, where Hemingway went in and had some champagne. If you go the hotel now, you can sit in the Bar Hemingway and order some champagne yourself. War hopefully not included.

He almost died ... a LOT

Though he went to war, Hemingway didn't get that close to dying because of it. He did almost die when he went on safari, but not because of the animals — they were too scared to try. He almost died because God tried to strike him down in two separate plane crashes, in the same country, in the same year. According to a letter he wrote to a friend, he suffered (among other things) a major concussion, damage to his kidney, liver, intestines, and sphincter, burns all over, tons of damage to his legs and arms ... oh, and he lost much of his sight in his left eye (which he wryly remarked wasn't that great to begin with).

Another time, he almost died while shark diving. Not because of the shark — like we said, no animal is dumb enough to mess with The Man. However, while dealing with the shark, Hemingway accidentally shot himself in the legs. Despite this,along with everything that was thrown at him, he just kept going. The last he wanted was to prove those stupid planes and animals right.

Was investigated by the FBI ... because he was a KGB spy

Hemingway was a pretty good friend to Cuba and even lived in Key West, which is basically the physical manifestation of America telling Cuba, "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you." Since he lived in an exceptionally paranoid time, the FBI suspected him of, ya know, something, for sure. Hemingway even knew about it, complaining to friends about how much of a pain the FBI were being. You know you're a badass when the FBI investigates you and your response is just north of *rolls eyes*.

Of course, the FBI had their reasons for investigating him, like how he was actually a spy for the KGB. Yes, the Russians. Sometimes paranoia hits a bullseye. "Argo" — like that movie starring Batman — was his code-name and though he worked for them for years, he never actually did anything. Maybe the whole thing was a ploy because he considered spying unmanly? Or maybe he just wanted to mess with everyone. Despite being possibly the worst (or most apathetic) spy ever, the FBI pursued him for so long, some people (like his close friend, AE Hotchner) think their investigations led directly to his suicide. In the end, guns and war and fierce animals be damned — the only thing that could kill Ernest Hemingway, was Hemingway.

He wrote like a total boss

Hemingway was so boss, he even managed to find a way to turn writing into something you'd see in an action movie. From the fact that he did most of his writing while standing, to him describing the act of writing as "you ... sit down at a typewriter and bleed" (or in his case, stand and bleed), Hemingway made sure that even when tapping keys, he managed to be a badass.

Of course, sometimes he didn't even need to do anything aside from write to be a badass. See, when he was a war correspondent — between liberating cities and getting drunk — Hemingway did some non-reporter writing. But of course, his own proclivities won out over his responsibilities. While in Spain — which was facing daily bombing — Hemingway sat down and said, "You know what, maybe I should write a play!" And thus the world got The Fifth Column, which was so memorable it only saw its second-ever performance in 2016. Nobody tell Hemingway we ignored his war-muse baby for so long. He'll probably come back from the dead and hurt us all.