This is a question that has raged on for generations about so-called tough guys. This is so much more these, as the glut of "hardman" books have died the death with publishers. Some people like Bernard O`Mahoney, a man intensely disliked by the London crowd, due to his so-called "grassing", is trying to put some truthful product on the market. He is a man who tells it as it is and does not spout the usual bullshit about loyalty and honour.
The typical tough guy must have the following attributes: He never loses a fight, or if he does lose, it is to some very tough nuts, so as to keep up the illusion. He hates all bullies, despite the fact that most professional criminals are ruthless bullies themselves! They never harm any women and children. Hmmm. Remember the Pen Club Murder in 1960? A man called Selwyn Cooney was shot dead. Jimmy Nash was facing capital murder and the hangman. The girlfriend of a witness was attacked twice and carved up with razors. Yet, in their memoirs, have any crims condemned these attacks? No! Why should they? They also never maltreat women. Yeah, sure they don`t. They are also the most truthful. A lie never dribbles from their lips. Yet, all coppers are compulsive and pathological liars! They spout the "Honour amongst thieves" bollocks, as they would never contemplate robbing some other tea leaf just to put a little money in their pockets. Absolute salt of the Earth. They also operate by some sort of "code".
Another attribute to these heroes is that they are top men, even if people have not heard of them, and do not even consider saying that they are talking out of their arses and just who are they. Narcissism is not an affliction they suffer from, and they are just honest decent villains. Jackanory, Jackanory!