@Psycho Gecko - Concerning the fact I always knock "Shave and a Haircut" on doors, I blame seeing Who Framed Roger Rabbit as a kid for that 'quirk.' I guess I can blame a lot of 80's movies for strangeness like that. Like humming the Back to the Future theme every time I see myself get up to 88mph while driving in the U.S. "1.21 gigawatts?!"
@Unice - I'll jump into the gender identity bits first and then the character stuff second.
About males being a mystery... The quickest way to go about it as some people I've seen who have a hard time seeing outside their own gender identity (and this happens with artists as well when drawing characters) is to just plan out the character as a female (or the identity you are familiar with). Build them as if they were just another character you'd do. Then, during the act of writing them, keep in the back of your mind that they're this other identity (male). Let little bits of your own views and biases color that character in a subtle way as you write them out. Chances are, unless you have a -really- strong bias against a particular group, you won't notice the change and your audience won't notice the character was written differently. This is the lazy person's way, but sometimes it helps.
An important thing is that males, just like females, or anyone who is trans/queer, are not monolithic. You don't have to strike off a small list of key characteristics just to make someone something. Write a good character first, then worry if they fit some sort of trope later on.
I'm trying to remember the exact questions, but I got stuck being a teacher's assistant for a few creative writing courses at a local university a few years back. One of the topics I got stuck with, which the instructor was kind enough (smart enough) to dodge by being 'sick' and sticking me with it, was gender identity tropes with character construction. So I gave some of the students scripts of questions to help people get into a frame of mind of gender tropes. A lot of students pointed out the glaring differences between the male questions and the female questions (didn't get into trans/queer characters that day, but we did go over it later on). That was part of the point of the exercise.
Before I get into that... I'd like to jump back to what you said. You like to create characters with quirks that define them. You stated you like to avoid the dynamic of strengths and weaknesses. Oddly enough, that's part of the deal with gender tropes for characters. A lot of female characters (were they to speak of themselves through an author's eyes) would probably separate themselves based off of personality quirks that make them unique. Not all of them, by all means, but it's a good mechanism for making female characters. Male characters however, again to give them their own voice based off trope, would define themselves by the very things you steer clear of. So, a male-voiced character would say "What am I good at? What do I suck at?" Some female-voiced characters see themselves laterally, if you will. What makes them unique compared to others. What good or bad quirks do they have? Only a few qualities tend to be comparative. Whereas a lot of male-voiced characters are very comparative and think of themselves vertically. They define themselves by their role to others, and then what they're good at and what they're not good at.
It's really basic and isn't 100% by all means. I know some feathers might get ruffled, but if you're going by trope, this works. A female-voiced character defines herself off of her personality, usually. A male-voiced character defines himself off of his utility to others, usually.
The differences in the character-building questions went a lot like...
Female-voiced: "What makes me special?" "What makes me weird/kooky?" "What would my friends notice about me?" "What makes others jealous of me?" "What do I want to do with my life?" "What barriers do I have to overcome to do what I want?" "Am I happy in my relationships?" "What is my connection with my parents like?" "Am I loud/quiet, or strong/passive?"
Male-voiced: "What role do I play in groups?" "What are three of my strengths?" "What are three of my weaknesses?" "What is a secret would I never share with others?" "Do I feel like a burden to others, and how?" "Am I accomplishing what others expect of me?" "Would my father/mother be proud of me?" "What are the expectations of my society upon me and do I meet them?"
It's a little heavy-handed, but that was the point of the lesson. It got students to realize double-standards and fight them to make more diverse characters. Switch questions around, break tropes a bit, but understand why they're there for some other authors out there.
When I write characters, myself, I don't appeal to trope. I try to subvert it as much as I'm able to. I write my character's personality first (a full psych profile) and then decide if they'd fit a certain identity/gender/sex/race/culture/whatever after the fact. Sometimes I'll reinforce trope and other times I deliberately try to turn it on it's head. Depends on the character, the story, and the audience I'm going for.
If I ever have a wonder at if I'm putting the right tones into the character, I will people-watch, do research, do a lot of meditation and self-reflection to put myself in the character's shoes, and then I'll go right out and ask someone of a particular denomination their views on things or run the character by them to make sure it feels 'real.'
Anyway, enough with that. On to the fun stuff. Quirks.
I can't give you a huge list of stereotypically 'male' quirks. Again, as I mentioned above, the dichotomy for me is that males tend to see their strengths and weaknesses over their quirks. Well, unless they're teenagers, are really active in the anime/furry/alt communities, and are very socially awkward... Then they'll describe themselves by their quirks. I know, I used to be one of those types.
I also like to write characters as more than strengths, weaknesses, and quirks, so it's hard for me to just make a blanket list. So, I'll try to call up as many characters that I've written for my current web serial and isolate them based off of quirks I gave them. Crank the character contrast up to 11.
Caelyra - female character - The Wicked Three
Quirk 1: She likes to use little elemental magic 'knacks' or 'rotes' she learned as a child from her home culture. She doesn't know magic properly and utterly sucks at it. Yet, every now and then she seems to pull a weird little trick out of her dabbling as a kid. Often the 'trick' she uses is not used correctly and although it seems to help the group she adventures with, those same tricks end up causing mayhem and devastation she never thought possible. She's a loose cannon when it comes to magic and her friends only ask her for help under the utmost strain.
Quirk 2: She can't handle heat, both literally and figuratively. Once her blood pressure goes up, she starts to get really licentious thoughts. This is also where she goes to when she's nervous, stressed, or bored. She is really drawn to sensual stimulation and has a hard time pulling herself back from it. Part of this is due to some past trauma and problems that come up later in the story. I'm drawing upon both my own and some people I have known in the past's personal issues to do with sexuality when it comes to this character. I won't get to far into it as it's very case-sensitive to the character for later in her story-line.
Wynnol - female character - In Places Dark & Terrible
Quirk 1: Being an artificer that has to use very complicated mixtures of science and magic, she is very visually dominant. She has a form of visual somatoform disorder where she sees what is inside her head as outward in reality. It can also be a kind of visual-to-touch synesthesia. She will often hold her hands in front of her thinking she's holding the visual cue of a certain idea or concept. She'll roll her eyes into the the back of her head when formulating a solution to something arcane and move idea-concepts around in her hands in front of her like they were holograms. This is something I drew from my own experience (I have that same problem) which I inherited from my father who is a nuclear engineer.
Quirk 2: A verbal tick because she feels a lot of social anxiety and doesn't know how to relate with others. When pressed, stressed or feeling like the other person isn't listening to her properly, she appends the word "neigh?" to the end of a question-like sentence. Similar to the use of 'ne' in Japanese or 'eh?' in Canadian English. From character POV or from the POV of someone with telepathy, it often comes across as her wishing to transmit what she feels is basic information other people should know and getting flustered that people seem to lack 'common sense.'
Vholrak - male character - Wicked Three
Quirk 1: He loves to play off of people's preconceptions and use them for his own gain or to keep people at a distance. He was once a knight in service to a duchess in a far-away land. He had a lot of pressure on him to uphold his code of honor and to uphold the rules of his family. These became too much for him so he became a rogue and mercenary, abandoning his old life so he could find freedom at last. He is a consummate con-man and only his closest friends know of his sexual identity. He's gay, but he loves to act like he's straight. Ultimately, he has a soft spot for someone back home and an unrequited love that pains him every moment. This helps to fuel his 'rake-like' ways where he doesn't seem to give a damn who he uses and abuses to get what he wants. If he can't have love, he'll have gold instead. If his love won't return his feelings, he'll replace him with male concubines along the way out a strange sort of revenge.
Quirk 2: He feels like a 'mother hen' towards his two compatriots and friends. He sees Caelyra as a little sister or daughter and Zannul as blood brother (who he also wouldn't mind having a piece of if the were open to that kind of thing, but he's not). He throws himself into dangerous positions all the time to save those he cares for and the stragglers that seem to build up around him on his adventures. He'll gladly swindle and kill anyone of equal station to him, but the sad eyes of someone in need always makes him make stupid decisions.
Ylethus - male character - In Places Dark & Terrible
Quirk 1: He's addicted to a game he inherited from his father and that he spend time playing with his brother called "Jhulkos' Maze." Like a man addicted to Dungeons & Dragons (myself), he finds every chance he can to subject others to the game and try to get them addicted to it as well. While other warriors arm wrestle, hit on wenches, make up stories about their battles, or drink themselves into a stupor, he'll be hovered over his board and dice. He subjects his warriors under him to constant games, hoping to increase their sense of strategy and wits. Ultimately, he's constantly fighting to reclaim his youth with his younger brother, when things seemed simpler and life was filled with hope.
Quirk 2: He has a constant dichotomy of love and hate when it comes to his adopted daughter, Ghelta. He loves her like a father and wishes to protect her from all the horrors of the world, yet at the same time he is the commander of an army and needs to know that she can handle herself as a capable warrior. He may be fond of throwing the lives of others away on a campaign, but he can't stand the thought of her in danger. This creates a very complicated relationship dynamic between them where Ghelta is constantly frustrated and feeling demands put upon her to be the best warrior in the community, yet she can't ever seem to see the glory of battle as her 'father' keeps pulling her away from danger at the last second.
Phrim - male character - In Places Dark & Terrible
Quirk 1: Phrim is a womanizer, but worse-yet, he's a womanizer who doesn't want to be. When he was younger, he had an ideal life as a noble. He met the woman of his dreams. He settled down and wanted to start a family. That was taken away from him and replaced with the job of being both a skaldt (bard) and a spy. His wife was murdered, his home set on fire, and he was duty-bound to a shadow cabal who controls his every waking movement. As a rebellion both against the shadows that pull at his strings, but also as a way of 'attacking' the love he lost, he uses women to fulfill his base desires. He often finds himself loving the women he so uses, and thus he has to push them away and act like a total douche to them to keep his identity in check. He's a hot mess of a human being, spiraling through self-destruction and hoping that something will finally take him out so he can return to the ancestral lands to be with his love once again. Yet, he knows he doesn't deserve such a fate based off of how he lived.
Quirk 2: He's a know-it-all, worse yet, he's a damned good skaldt. He's talented and he knows it. He corrects everyone he can on bits of lore that everyone seems to mess up. He'll even stop fighting in the middle of a battle to correct someone. He has a long and very focused memory, so unresolved issues will eat away at him until he blurts out a response, often at the worst of times.
Hildger - male character - In Places Dark & Terrible
Quirk 1: He is really suspicious of Oracles and those with divination magic. He immediately assumes that any Oracles he comes across can read his every thought. He hides his thoughts away and constantly acts awkward and slow around them, especially the character of Maenthrai (who he has a crush on). He often thinks that divination and telepathy work the same as thaumaturgical magic and has a distance requirement to it (it doesn't) so he tries to get away and keep a distance from any Oracles he deals with. To most of the Oracle students, he just seems like a chaotic mix of thoughts and insecurities who keeps running away from them.
Quirk 2: After an accident when he was training under Thaellon to become an artificer, he now has become obsessed with safety and redundancy with his projects. When forging, he taps his hammer three times before striking, which often angers a lot of his other artificers as they see it as being inefficient. He measures motes of essence down to the smallest units and double-checks his equations which adds time to his projects. When enchanting items, he often puts redundant magical effects in place that are completely unnecessary. He is thorough, and somehow maintains efficiency at his work, but he's a constant worry-wart. Only Wynnol with her arrogance and ability to cut to the quick of him, knows how to keep him from becoming an OCD mess.
Ghelta - female character - In Places Dark & Terrible
Quirk 1: She absolutely abhors weakness in others. She feels cursed and put-upon throughout her entire life. She is from a foreign land, always getting treated differently. She has blood-hair, which is a sign of being a witch in her culture. She was orphaned, not knowing her parents or her heritage. She is constantly being pressed into being a warrior by her adopted father, even though there are strange abilities in her that seem to drive her away from martial prowess. She can read people's thoughts, anticipate their actions, have monstrous nightmares of future events, and has a constant need pulling at her soul to do something she doesn't know what. She's constantly confused and it often comes out in bursts of savage anger, moody bouts, or temper tantrums. She feels cursed from the inside out. The worst is when she's exposed to someone else's weakness. She can feel the thoughts, the hidden desires, the hidden cowardice, or the 'sins' they hold back and it sends her into a violent frenzy.
Quirk 2: A character she hates is also the closest person she has to love. To her, the passion she feels for Leiros in hating him, also ends up becoming an infatuation. The scary part to her is that she can read his thoughts, as he can her's and he feels the exact same way. They feel like two ends of a magnet, drawn to each other and pushing each other away constantly. He is rational, calm, and academic while she is irrational, moody, and lives off of brute wisdom. Eventually, they realize they can't live without each other and as one changes or grows, so does the other.
There's lots more, but I don't want to bore anyone with my characters in my story. I know how boring it can be to others. That's some of the 'quirks' I have used.