Friday, September 21, 2007

Nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills...

So, courtesy of Times and Seasons, I found this list of 25 things every man should know. (The list comes from Popular Mechanics magazine, FYI.)

Lists of this sort interest me. I'm a single boy, and I want to be a married man. And like Napoleon Dynamite, I have noticed that women are looking for men with skills. They make their own lists of desirable attributes and skills, and compare potential mates to the lists. (Tell me it ain't so, ladies.) So when I see a list like this, no matter how stupid, I usually stop and compare myself.

Now, here's the list:

1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who has capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire
8. Fix a dead outlet
9. Navigate with a map and compass
10. Use a torque wrench
11. Sharpen a knife
12. Perform CPR
13. Fillet a fish
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
15. Get a car unstuck
16. Back up data
17. Paint a room
18. Mix concrete
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
20. Change oil and filter
21. Hook up an HDTV
22. Bleed brakes
23. Paddle a canoe
24. Fix a bike flat
25. Extend your wireless network

Wow. Rough. I have no idea how to even start about three-quarters of these. In my defense, I think most guys would not do a lot better. For instance, even combining efforts with my four brothers, I think we only have about 70% of this list covered. And I think we're a pretty capable crew.

But I do think there are some things that every man should be able to do that aren't on this list. Especially when I start thinking about my dad, who to me is the pinnacle of manliness. So here are some things I think are necessary for a good dad, and a good husband.

* Grill (It's even better to actually be able to cook, but grilling is a must.)
* Soothe a crying baby (My dad has the magic touch on this one. You put a baby in his hands, and crying just stops.)
* Dance (I can't do this one at all. My bones rebel.)
* Fight (Haven't done this in years, but I think the power to defend yourself and your family is an important part of being a man.)
* Tie a tie (If someone else has to tie it for you, you are still a boy.)
* Play sports (Not all sports, but you should be able to throw a pass, hit a pitch, sink a jumpshot, etc. I feel confident about swimming, frisbee, soccer, and a few others, but I cringe thinking of the day when my brother-in-law told me I threw a baseball like a girl. The shame!)
* Garden (Real men grow food.)

There are probably more, but I think this is a good start. And I wouldn't even know how to begin a list of skills necessary for a woman. But maybe you, my imaginary readers, have some ideas.



David said...

Things I think real men should be able to do:
1) Play one musical instrument. Weird ones like the piccolo don't count.
2) Cook. I agree with John on this one. Grilling is essential, as is cooking at least a few other dishes that aren't grilled. I don't mean gourmet cooking, but a real man should be able to feed himself without the aid of frozen meals.
3) Cry. I'm just kidding. Real men don't need that. As my father taught me, "it's only macho if you don't cry"
4) Know the names of basic tools and how to use them. If you don't know what an Allen wrench is, you are not a man.
5) Be quiet. I recently sat with my father and stared at a campfire for hours. There was no need for talking. Three men (John was there too) just sat and thought.
Maybe I'll think of more later.

the House of Payne said...

Good points, all. Here are a couple more for my list:

* Grow facial hair (This is more than having follicles sprout whiskers. You have to be able to make it look good.)

* Terminate pests (Maybe this is part of defending your family, but if there's a big nasty spider, or a colony of wasps, someone has to do the deed. Ditto for mice or snakes or whatever. Men kill vermin.)

Kam said...

Very entertaining list, John! I agree with most of your additions, and laughed at some from the original list, like "protect your computer" (Brian is a real man there, of course), and "paddle a canoe" (is that really sooo necessary, and is really a "manly" thing?? I mean, I can paddle a canoe, maybe I'm a real man?)

the House of Payne said...

Maybe these skills are necessary but not sufficient for manhood?

(Or is that just a ridiculously nerdy way to say that?)