Sure, this sort of list has been hashed out a million times on internet sites, in Men’s magazines and over drinks at a bar. But here’s my take on it (in no particular order):
1. Wash your own laundry:
Wash it, dry it, fold it, maybe even hang some of it up to dry so it doesn’t shrink. You don’t really need to sort it all out, that’s one of those female “myths” that’s been perpetuated for eternity. Well, except for anything red… sort that shit out or you’ll have a real problem with pink underwear. While you’re at it, learn to operate an iron. Then go wash a bunch of dishes. You might get laid.
2. Tie a tie:
I know, I know… I can already hear you saying “I don’t ever wear a tie, why should I need to know how to tie one?” Well, because you should. Guys have been wearing ties for a long time and it’s just a manly thing to do. Plus if you have a son, teaching him to tie a tie is a rite of passage, right up there with throwing a ball, riding a bike and learning how to shave. So go put on a dress shirt and learn to tie a basic Windsor knot. If you’re not used to wearing a tie, it may be uncomfortable and will likely generate some activity from your gag reflex. But it’s good for your soul.
3. Build a fire:
Everyone loves a good fire. It’s one of those things like water and air and sunshine that bring us life and make us happy. I’m not talking survivalist skills here. I don’t expect you to go out and start a fire by rubbing sticks together. I’m talking about quickly building a fire, in your fire pit at home, or at a campground or even in your own fireplace, with some wood you found, some very basic supplies and without having to use gasoline, an entire box of matches and every last page of the New York Times.
4. Change a flat tire:
We’ve all been driving down the road and heard that ominous thump, thump, thump sound. Or even walked out into our driveway and found our car leaning just a little bit because a tire was flat. When that happens you have two choices: call up the Auto Service membership you’ve been paying for and when the handsome guy shows up in tight jeans with ripped arms you can hand him your man card… uhhh… I mean your Auto Service card (and maybe your wife) and have him change your tire. Or you can change your own tire. It’s not hard.
5. Mix a decent drink:
With all due respect to all the problems that alcohol sometimes causes in our society, mixing and consuming alcoholic beverages is becoming a lost art. All most of us drink anymore is crappy American beer and cheap wine. I’m as guilty as the next guy. So learn how to mix some basic classic drinks and next time you have some friends over instead of handing out cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, impress them with a Whiskey Sour or a Manhattan.
6. Split wood with an ax:
Is there anything more manly and satisfying than swinging an ax or better yet a heavy wood maul through a log? If you haven’t split wood in years, or maybe even (gasp!) ever, go out and try it. Seriously, you’ll feel totally fucking exhilarated, like Stallone training for his fight against Ivan Drago by splitting wood in Rocky Four. But it also can go wildly wrong if you aren’t careful and don’t follow some simple precautionary rules. There’s a reason axes often pop up in Slasher movies.
7. Do basic home repairs:
You can leave the serious, heavy electric, plumbing and structural work to a professional. I sure do. But you shouldn’t need to call Joe Contractor every time you have to change out a busted electric socket or fix a window or replace a doorknob or clear a drain. Be adept with a hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wrenches, and a few other basic tools. Simple repairs are just that… simple… and there are endless instructional videos available on the internet. No, duct tape doesn’t count.
8. Sew a button:
Buttons are constantly falling off our clothes. That’s why often when you buy a shirt or pair of pants, there are those extra buttons sewn into weird places on the garment. So when one falls off learn to sew it back on. It doesn’t need to look great as long as the thread matches up pretty well. If someone is looking at your pants button that closely, well, then you might have other problems. Remember that sweet pillow you had to make in Home Economics class in high school? If you could handle that, surely you can handle sewing on a button.
9. Cook on a grill:
There’s something rewarding and special about cooking on a grill that’s different from cooking in a kitchen. It’s the whole experience, the charred meat, the ashes if you’re using charcoal, the “being outside” thing with a drink in one hand and the grilling tongs in the other. Plus you don’t really have to be a very good cook to produce a decent meal on a grill. The food is supposed to be sort of burned.
10. Cry in front of others:
Don’t worry I’m not asking you to get together with all your buddies and watch a Rom Com and have everyone get all misty eyed. But hey, it’s okay to show some emotion once in a while. If something sad occurs in your life, or your kid does something really special that makes you super proud or you see a really great Hallmark or Folger’s Coffee commercial on the TV… go ahead and let it out. C’mon brother, there’s nothing to be ashamed of!
So there you go… what would you add to this list?