Time to Man Up

March 1, 2010

What makes a real man?

Some people think a real man is a guy who only eats animals that he killed with his bare hands.  Others think a real man is one who knows how to snuggle really well.  Some tribal cultures say you’re a man after you’ve been punctured with animal bones and thrown off a cliff.  Some people argue about what made Jesus manly.  Did he have a soft “feminine” side which made him manly, or could he beat up Mark Driscoll, and that’s why he was manly?

You can probably be a real man by doing just about anything.  It’s all about how you do it.  Well, except figure skating.  That’s pretty hard make manly. 

Last week, I was thinking about how to impress people with good handshakes and conversation skills.  But there’s a lot more to being a real man.  I should know, since I’ve been pretty unmanly most of my life.  And since the first rule of manliness is questioning others’ manliness, I’m here to help you out.  See how you (or your man, or son, or brother or prepubecent nephew) stack up in these five essential ways.

Oh, and we’ll be sure to help the ladies out soon too.

What Makes a Man?  Five Man Parts:

Man Hands
Since I talked about handshakes last week, let’s start with a man’s hands.  If a guy can’t shake hands, chances are, he can’t do anything else with his hands that a man should do.

Guys are all good at different things.  That’s fine.  I’m not an electrician, and I don’t plan to be.  But any guy should have the hands, the tools, and the completely unfounded confidence it takes to do a few handy things for himself.  A guy should at least have a set of screwdrivers, and know which end goes in the electrical socket.  He should have the bull-headed determination to unclog his own drain by any means necessary.  A guy should have a pair of work gloves so he doesn’t mess up his manicure when he rakes leaves.  He doesn’t have to be a mechanical genius.  But he should at least be able to make a mechanical problem worse while trying to fix it before calling a professional.

If a guy doesn’t have man hands, he’s always going to be paying another man to put his hands all over his stuff.  No good.

Man Mouth
Some dudes know all the right things to say.  Others are men of few words.  A couple of them can sing.  But if there’s one place a man should know what to say, it’s when buying a car.  Buying a car is the last stand for manly face to face haggling in America.  Sadly, most men have not had enough practice at it.  If I had to stare down and intimidate the cashier every time I wanted a piece of fruit, I might not get hosed when I want to buy a car.

If a guy can put a smarmy salesman in his place, it’ll be easier to learn to do other manly things, like tell a good joke or give a speech, or negotiate a hostage situation.

Man Brain
Men usually have some childish, or useless hobby they occupy their free time with. This is a carry over from childhood. Thankfully, most guys give up blowing up army men in their tree forts eventually. Still, some part of most men remain boys with toys. While somehow, I think Jesus would have a manly hobby, like model trains, rather than playing World of Warcraft, I’m not going to discriminate.

What’s not manly is being an obsessive fanboy who spents all of his time and money on nothing but his hobby, even if said hobby is exceptionally manly. Little boys spend all their time and energy on childish things.  Men don’t.  Unless your hobby is being Chuck Norris, it should not be a full time occupation.

Man Palate
Guys, I’m telling you, I snagged my woman pretty much solely on my kitchen skills. I really didn’t have that much else going for me.

I’m all for bachin’ it up when my wife is gone with take out pizza and other man food. But you shouldn’t be living on Easy Mac and Pop Tarts just because your woman isn’t around to cook for you. Knowing how to cook meat over fire is a good start. But you should probably have a command of flavors other than Tobasco sauce too.

Man Arms
Men often attempt to display their manliness through misguided usage of their man arms.  Things like arm wrestling is a popular, but weak show of manly prowess.

A man is a real man when he knows how to properly hug other men.  If you are unpracticed, the specific sequence of steps to man-hug (or “mug” as I say) is: handshake (don’t screw it up), the reach-around, the double back slap, and release.  If you don’t hit your fellow man on the back, it’s more like two dudes in a sweet embrace instead of “mugging” each other.

It’s really calls into question a guy’s manliness when he doesn’t know how to do this.  If you are a man-hugging novice, I suggest you practice on tigers or alligators before you attempt a real man hug and risk shaming yourself.

Whatever you do, don’t let your man hug fall into these traps:

These are pretty greivous errors.  Going in for a hug while on the move, or from the back, or forgetting you’re hugging a dude can pretty well destroy a man hug.
How did you or your man score?  What else are essential manly skills to you?