Being a Man

Interesting list, if a little long. Personal selections below.

Skills for Men – Things Men Should Be Able to Do – Esquire

2. Tell if someone is lying. Everyone has his theory. Pick one, test it. Choose the tells that work for you. I like these: Liars change the subject quickly. Liars look up and to their right when they speak. Liars use fewer contractions. Liars will sometimes stare straight at you and employ a dead face. Liars never touch their chest or heart except self-consciously. Liars place objects between themselves and you during a conversation.

5. Name a book that matters. The Catcher in the Rye does not matter. Not really. You gotta read.

11. Swim three different strokes. Doggie paddle doesn’t count.

12. Show respect without being a suck-up. Respect the following, in this order: age, experience, record, reputation. Don’t mention any of it.

13. Throw a punch. Close enough, but not too close. Swing with your shoulders, not your arm. Long punches rarely land squarely. So forget the roundhouse. You don’t have a haymaker. Follow through; don’t pop and pull back. The length you give the punch should come in the form of extension after the point of contact. Just remember, the bones in your hand are small and easy to break. You’re better off striking hard with the heel of your palm. Or you could buy the guy a beer and talk it out.

15. Calculate square footage. Width times length.

18. Speak a foreign language.
Pas beaucoup. Mais faites un effort.

19. Approach a woman out of his league.

Ever have a shoeshine from a guy you really admire? He works hard enough that he doesn’t have to tell stupid jokes; he doesn’t stare at your legs; he knows things you don’t, but he doesn’t talk about them every minute; he doesn’t scrape or apologize for his status or his job or the way he is dressed; he does his job confidently and with a quiet relish. That stuff is wildly inviting. Act like that guy.

32. Describe a glass of wine in one sentence without using the terms nutty, fruity, oaky, finish, or kick.

I once stood in a wine store in West Hollywood where the owner described a pinot noir he favored as “a night walk through a wet garden.” I bought it. I went to my hotel and drank it by myself, looking at the flickering city with my feet on the windowsill. I don’t know which was more right, the wine or the vision that he placed in my head. Point is, it was right.

34. Dress a wound.
First, stop the bleeding. Apply pressure using a gauze pad. Stay with the pressure. If you can’t stop the bleeding, forget the next step, just get to a hospital. Once the bleeding stops, clean the wound. Use water or saline solution; a little soap is good, too. If you can’t get the wound clean, then forget the next step, just get to a hospital. Finally, dress the wound. For a laceration, push the edges together and apply a butterfly bandage. For avulsions, where the skin is punctured and pulled back like a trapdoor, push the skin back and use a butterfly. Slather the area in antibacterial ointment. Cover the wound with a gauze pad taped into place. Change that dressing every 12 hours, checking carefully for signs of infection. Better yet, get to a hospital.

38. Tell a joke. Here’s one:

Two guys are walking down a dark alley when a mugger approaches them and demands their money. They both grudgingly pull out their wallets and begin taking out their cash. Just then, one guy turns to the other, hands him a bill, and says, “Hey, here’s that $20 I owe you.”

39. Know when to split his cards in blackjack.

Aces. Eights. Always.

43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help. Just turn off the damned main.

44. Ask for help.

Guys who refuse to ask for help are the most cursed men of all. The stubborn, the self-possessed, and the distant. The hell with them.

45. Break another man’s grip on his wrist. Rotate your arm rapidly in the grip, toward the other guy’s thumb.

70. Shake hands. Steady, firm, pump, let go. Use the time to make eye contact, since that’s where the social contract begins.

close up of an iron pressing a shirt

71. Iron a shirt. My uncle Tony the tailor once told me of ironing: Start rough, end gently.

73. Caress a woman’s neck. Back of your fingers, in a slow fan.

75. Negotiate a better price. Be informed. Know the price of competitors. In a big store, look for a manager. Don’t be an asshole. Use one phrase as your mantra, like “I need a little help with this one.” Repeat it, as an invitation to him. Don’t beg. Ever. Offer something: your loyalty, your next purchase, even your friendship, and, with the deal done, your gratitude.

I can handle 5,11,12,13,18,19(?only girls who fit the description are allowed to comment on this specific point. And since I don’t know any…but random women, feel free if you judge yourselves worthy, to add on any helpful tips),38,39,44,45,70,73(this I don’t need validation for, been there, done that) and 75. Obviously I can DO most of the rest, I simply don’t feel they’re points of competence. Like, I would much rather have someone else iron a shirt if I’m going for an interview.

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3 thoughts on “Being a Man

  1. Well at least one other who does not think catcher in the rye is the best book ever. ive come across ppl who have either not read it, or have read it and loved it.

    Blah

  2. 🙂 Well, I don’t think its the best I’ve ever read, although its certainly a decent read…but in this case, I wasn’t expressing an opinion, it was pure copy and paste.

  3. Although, I’m surprised that your friends would find it so wonderful…it’s a very “American” tale, and while it is one of those universal growing up stories its a little harder for us to connect to than the average American. I think.

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