Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | November 14, 2008

Manly, Much?!

Okay, so early today I stumbled across a link from ‘Popular Mechanics’ listing the 100 essential skills any competent man should have. Well, because I felt moderately…um…emasculated upon initially reading the list, I figured the only way to really find my place on the Manliness Meter would be to go through, skill-by-skill and determine whether or not it’s a skill that I possess. So here we go friends…


1. Handle a blowout

– Sure, that one’s not too hard.


2. Drive in snow

– Hell yes, Iowa-represent! Maybe this won’t be so bad.


automotive0013. Check trouble codes

– No…


4. Replace fan belt

– No, again.


5. Wax a car

– Maybe?!


6. Conquer an off-road obstacle

– Like a bear?! Because I was not informed that bears would be involved in this line of questioning!!


7. Use a stick welder

 – I don’t swing that way.


8. Hitch up a trailer

– Sure, why not.


9. Jump-start a car

– Been there done that!


Man-Score:  3 ½ out of 9



10. Perform the Heimlich

 – I think so.


11. Reverse hypothermia

– As opposed to forward hypothermia?


12. Perform hands-only CPR

– Meaning no make-out session?!


13. Escape a sinking car

– Wha…at?!


Man-Score: ¾ out of 4.


14. Carve a turkey

– I can eat it like a champ! That should count for something.

15. Use a sewing machine

– If it’s all threaded and stuff, sure.


16. Put out a fire

– Hell yes, an easy one!


17. Home-brew beer

– Damn…no. That’s a cool one too!!


18. Remove bloodstains from fabric

– If I’ve got clothes with blood stains, there’s a good chance I’m going to get around to disposing of those things before anyone starts asking questions!


handyman00119. Move heavy stuff
– Duh.


20. Grow food
– Um, I’ve planted veggies before and lived on a pig farm…I’m totally counting this one!


21. Read an electric meter
– It’s just numbers…I don’t know what they mean…but “technically” I can, in fact READ the meter. Counting it!


22. Shovel the right way
– There’s a wrong way to shovel?  Damn, I think that’s probably going to count as a no.


23. Solder wire
– Duct tape?! No…shit. Another one down!


24. Tape drywall

– Sure, I’d call my Pappy and ask him to do it.


25. Split firewood
– No probs…half for you, half for me. Simple!


26. Replace a faucet washer
– Dish washer, I know. Clothes washer, I know. Faucet washer, nothing…


27. Mix concrete
– Doesn’t it do that itself in the big truck?!


28. Paint a straight line

– It’s been a while since I got one of these, I’m taking this one!


29. Use a French knife
– I don’t know where our knives come from, but I’m going to assume somewhere in the French countryside. Point!


30. Prune bushes and small trees
– Not well, but yes.


31. Iron a shirt
– Oh come on, I’m not retarded…yes I can iron a shirt! Man points galore!


32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
– Ironically enough…yes. I rule at fixing toilets. Perhaps I’m in the wrong profession?!


33. Change a single-pole switch
– Who?!


34. Fell a tree
– Meaning knock one over? Don’t you just chop at it?!


35. Replace a broken windowpane
– Shit…


36. Set up a ladder, safely
– And then leap off of it onto a prone enemy laid out on the announcer’s table? Sorry, flashback to my hardcore wrestling past…Sure, I can set up a ladder.


37. Fix a faucet cartridge
– Come on, what’s with all these faucet questions. If every man could do it, plumbers wouldn’t have a job!


38. Sweat copper tubing
– Bring it on a treadmill?


39. Change a diaper
– How does this correlate with any of the previous skills? And yes…I can change a diaper.


40. Grill with charcoal
– No probs. It takes forever and a day—but I can do it.


41. Sew a button on a shirt
– Nah, just wear the shirt open…it’s a cool look, right?!


42. Fold a flag
– Properly, no. Folded, like end-to-end-to-end-to-end-to-end…sure!


Man-Score: 12 ½  out of 29 (not too shabby!)




firstaid00143. Treat frostbite
– Go to the doctor?


44. Treat a burn
– Rub up against someone with frostbite?


45. Help a seizure victim
– Stand back and call an ambulance. Oh and make sure they don’t hit their head and they don’t swallow their tongue. But don’t try to hold them or make them stop moving! BAM!


46. Treat a snakebite

– I know the correct answer is to like tie off the bitten area to keep the poison from spreading and then suck it out, but honestly, it’s going to depend on how well I know the person…otherwise ‘call an ambulance’ might suffice.


47. Remove a tick
– I think you’re supposed to either freeze them or burn them. Not totally sure.


Man-Score: 2 ½ out of 5

Military Know-How


48. Shine shoes
– Go to an airport. Fork over $15.


49. Make a drum-tight bed
– What? I couldn’t make a tambourine-tight bed if my life depended on it, let alone a drum-tight one…Jebus!


50. Drop and give the perfect pushup
– If by perfect you mean bitching and moaning whilst keeping my ass four feet in the air and touching my face to the ground like some sort of newly-born calf, then sure…I can do that.


Man-Score: 0 out of 3


outdoors00351. Run rapids in a canoe
– Pffffffft….


52. Hang food in the wild
– Rope + Cooler + Tree = Problem Solved


53. Skipper a boat
– TeeHee…like Gilligan’s Island!!


54. Shoot straight
– Handgun, sure. Rifle, whatevs…


55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike
– If by ‘tackle’ they mean roll end-over-end down the side of a mountain until my demise, then sure…


56. Escape a rip current
– Stay out of the water. Damn, I’m a real outdoorsman!


Man-Score: 2 out of 6


57. Build a fire in the wilderness
– Without some sort of fire-starting device?! Fat-chance!


58. Build a shelter
– Nope…I knew I should have read “The Hatchet” another time!!


59. Find potable water
– Do you guys mean potato water? Oh wait…that doesn’t make any sense either. I guess no. Son of a bitch. I just went 0-for-Survival!!!!


Man-Score: 0 out of 3 (aka: death)

Surviving Extremes


tornado00160. Floods
– Get a boat. Stay on a roof. Don’t go in the water. Nah, dead.


61. Tornados

-Yes! Thank you Midwest! Go the basement, stay away from windows and doors. Keep flashlights, some water and food around. If you can, open some windows so that the pressure doesn’t make your house implode.


62. Cold
– Stay inside and turn the heat-up.


63. Heat
-Get a fan or find a friend who has A/C…idiots.


64. Lightning
-Again…hang out inside. Duh!


Man-Score: 2 ½ out of 5

Teach Your Kids


teachingkids00265. Cast a line
– Fishing blows anyway. No child of mine or any child I’ve abducted from a busy mall will ever learn to fish from me!!


66. Lend a hand
– Help people? Seriously. Like will the kid be brain-dead…does it really need me to show it how to help people?! Either way this one’s a big-fat yes.


67. Change a tire


68. Throw a spiral
– Occasionally…I’m more of a receiver than a quarterback and when I am chucking the ball, I prefer to run short routes over the top and in the flats to keep the defense off their game.


69. Fly a stunt kite
– Stunt kite? Shit, I can’t make the most basic of kites stay in the air for more than 8 seconds at a time.


70. Drive a stick shift
– A lil bit. I could give it a go, but it’s been quite a while and I’m pretty sure I’d burn out the transmission in like 10 minutes or less.


71. Parallel park
– Actually, yeah, I’m a pretty solid parallel parker.


72. Tie a bowline
– A what?! Like a bow for a present? They just have a little sticky thing on them that you peel off and then smash it down onto the box. Silly ‘Popular Mechanics’…you guys have so much to learn.


73. Tie a necktie
– If I am staring at a detailed drawing that illustrates the process in as few simple steps as possible…then sure. Without the drawing…not so much.


74. Whittle
– You mean do I know how to push a knife against a piece of wood. I have a college education…so I think I can figure it out.


75. Ride a bike
– Seriously?! Rid a bike makes the list?! Did you guys just run out of ideas or what?! Is ‘walk’ going to be in there somewhere? How’s about ‘talk’ or ‘eat’ or ‘poo’…come on.


Man-Score: 6 ½ out of 11


76. Install a graphics card
– Not even a little bit.


77. Take the perfect portrait
– Pay someone to do it?


78. Calibrate HDTV settings
-I’ve got basic cable and up until it died I had a TV from Goodwill…I think not.


79. Shoot a home movie
– Is this a porn question?


80. Ditch your hard drive
– Destroy with hammer. Scatter various pieces amongst the four corners of the earth.


Man-Score: 0 out of 5

Master These Key Workshop Tools


81. Drill driver
– Yes, I can rock a drill!!


82. Grease gun
– Squeeze trigger, goo comes out. Done and done.


83. Coolant hydrometer
– Not even gonna pretend I know what the hell they’re talking about.


84. Socket wrench
– The fact that I had to Google ‘socket wrench’ makes me think I should go with no, but I do know how to use one…just couldn’t picture it? Half-credit me thinks!


85. Test light
– As opposed to real light?


86. Brick trowel
– Honestly, I can’t even think of anything witty for this one. *sigh*


87. Framing hammer
– I can only assume this is a bloody, yet fingerprint-free hammer you would place in someone’s house after you’ve bludgeoned a co-worker to death with it?!


toolbench00188. Wood chisel
– Chisel. Simple. Done.


89. Spade bit
– Let’s be honest, a Spade bit just isn’t the same without a Farley bit right alongside it.


90. Circular saw
– Yeah, I know better than to touch that…I appreciate having 10 digits upstairs and downstairs.


91. Sledge hammer
– I used to sleep with a sledge hammer under my pillow during my freshman year of college…true story!


92. Hacksaw
– I think my Pappy panicked when we were young and gave us all a hacksaw for Christmas…until we started cutting shit up all over the place…it seemed really cute.


93. Torque wrench
– Riiiiiight, next!


94. Air wrench
– Come on now, throw me a bone here.


95. Infrared thermometer
– Infrared thermometer?! That’s you throwing me a bone? Thanks a whole f’n hoot Popular Mechanics. Kiss my non-tool-loving ass!!


96. Sand blaster
– Whatevs, I don’t need you to throw me a bone. Tools are overrated anyway. But seriously…if you’d ask about a ‘hammer’ or perhaps a ‘phillips head screwdriver’ I wouldn’t complain.


97. Crosscut saw
– All this does is make me think of how sick I am of all the ‘Saw’ movies…


98. Hand plane
-Without going to flight school…I think not!


99. Multimeter
-No, no…I hate the metric system.


100. Feeler gauges

-TeeHee…that sound dirty!


Man-Score: 5 ½ out of 20


Total Man-Score on the Manliness Meter: 35 ¾ out of 100


Well folks. I honestly don’t know what to say. I mean, logically I could ramble on about how I’m shocked and appalled and demand a recount, but let’s be real, a recount would probably take away some of the very iffy yes answers I gave and kill my score even more.


I suppose I should feel ashamed or something, but let’s be honest here, I work in a library. Working in a library requires like half-a-dozen of these skills—at best—and I’m pretty sure I had at least half of those!!


So fear not friends, despite my unfathomably low rating on the ole Manliness Meter I think I’m going to be okay. I mean, obviously I’m never going near a garage or workshop of any kind. And I don’t believe I’ll be planning any excursions to large, desolate wooded areas any time soon, but I’ll carry on, and do the best I can as a 35% male.


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