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What maketh a man? A meme May 16, 2008

Posted by caveblogem in Other.

I’ve been trying to decide whether or not to post this, and prairieflounder’s beer post pushed me over the edge today. (I guess it might not be obvious exactly why. It was because of number 24, below, and number 60. I’m not sure of the relationship between these and “being a man.” But, then again, there are lots of these oddities in the list that follows.)

The list is from Esquire, apparently the same infamous issue that brought us the Kylie Cyrus / Annie Liebowitz controversy. The rules to this meme are to 1) copy the list, 2) bold the ones that you are able to do, 3) unbold the others, 4) post it and tag at least two others. I’ll upload all of the ensuing lists, run the numbers, and post the frequencies as soon as there is a good enough sample, probably sometime this summer. (For an example of this, see this post.) Oh, and I tag prairieflounder and Turkish Prawn.

A Man Should Be Able To:

1. Give advice that matters in one sentence.

2. Tell if someone is lying.

3. Take a photo.

4. Score a baseball game.

5. Name a book that matters.

6. Know at least one musical group as well as is possible.

7. Cook meat somewhere other than the grill.

8. Not monopolize the conversation.

9. Write a letter.

10. Buy a suit.

11. Swim three different strokes.

12. Show respect without being a suck-up.

13. Throw a punch.

14. Chop down a tree.

15. Calculate square footage.

16. Tie a bow tie.

17. Make one drink, in large batches, very well.

18. Speak a foreign language.

19. Approach a woman out of his league.

20. Sew a button.

21. Argue with a European without getting xenophobic or insulting soccer.

22. Give a woman an orgasm so that he doesn’t have to ask after it.

23. Be loyal.

24. Know his poison, without standing there, pondering like a dope.

25. Drive an eightpenny nail into a treated two-by-four without thinking about it.

26. Cast a fishing rod without shrieking or sighing or otherwise admitting defeat.

27. Play gin with an old guy.

28. Play go fish with a kid.

29. Understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped.

30. Feign interest.

31. Make a bed.

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

33. Hit a jump shot in pool.

34. Dress a wound.

35. Jump-start a car (without any drama). Change a flat tire (safely). Change the oil (once).

36. Make three different bets at a craps table.

37. Shuffle a deck of cards.

38. Tell a joke.

39. Know when to split his cards in blackjack.

40. Speak to an eight-year-old so he will hear.

41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear.

42. Talk to a dog so it will hear.

43. Install: a disposal, an electronic thermostat, or a lighting fixture without asking for help.

44. Ask for help.

45. Break another man’s grip on his wrist.

46. Tell a woman’s dress size.

47. Recite one poem from memory.

48. Remove a stain.

49. Say no.

50. Fry an egg sunny-side up.

51. Build a campfire.

52. Step into a job no one wants to do.

53. Sometimes, kick some ass.

54. Break up a fight.

55. Point to the north at any time.

56. Create a play-list in which ten seemingly random songs provide a secret message to one person.

57. Explain what a light-year is.

58. Avoid boredom.

59. Write a thank-you note.

60. Be brand loyal to at least one product.

61. Cook bacon.

62. Hold a baby.

63. Deliver a eulogy.

64. Know that Christopher Columbus was a son of a bitch. Your understanding of your heroes must evolve.

65. Throw a baseball over-hand with some snap.

66. Throw a football with a tight spiral.

67. Shoot a 12-foot jump shot reliably.

68. Find his way out of the woods if lost.

69. Tie a knot.

70. Shake hands.

71. Iron a shirt.

72. Stock an emergency bag for the car.

73. Caress a woman’s neck.

74. Know some birds.

75. Negotiate a better price.



1. Archvillain - May 16, 2008

You should probably include Heinelin’s famous quote on human generic capabilities:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein

My brace of small copper coins.

2. zandperl - May 16, 2008

What if you are not a man?

3. caveblogem - May 16, 2008

Archvillain, reflex kept me from doing so, probably. Thoughts like those would get you drummed out of a Ph.D. program pretty quick. I’ll endorse it, of course. I think I can do all of those except for the hog butchering and comforting the dying. I’ve never tried the former, so I don’t really know if I could or not. (I certainly can butcher a chicken, though, and quickly.) The latter I have tried. I just don’t know if I was any comfort or not.

4. caveblogem - May 16, 2008

zandperl, I don’t know. I tried really hard not to editorialize on the list, because I didn’t really know where to start, and because I knew it would be hard to stop. Probably more than half of the list are things that everyone should learn how to do, all adults, I mean. Many don’t seem all that masculine to me. “Know some birds”? Most of them seem gender-neutral. And some are both gender neutral and inexplicable, although they may have special connotations to readers of Esquire, for all I know: “Know how to shuffle cards”? Overhand shuffle or the riffle shuffle? What does this have to do with anything?

I guess that if you are a man you should not feel compelled to respond to this bizarre meme, although I would be very interested in doing a crosstabulation by gender . . .

5. zandperl - May 17, 2008
6. zandperl - May 17, 2008
7. Goofy questionarre. « Fox and Maus - May 19, 2008

[…] Posted on May 19, 2008 by Turkish Prawn Ok, So against my better judgement, I’ll succumb to Caveblogem’s request and do this “what kind of a man” are you survey, originally published in […]

8. writinggb - May 23, 2008

Notably, you bolded almost everything. In this case, then, what is most intriguing is what you do not know how to do…. Taken together they seem kinda revealing. For instance: you can’t tell a woman’s dress size or break up a fight. For the first you are certainly adept at AVOIDING a fight! And perhaps that’s needed as a skill if you are no good at breaking up a fight. :-)

Thank you for sharing this. Very fun read!

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