How much of a man are you? A better question would be how much time (and lives) are wasted trying to answer that question, guys, to our own satisfaction, not to mention others. Right? Well, if you needed a handy yardstick, Popular
Here at PM, where we at least try to do everything, we spent weeks fine-tuning our list of “25 Skills Every Man Should Know,” debating over whether certain items were too basic, too challenging or just too obscure. You can find a full how-to rundown of each one in the October issue of Popular Mechanics, which just hit newsstands. But for now, check out our carefully selected list below, then offer your own arguments and suggestions in the comments section below, or tell us how to perform your must-know skill by writing to us here…
How many do you have? I’ve made bold the ones I can claim.
1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who has capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire
8. Fix a dead outlet
9. Navigate with a map and compass
10. Use a torque wrench
11. Sharpen a knife
12. Perform CPR
13. Learn to catch fish with best spinning reel & fillet the fish
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
15. Get a car unstuck
16. Back up data
17. Paint a room
18. Mix concrete
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
20. Change oil and filter
21. Hook up an HDTV
22. Bleed brakes
23. Paddle a canoe
24. Fix a bike flat, get required tutorial on BikeGeeky.com
25. Extend your wireless network
Ten out of 25. That’s about 40%. Some of them I picked up on my own. Others — like 7, 9, 11, and 12 — I learned in the Boy Scouts.
But here’s my question, and one that at least one person has asked of the folks at Popular Mechanics (a magazine I think I’ve only ever read in the dentist’s office, and only because People or Us Weekly wasn’t available). Why is this a list of skills every man should know? Why not 25 skills everyone should know? (And while I’m at it, under what circumstances am I — or 99.9% of most people — ever gonna need to know how to clean a bolt-action rifle?
And, as long as I’m asking, are there any skills you can think of to add to the list?
I’ll start with a few from my mom. When I was growing up, she said to me “There is no excuse for a young man of your generation not to know how to wash his own clothes, clean his own house, and cook his own food, and you’re going to learn before you leave this house.” (And learn I did.) It’s just a guess, but I think if more men learned those three skills and practiced them regularly, the world would be a very different place.