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Man Skills?

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 Mechanics has kindly supplied us with a list of 25 skills every man should have?

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.

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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.

10 Comments

  1. Sort of along your mom’s statement, I think every man needs to know how to buy, wear, and take care of a good suit, from shining the shoes to tying the tie.

  2. Hmmm… what an odd list… The computer related items are an odd admission. Being able to fillet a fish is nice and all but you have to catch it and clean it first. Popular Mechanics main customer base is men so its no surprise to me they phrased it that way.

    Being a information technology consultant from minnesota who is in the process of renovating his house I’ve hit all 25. Although number 3 is kind of iffy – does it count if you were the one that capsized the boat in the first place?

  3. Interesting that this is a “man’s” list. Many of the things on the list are definitely something many people, no matter what gender, can do. I’m a woman, albeit lesbian so maybe that trumps something, and I can do/have done around 17 on the list. That probably comes from years of being an only child and a daddy’s girl!

  4. It is interesting that it’s a man’s list, considering none of the skills on it involve a penis. But then, I’ve never cleaned a rifle, so maybe I just don’t know.

  5. I find it rather telling that they didn’t include more useful skills that are considered, “too feminine.” I think it’s far more useful for a person of any gender to be able to sew on a button, for example, than to clean a bolt-action rifle. Being able to cook healthful meals for oneself is a great skill, but apparently, all men need to do is filet the fish and find a little wifey to do the cooking.

    And in case anyone was curious about useful skills known by a raised-as-a-girl genderqueer,
    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. Fillet a 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
    25. Extend your wireless network

  6. Pingback: Manly skills « Greg Prince’s Blog

  7. Boy I really suck as a man. I count maybe 5 things on that list I can do. Guess I need to go back to man school, lol.

  8. 4. Frame a wall.

    “Officer, I swear, THAT is the wall I saw holding up a liquor store.”

    In addition to the items others have pointed out (laundry, cooking, cleaning, personal grooming), here’s a skill everyone should have: self-defense. I’m not talking about bullshit tournament-style martial arts that most places teach, but a solid knowledge of how to defend yourself from a mugger or bully when hauling ass isn’t an option and there aren’t any cops around.

    And hey, congratulations on adopting your second child.

  9. I score dismally. But then I’m a girl, and I don’t drive, which disqualifies me from 5 out of 25 right off the bat.

    I am likewise surprised that filleting a fish is the only food-related skill considered essential for a man to have. And there are no social skills listed at all. How about ‘talk to strangers’ or ‘talk in front of a crowd’ or maybe even ‘offer to help a woman with something without beeing creepy’. Remarkably rare, that one.

  10. Pingback: cut to the chase

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