Yesterday morning, Free Beer and Hot Wings were talking about Esquire's likst of "25 Essential Skills For Men." I only heard the tail end of the segment, so I went home and found the article. The guys also referenced a similar article in Popular Mechanics. So, agree or disagree, here is the Esquire list:
1. Skin a Moose
--Realy? A moose? That's something every man should know? I can't imagine that the majority of American males will ever have occasion to skin an animal, much less a moose. I realize there are a lot of hunters out there, but... essential? I think not.
2. Get a Busy Bartender's Attention
--Absolutely. I've been in enough bars to know that this isn't always the easiest thing to do. This is a skill that can serve other uses as well. It's very basically "how to yell at a guy in a noisy place without pissing him off."
3. Bet The Horses
--Disagree completely. Is this a useful skill? Certainly. Is it "essential" that a man know how to make a good bet at the track? No. I live less than an hour from Saratoga, and I've never been to the track. If I do go there someday, will I lay a wager? Surely. Will I crunch any numbers or do any research? No. I'll put twenty bucks on the crowd favorite, twenty bucks on a long shot, and twenty bucks on a horse who's name I like.
4. Give a Good Massage
--I suppose this one's not ridiculous. I happen to give a good massage, and it is a useful skill. But I tend to think that any "skill" that is also a "profession" for which people go to school for multiple years and are paid large sums of money is probably not an essential skill.
5. Fell a Tree
--This one I agree with, but not because every man should know how to fell a tree. If you know how to fell a tree, you've got three things: common sense, a basic grasp on elementary physics, and the manliness to swing an axe (or the manliness to own a chainsaw).
6. Buy a Woman Clothing
--Do clarify, their explanation for this one is "don't." In any case, I disagree. I don't think a man needs to know how to buy a woman clothing, and I don't agree with the blanket statement "don't." I've bought clothes for my wife on several occasions, and on all but one of them, it went over very well.
7. Fillet a Fish
--Absolutely. Not nearly as extreme as skinning a moose. I would be willing to bet that many more guys wil have occasion to fillet a fish than to skin a moose.
8. Make Eggs Four Ways
--Yep. Absolutely. Everybody likes eggs different, and you never know who you'll be making breakfast for.
9. Google Efficiently
--Hallelujah! Absolutely! I am so sick of people who think they win at Google because they get the most results. You don't win by getting 40 thousand results that you're not going to sift through. You win by inputting specific search terms and using quotes so that you get somewhere between ten and forty results that are probably all exactly what you're looking for
10. Sew a Button
--Again, a very useful skill, and one every idiot should be able to figure out. Some would argue “there’s always a woman around who can do it for you.” I disagree.
11. Console a Crying Woman
--I conditionally disagree. You should be able to console your crying woman. If you are able to console any crying woman, cool. Essential skill? I don’t think so.
12. Look Good In a Picture
--Not much comment here. Just general agreement.
13. Calm a Crying Baby
-- See #11
14. Parallel Park (Like a Man)
-- Totally agree. Everyone should be able to parallel park. I don’t know what it means to do it “like a man,” but everyone should be able to do it.
15. Wire a Ceiling Fixture
-- See # 4. Definitely a useful skill, but there’s always either a person or book you can buy to do it for you.
16. Make Pancakes From Scratch
-- I would replace this one with “Make Breakfast From Scratch.”
17. Stop a Running Toilet
-- See # 15. Once again, a conditional agreement. If it's a matter of opening the tank and lifitng up the float so the water stops running, yes. If it involves going to the store and buying parts, no. Hire a plumber. Stimulate the economy.
18. Rock the Man In the Boat
--No Brainer. This is essential.
19. Carve a Turkey
--Again, I guess everybody should know how to do this, but if you can't figure it out, you're probably retarded. Wiping your own bum is an essential skill too, but I don't think it needs to go on the list.
20. Make a Drink, Just For Her
--Agreed. Every man should know how to make a drink that his woman (or man, as the case may be) will drink. Using the handy instructions on the side of my shaker, I can make a good cosmopolitan and an excellent sex on the beach. I can also make a horrid, horrid margarita.
21. Pick a Ripe One
--And they don't mean pick out ripe produce in general. They mean specifically a cantaloupe. While I think anyone who either cooks or buys groceries needs to be able to identify ripe produce, I don't think choosing a ripe cantaloupe is a skill that is necessary for anyone who doesn't work in the produce department of a grocery store and is not a cantaloupe farmer.
22. Jump-start a Car
--Absolutely every American should know how to do this properly. Yes, this should be on the list.
23. Get a Table At a Restaurant
--And they don't mean call and make a reservation. They mean show up without a reservation and get a table. I think this is an excellent skill that I don't have. Definitely should make the list.
24. Kill An Injured Animal
--Once again, a good skill to have, but another no-brainer. If it's a small animal, crush its skull or sever it's spinal cord. If it's not a small animal, shoot it in the head or break its neck. This shouldn't be on the list because it's just common sense.
25. Shine a Shoe
--If you are a man who wears dress shoes to work every day, then you are going to get them scuffed, dusty, dirty, etc. You need to be able to clean and polish your own shoes. If you are not that man, you probably wear your dress shoes three times a year. You need to know how to find them in your closet, how to blow the dust off (I like canned air), and how to not step in the mud.
This list should be titled: Skills Any Man Can Use To Impress a Woman.
Next: Popular Mechanics' similar list of real man skills.