What does it mean to be a man in 2016? Make money? Build muscle? Dress well? Quit work to raise your kids?
It’s arguably all of these things, and none. Twenty-first century masculinity might look a lot different from 50 years ago, but it’s still – and always will be – a concept that’s constantly in flux, a totally different picture based on where you’re from and what you think’s expected of you.
Less nebulous though, are the skills a man should have today. Mostly because the majority haven’t changed. These are the things you need to be able to do to make it today:
1. Change a light bulb. And a fuse.
2. Tie ties (without referring to a YouTube tutorial every time).
3. Give a good massage. Great for wooing, not to mention working on your forearm strength.
4. Cook at least one impressive dinner to get them to stay, and one breakfast dish that’ll wow them in the morning.
5. Answer a woman when she asks: “Do I look fat in this?” Stuttering is a fate worse than death.
6. Hang a picture.
7. Squat, deadlift and bench press properly. There’s nothing manly about injuring yourself.
8. Give a speech. At a wedding, at a funeral, and half-cut at your own birthday.
9. Swim. It’s never too late to learn.
10. Shake hands properly. A recent OnePoll.com survey of 1,000 Americans found that 72 per cent believe that the way a person shakes hands says a lot about them. Make sure yours says all the right things.
11. Barbecue. Without endangering anyone’s life. Here are five basic rules to get you started.
12. Drive (preferably with the legal right to do so).
13. Change a tyre.
14. Start a fire (and know how to put one out).
15. Tell a joke. If you’re not particularly funny (come on, don’t kid yourself), have a few in the bank and know which one to pull out when.
16. Sew a button back on.
17. Sharpen a knife.
18. Carve dinner.
19. Take a good photo. Find the light, frame it well and take a f**kload because let’s face it your/their eyes are going to be closed for most of them.
20. Dance. At least better than your dad (unless he’s Michael Flatley).
21. Diffuse a fight. Or when that doesn’t work, throw a knockout punch.
22. Iron clothes. Without that crease down the shirt arm.
23. Open a bottle without an opener. A lighter, ring, key, belt buckle or any available countertop have all proven invaluable makeshift bottle openers.
24. Ask someone out on a date (without resorting to stock chat-up lines).
25. Mix at least one good cocktail. Here’s one. And another.
26. Make a bed. Whether it’s yours or not.
27. Know when to ask for help. You’re but one man.
28. Dress for the occasion. Get learning.
29. Remove a stain. The key? Water’s better than nothing, and prevent it from setting at all costs.
30. Ask for a raise. And get it.
31. Change a nappy. Or if not, be able to convincingly say you don’t know the first thing about changing nappies.
32. Wallpaper a room.
33. Know your measurements, including chest, waist and inside leg. There might be a reason you keep having to do #14 on this list.
34. Shine your shoes. You’ll need a shoe brush, soft cloths, leather conditioner and shoe polish.
35. Perform CPR. And the Heimlich manoeuvre.
36. Behave in a gay club (when straight). Chances are in this day and age you’ll have a friend or relative who is openly gay, let them show you their world (just no ‘backs against the wall’ jokes).
37. Make small talk (or at least feign interest).
38. Back down from an argument. Accept when someone else is right and be open to being convinced.
39. Know your drink and how to order it (indecision at the bar isn’t sexy).
40. Say no (tactfully).
41. Haggle. If you think you’ll end up walking away paying the original price, or worse – more, just cough up.
42. Know when to go to the doctor. You might hashtag all your ‘grams #beastmode, but you’re not invincible.
43. Manscape. At least to some degree. We’re not saying you need to wax, but we are saying no one should need a map down there. Here’s how.
44. Pack a suitcase.
45. Use the phonetic alphabet.
46. Remember key dates. Birthdays, anniversaries and performance reviews are all essential.
47. Understand basic measurements and how to convert them.
48. Read body language. She’s not “fine”, and he’s about to punch you.
49. Know your limits. (Especially in the case of tequila.)
50. Apologise (sincerely).
51. Buy a suit that fits. From the right fabric to colours, textures and patterns, and the right style of jacket to the right style of trousers.
52. Buy flowers. The right flowers. You know lilies are for funerals, right?