Since hunting wild animals for food is no longer necessary, and women pretty much have jar lids figured out, it may seem difficult to pinpoint precisely what constitutes a ‘traditionally male’ set of skills these days. But there are still plenty of ways to feel like a classic gentleman. Below is a very incomplete list hobbies and skill-sets which – while by no means a testament of manhood – will certainly help you feel closer to the lives of men from recent generations.
Think you’re set because you know how to unclog a drain or change a light bulb? Think again. Basic DIY skills are hardly uniquely handy to men anymore but finesse with plumbing, or a knack for riling up the washing machine when it breaks down, will still earn you respect and admiration from girlfriends and flatmates alike. Keep in mind that being handy around the house can also have its drawbacks. Being asked favours by friends and family whenever DIY help is needed might be a nuisance (or an ego boost, depending on your perspective!).
Master basic woodwork
Wouldn’t it be satisfying to know how to put together your own table or chair – or craft a hand-carved box? Not to mention all the money you’d save from creating your own unique furniture. However at the same time, while wood might be a cheap material, investing in the right tools can be pricey and requires some research – so make sure you’re committed! Wagner Meters have put together a very extensive and detailed list on some essential tools for the workshed.
Keep a journal
Bukowski or Hemingway; it doesn’t matter who your literary hero is – it’s always a good idea to develop your own style with which to document your life or write letters. For those of the sentimental persuasion, developing your voice within the written medium can be an amazingly fulfilling pastime. Buzzfeed put together a great list of tips on how to start keeping a journal. For a book on writing well, consider Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’).
Cook a mean steak
Maybe it’s just because the method is passed down from father to son, with the cycle never ending, but for whatever reason, it’s usually the man holding the beef patty spatula during summertime barbeques. From purchasing the best multi-pocket BBQ apron to getting the steak seasoning or burger texture just right – everyone appreciates the man who knows how to BBQ.
From purchasing the best multi-pocket BBQ apron to getting the steak seasoning or burger texture just right – everyone appreciates the man who knows how to BBQ
Understand poker etiquette
It wasn’t always all ‘fantasy football’ and casino sites like LabSlots. Back in the day of traditional gambling, a gentleman knew how to spot a strong horse at the bookies, and how to follow the rules at a poker table. Texas Hold’Em might have been digitized for the online world, but there’s nothing that beats a good poker night amongst friends. From dealing to bluffing to placing bets, there’s etiquette to be followed if you take the game seriously (whether for pleasantries or for the want of winning big!)
Know your hard liquors
Do you know a liquor from a spirit? Do you know what differentiates a good vodka from a bad one, or what gives whiskey its smokey flavour? Having a good ground knowledge of drinks is not only impressive, but will prove an immensely useful quality when it comes down to ordering exactly what you feel like at a bar.
Survive in the wilderness
Chances are, you’re never going to find yourself in a life-or-death situation in the middle of frosty terrain, an enormous uncharted forest, or in the depths of the desert. But you never know – and if you do enjoy venturing these hostile landscapes, then why not learn the essential skills needed to survive in the case of desperate and dire turn of events? From tying sturdy knots to constructing camp kitchens, ‘Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival’ by Dave Canterbury is a great source of information.
A man’s wardrobe is rarely as extensive as a woman’s, but that doesn’t mean that navigating the world of male fashion doesn’t pose its own challenges. Owning a properly fitted suit, picking the right tie for your outfit and accessorizing are skills that seem to come naturally to some men. The rest of us? We have to learn them – and it often helps to take a page out of the book of some iconically fashionable men. Check out GQ’s list of 50 top well-dressed male celebrities for inspiration.
Not everyone enjoys lifting weights but, whether for health or vanity, it’s sometimes a skill that comes in handy. Lifting weights in the wrong way, failing to prepare for weight lifting, not following a realistic routine could all hamper your body building plans. Men’s Health have a great guide on how to start building muscle with weights.
Not everyone enjoys lifting weights but, whether for health or vanity, it’s sometimes a skill that comes in handy.
Fix a car
Cars might be on the verge of experiencing a self-driving Renaissance, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still break down for the most unexpected of reasons. Knowing how to properly take care of a car will go miles (pun intended) in avoiding mechanical problems, while knowing how to fix the most basic car problems will put you back on the road in no time when mishaps do strike.
The list of old-fashioned yet enduringly relevant traditionally male skills goes on – but you get the idea. A cultured, modern man possesses as many diverse and pragmatic skills as the more refined gentleman of one hundred years ago.