My score on Popular Mechanics list of “25 Skills Every Man Should Know”.

The guys over at Popular Mechanics are worried that today’s men aren’t manly enough so they’ve come up with a manly list of 25 manly things a manly man should be able to do if he wants to be considered a man.  I figured I’d list them off and figure out how manly of a man I am:

The List: How to…

  1. Patch a radiator hose – I have no fucking clue and no real desire to learn. I’ll change a flat tire and I’ll replace blown fuses and bulbs, but anything more involved than that and I pay someone else to do it. -1
  2. Protect your computer – This I can do. Wouldn’t be much of an IT professional if I couldn’t. From viruses to spyware to firewalls. +1
  3. Rescue a boater who as capsized – I could probably do this though I rarely have the opportunity to do so as I’m not often on a boat or at the beach. I’ve had enough water safety courses in my time, though, that I could probably manage this.+1
  4. Frame a wall – I’m not even sure what that means. -1
  5. Retouch digital photos – I can definitely do this as my mother will attest to as she often calls on me for help. +1
  6. Back up a trailer – I’ve only ever had to try this a handful of times, but I seem to be able to pull this one off. Would probably require more time to do it than someone who does it often, but I can manage it. +1
  7. Build a campfire – No problem. Unless they mean by rubbing two sticks together. My boyscout troop didn’t last long enough to get us to that lesson. +1
  8. Fix a dead outlet – Not sure on this one. I’ve never actually had to do this and, while I understand the basic ideas behind home electrical wiring, I’ve not studied it at great length. I know enough to turn off the power at the circuit breaker before even attempting it so I’m going to say I could do this with a little reference material to read up on. +1
  9. Navigate with a map and compass – I tend to be able to navigate pretty well without a map or a compass, but I did just buy a compass for the dash of my car to assist in determining which direction I’m headed. This is a depends one for me. I can definitely do it with, say, a simple compass and a road map, but if you’re talking say a hiker’s map in the middle of a national forest then I’d probably have a little more trouble. I’m going to assume the former and say yes. +1
  10. Use a torque wrench – Again, no problem. I’m familiar with their use. +1
  11. Sharpen a knife – I don’t do it often, but I have done it and using a sharpening stone with oil as opposed to just the sharpener on the back of a electric can opener. +1
  12. Perform CPR – I’ve never had it put to the test, but I have taken and passed a course in CPR in the past. +1
  13. Fillet a fish – Much like number 1, I have no clue how to fillet a fish and no desire to find out. I’m not a huge fan of fish as food anyway. -1
  14. Maneuver a car out of a skid – Absolutely. Saved my ass more than once with that knowledge. +1
  15. Get a car unstuck – Ditto. +1
  16. Back up data – Can do. Don’t do as often as I should on my own stuff, but can do and in fact do do as a regular part of my job. +1
  17. Paint a room – Can do, but would rather not do if I can avoid it. +1
  18. Mix concrete – Never tried and I’ll go ahead and assume that I can’t without some instruction from someone who actually knows what he’s doing. Another thing I’d rather let someone else do. -1
  19. Clean a bolt-action rifle – Never owned one, never learned how to clean one. No can do. -1
  20. Change oil and filter – I can do this, but I don’t because I hate doing it. The $20 the local shop charges is well worth not having to fuck with it myself. +1
  21. Hook up an HDTV – I’ve never owned an HDTV so I can’t say with certainty, but I tend to be able to handle any electronic gadget you throw at me so I’m going to say I could do this. +1
  22. Bleed brakes – Done it, but like oil changes I’d rather leave it to someone else. +1
  23. Paddle a canoe – Surprisingly enough, for someone who isn’t a big outdoors man these days, I can do this. In my youth I went on a number of canoing trips and can handle a canoe solo quite well. +1
  24. Fix a bike flat – No problem. Tinkering with bikes as a kid was the closest I ever got to being a mechanic. Flat tires are easy peasy. +1
  25. Extend your wireless network – Done this enough times in my career to say it’s something I’m familiar with. +1

Out of 25 skills I can do 20 of them. Does that mean I qualify as only 80% of a manly man? How about you? How many of these manly man skills can you do?

23 thoughts on “My score on Popular Mechanics list of “25 Skills Every Man Should Know”.

  1. I just feel the need to point things out today.

    Frame a Wall…that’s the part in building where you put up the wood wall frame (just that wood skeleton before drywall, wiring etc…but after a foundation).  either by buying a prefab wall frame or taking the wood (2×4 etc) and nailing them together.

    Anyone can mix concrete…you just add water until it is like a thick pudding.  Directions are on the back of the bag.

    And finally I don’t think hooking up an HDTV is a need to know skill.

  2. Patch a radiator hose? Well, I’d duct tape it until I could replace it.  “Formal” patching involves REMOVING the hose, so at that point, you should replace it unless you actually are carrying spare hose rubber and hose clamps in your trunk.  Not to mention extra coolant to fill the system back up.  I’ve replaced most of my cooling system and patched the occasional hose with duct tape, but never did slap a piece of hose over the hole and clamp it down.  I’ll go with a +1 just because I have replaced the water pump, hoses, thermostat, temp sensor, and drain plug in my car.

    I know what framing a wall is, but have never done it.  I’ll go with -1 just on inexperience.  I’m sure the first one I do won’t be square wink

    Rescue a boater who as capsized:  I know enough not to lean over, but to hang onto something when helping someone in the water into the boat so you don’t get pulled in.  Google came up with capsized kayaks, which I don’t know squat about.  I’ll say -1 b/c I assume it involves righting the capsized boat.

    Everything else I’m good for.  Looks like I’m 22 out of 25. 

    Hooking up HDTV ain’t no skill.  It’s just UHF freqs.  Buy a UHF antenna from RS, plug the coax in.  Maybe they mean a home theater system.  Coordinating all the equipment is more challenging.

  3. I reckon there are 4 I couldn’t do if I had to, though some of the others I only have the knowledge, like bleeding the brakes.  I have changed brake shoes, but I prefer to leave that to the garage, because its not good to find you made a mistake at 80mph on the M25!

    The rifle one I said no, but I could probably do with instruction- I have a very basic understanding of guns, but living here, I never had to do it, so I scored this as a no.

    Concrete’s easy. When I pulled out the old fireplaces, I had to concrete in the gap in the floor. I realised that as concrete cures irrespective of the liquid (it even sets underwater), I left the main ‘pour’ a little short of the floorboards, and then just put a very sloppy mixture on the top couple of mils and let it find its own level, finishing with a trowel to make sure it got into the corners.  My biggest mistake was not having quite enoungh, but as the missing 2sq inch are at the back of the recess, I did it anyway.

    Painting is easy. Real men know how to wall paper.

    I am currently building a low (3ft) brick wall in the back garden, and while I had to glue a few bricks together last year to repair the front garden wall, this will be a new challenge!  I spent last week end digging a trench 15 ft long 18in deep, 18 inch wide, which I am now filling with the rubble from the concrete path I am ripping up to use as the hard core. Once the foundations are properly made I get to add a new skill (oh whoopi-do).  Its the 25sq mtr patio I am dreading doing- I can never get them level over a small area, a large one with a 1:100 drop will be a nightmare.

  4. Okay, most of these are at least somewhat “manly” in the traditional sense, but “retouch a digital photo?”  Really?  I mean, I can use photoshop but it doesn’t exactly get my mojo workin’ or anything.  After I read that I thought the next would be “camouflaging runs in your pantyhose.”

  5. HDTV ? Maybe if it comes with instructions, other wise I passed.

    #6. Back up a Trailer. I own a Truck ( 18 wheeler ) I backed a 53ft Trailer over 4 miles ( curves and all ):)

  6. 1. Patch a radiator hose – Two words: Duct Tape +1
    2. Protect your computer – I too am an IT Professional +1
    3. Rescue a boater who as capsized – I can swim, I am fat (good buoyancy), I have a swimming safety course under my belt (though it was many years ago) +1
    4. Frame a wall – I helped build a tool shed from scratch, including the entire frame +1
    5. Retouch digital photos – I love Photoshop +1
    6. Back up a trailer – Worst. Job. Ever. +1 (I worked as a forklift/tow-motor driver once, and had to back up a train of 3 adjoined trailers, no fun at all.)
    7. Build a campfire – Boyscouts +1
    8. Fix a dead outlet – Shut off power, get out the screwdriver, it practically does itself +1
    9. Navigate with a map and compass – Boyscouts +1
    10. Use a torque wrench – Never used one, but know what they do and how they are used +1
    11. Sharpen a knife – Second. Worst. Job. Ever. +1 (Meat and Seafood departments at local grocery)
    12. Perform CPR – Since 1989 +1
    13. Fillet a fish – Also Second. Worst. Job. Ever. +1
    14. Maneuver a car out of a skid – Nope, I know it in theory, but have never successfully performed this maneuver (I’ve gone off the road at least 3 times) -1
    15. Get a car unstuck – Truck, Chain, all set. +1
    16. Back up data – IT professional +1
    17. Paint a room – hate it but have done it numerous times +1
    18. Mix concrete – Shovel, wheelbarrow, bagged concrete, water, directions, Advil, go! +1
    19. Clean a bolt-action rifle – Shot one, but never cleaned it. -1
    20. Change oil and filter – Rather pay someone else to do it, but I’ve successfully done this numerous times. +1
    21. Hook up an HDTV – No experience, but I’ll claim it since it’s electronics and I’ve never had trouble with any electronics. +1
    22. Bleed brakes – Can do it, but like Les, would rather not. +1
    23. Paddle a canoe – Does a kayak count? +1
    24. Fix a bike flat – Try fixing the gearbox, that’s manly. +1
    25. Extend your wireless network – Unfortunately my wireless network experience is nil, but considering it’s networking, I’m going to claim it. +1

  7. Bog Bro: 14. Maneuver a car out of a skid – Nope, I know it in theory, but have never successfully performed this maneuver (I’ve gone off the road at least 3 times) -1

    Find a slick go-cart track.  There’s a Malibu Speedzone down the Interstate from me, that’s where my daughter will be before she gets her license. 

    My friends and I practiced on a wide gravel road out in the boonies. Works best with rear wheel drive 😀

  8. Heh, most of my “gone off the road” incidents were actually a result of combining teenage idiocy, icy parking lots and old rear-wheel cars. 

    The one time I actually did get in an actual accident off the road, it wasn’t a skid, it was a slide on a sheet of ice posing as a road.  I can verify that those guardrails along the side of the road are pretty solid and more than able to stop even very large cars like station wagons grin.

  9. I can do all of that except Paddle a canoe or possibly rescue somebody who had capsized their boat.  Does tossing the guy a life vest and dialing 911 count? 

    I am not sure about patching a radiator hose; if it were a small leak I would try using duct tape, 3M 33+, or 3M Super 88 tape; but I don’t know of any really effective way to to patch a radiator hose.  If I did patch a radiator hose I would loosen the radiator cap so that the system wouldn’t pressurize.

    I am with Les, I prefer to pay somebody to do car maintenance.

  10. itdontmatter: I don’t know of any really effective way to to patch a radiator hose.

    Anything beyond emergency duct taping just entails more problems and requires carrying a repair shop in your trunk.  A roll of Gorilla tape in the trunk goes a long way. 

    I abhor paying someone to do the more simple stuff to my car.  Not to mention the wait.  The dealer wanted $1200 to do what I was able to fix myself in a day with a Haynes manual for $300 in parts.

  11. Earlier in my life I repaired my cars and trucks myself; I learned it from my dad who is a mechanic and I am good at it.  I have overhauled engines and done other heavy repairs.  I was very good at rebuilding carburetors and tuning engines back when such things were necessary. 

    I got older, and at the current point in my life I prefer to take my truck to a local repair shop that I trust.  Oil changes I have done at a *Lube place.  I still change things like light bulbs (including dashboard lights), hoses, and such; I also install stereos and other electronic shit myself.  Out of habit I have tools and a few emergency parts, including hoses and a fan belt, in a bed mounted toolbox on my truck.

  12. Hmmm… with the exception of the computer stuff and the bolt-action rifle cleaning (which, like Hussar, I could probably do with instruction, also being a hands-on manly man), I’ve done everything on the list.

    After all these internet tests, I’m waiting for the one called “Which Internet Test Are You?”.  You know- with answers like “you are a test that shows what point of the compass you are” or “you are a test that asks what kind of silly things you count on your way to work”.

    Re duct tape- I had a coworker who was punctilious about pronunciation, and every time I said, lazily eliding the conjunct t’s, “ducktape”, she corrected me, saying “duct_tape, with an audible pause between the t’s.  Finally I proposed a truce: since we couldn’t agree on pronunciation, we needed a new name for the tape.  I proposed “quack”.  Was this evil?

  13. “Duck Tape” and “Duct Tape” are both proper terms for that sort of tape.  “Duck Tape” is a brand name and it is just as proper to call it Duck Tape as it is to use Bandaid or Kleenex as generic terms.

    Ironically, the common plastic/fabric “duct tape” does not work very well for sealing heating ducts.

    I use a metal duct tape for sealing ducts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duct_tape

  14. in Britain usually known as Gaffer Tape – can fix any thing, radiator hoses, TVs, Space Shuttles.

    Quick and easy play sword using metal-look tape.
    3ft length of pipe insulation, cut of approx 9 inches.
    On the short bit wrap gaffer/duck tape around one end. Split the foam from the other end to the edge of the gaffer to make a sort of Y shape- the tube is already split on one side, so you only have to do the other.
    Put the split around the long bit just over a hand’s width from the end.
    Tape other end of short bit to close.
    Wrap tape around cross part- top left to bottom right and top right to bottom left to hold in place.
    Wrap tape around the tubing to give metalic look.
    Stiffen if you wish, but make sure what ever you use can’t come out the end.
    Easiest birthday part ever organised- ten sword, 10 simple tabards, no more organisation needed as 9 year old boys KNOW what is supposed to happen…  LOL  LOL  LOL

    just as proper to call it Duck Tape as it is to use Bandaid or Kleenex as generic terms.

    Actually no- in careful English you use the generic, vacuum not Hoover etc,plus if the manufacturer thinks you have cast their product in a bad light they demand you use the real generic term- .  The satirical magazine Private Eye received a complaint from Portakabin about this.  The printed the letter, with no apology, but spent the rest of the letters pages titling other letters to poke fun at such a trivial complaint.

    Took Friday off, and in 3 days have stripped the wall paper, relined, and painted the walls, plus ceiling and wood work.  Plus I had to move a socket.  Does that win me this weekend’s “Manly Man award”? (Supporting eveidence- last week end I broke up a concrete path with pick axe and sledge hammer, puuting the rubble in a 15ftx 18in x 18in trench I dug to form the footing of a low wall- work is less physical than my weekends)

  15. Hmmm.  I say “bandage”, not “Bandaid”, but I’ll be bloody damned before I say “plaster”, even though they say that in German: “Pflaster”.

    There’s a certain amount of this genericizing of trade names in Austria too: “Scotch tape” is “Tixo”, for example.  Growing up, I can remember refrigerators being called “Frigidaires” and motorcycles “Hondas”.

    An example of a company complaining about such genericization of trade names: after the electric chair was invented, it was necessary to invent a word meaning “executed by means of electricity”.  One wag suggested “Westinghoused”.  Westinghouse was not amused.

  16. I say duct tape rather than Duck Tape, but I say Kleenex rather than tissue.  I have been known to use the word Linoleum as a generic name.

    Edison worked very hard to associate the Westinghouse name with the electric chair.  Edison made sure that the electric chair used Westinghouse’s AC current rather than Edison’s DC.

  17. itdontmatter- ah yes, I’d forgotten that Edison was the wag.  And I hadn’t known that linoleum was originally a trade name.  I found this info at The Straight Dope:

    Some products which are still registered trademarks despite the assault on their names include AstroTurf, Baggies, Band-Aid, Beer Nuts, Breathalyzer, Brillo Pads, Dacron, Dumpster, Frisbee, Hi-Liter, Hula-Hoop, Jacuzzi, Jeep,
    Jell-O, Jockey Shorts, Kitty Litter, Kleenex, Laundromat, Liquid Paper, Magic Marker,
    Muzak, Novocain, Ping-Pong, Play-Doh, Popsicle, Post-it Note, Q-Tip, Realtor, Rollerblade, Scotch Tape, Scrabble, Seeing Eye (dog), Sheetrock, Slim Jim, Styrofoam, Super glue, Technicolor, Teflon, TelePrompTer, Vaseline, Velcro, and Walkman.

    Words which have gone the way of “cola,” that is, former trademarks that have been ruled (legally) descriptive words, and therefore, no longer owned by the companies or individuals who invented them, include aspirin, brassiere, cellophane, corn flakes, escalator, granola, gunk, heroin, jungle gym, kerosene, linoleum, raisin bran, shredded wheat, tabloid, thermos, touch-tone, trampoline, yo-yo, and zipper.

    Some of this I knew already, but others surprised me:  who would have guessed that “corn flakes” was originally a trademark?

  18. I didn’t know that several of those were former trademarks.  Kleenex and Xerox came close to losing their trademarks.  I think that trimline is also no longer a trademark.  I am very surprised that kerosene had been a trademark.  I want a Bayer Heroin cough syrup bottle.

    One thing that pisses me off is when companies take real words and turn them into trademarks; Microsoft is VERY bad about doing this.

  19. Paris Hilton’s “That’s Hot”

    WTF?

    Edison worked very hard to associate the Westinghouse name with the electric chair.

    Edison used to make electrified rat traps with lead-acid batteries when he was a telegraph operator. 

    One thing that pisses me off is when companies take real words and turn them into trademarks; Microsoft is VERY bad about doing this.

    Or code segments.

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