I am a bit of a non-conformist by nature so articles like this one from Men’s Health that attempt to speak with authority on what some class of people—in this case Grown Men—should or shouldn’t have used to get my hackles up. I say “used to” because I’m finding that as I get older and more comfortable with the person that I am I have fewer insecurities that would make an article like this one threatening enough to make me angry. If anything I find them amusing. So let’s take a moment and see what I shouldn’t have now that I’m definitely a grown man and how well I stack up to the list:
1. A black eye. Unless the rim hits your face mid-dunk, your peepers should remain unblemished. You’re smart enough to talk your way out of any fight you’re going to lose.
I vaguely recall my last black eye occurring sometime in my 20’s and not from any kind of a fist fight. I’ve never been much for fisticuffs to begin with, all the fights I got into in my school years were started by someone else who wouldn’t let me walk away, so this one is easy for me. There’s been a couple of close calls over the years where it looked like I might have to defend myself, but most folks don’t tend to mess with me because they mistakenly think I’m a bad ass thanks to my beard.
2. A witty e-mail signature. Quotes and song lyrics should be heard during toasts and karaoke performances, respectively. Don’t let your electronic correspondence become the digital version of a motivational poster.
I don’t currently have a witty email signature, but only because I’ve not gotten around to it. Not sure I see a problem with this myself. Witty signatures have been part of email since it was first invented. I do keep a witty signature on my blog comments. Does that count against me?
3. An empty refrigerator. Your larder should be amply stocked, your pantry provisioned. Always aim to be ready to create an on-the-fly, three-course dinner for her…along with breakfast in bed.
I’m guessing this article is aimed at Single Grown Men and not Married Grown Men like me. Truth is Anne handles most of this task in terms of figuring out what to buy and when. My contribution consists of earning the money and going along on a semi-regular basis to provide moral support, push the cart, and ooh and ahh over the goodies we really shouldn’t be buying. Every now and then she’ll send me out solo with a list, but generally she keeps our pantry and larder as full as possible given the restrictions of our budget. If there ever was a reason that I had to take on the task full time I’m sure I’d adapt in short order, but I don’t know if I’d ever be as efficient at it as Anne is.
4. PlayStation thumb. When they’re relaxing, grown men can behave like children. But if you devolve long enough to cause calluses or button-shaped bruises, you’re assuredly missing out on life.
I play a good amount of video games myself, but I don’t have any callouses from it. I have had sore legs from sitting too long at a LAN party though. This is one of those annoying subjective statements that always bug me. If someone is happy with what they’re doing then how can you claim they’re missing out on life? It’s entirely possible they may not enjoy any of the activities that the author, Steve Calechman, thinks would make for a more fulfilling life. I always find it difficult to tell people who are happy that they aren’t living life to the fullest. Miserable people are a different story.
5. A key chain with a bottle opener. This bauble is both a gauche reminder of your college days and proof that you don’t know how to apply leverage using available, impromptu bottle openers: a lighter, the back end of a fork.
Not being a beer drinker I’ve not held a bottle that needed a bottle opener in probably 25 years and that’s the only reason I don’t have a bottle opener on my key chain. As for using impromptu bottle openers as a sign of being a “grown man”, I’ve always thought that was for people who didn’t have the brains to have a bottle opener handy when they needed one.
6. A lucky shirt. Every shirt is lucky when worn by a man who knows that the harder he works the luckier he’ll be.
That’s sure to be a motivational poster in the near future. I’ve never had a “lucky shirt” as I’ve never been particularly superstitious, but I’ve had shirts that I wore the living hell out of because they were the most comfortable ones in my wardrobe. Of all the superstitions one could have, this one is arguably rather harmless.
7. An unstamped passport.
Oh my. I’m in deep trouble. I don’t even own a passport. The only foreign country I’ve ever been to is Canada and in most Michigander’s books that doesn’t really count. I’ve not been since the laws changed that now you need a passport to go to Canada and that may eventually make me get one, but seeing as I don’t anticipate having the time or money to take a proper vacation to someplace outside the country anytime soon it’ll probably be awhile before I can be considered a True Grown Man.
8. Olympic dreams. Exceptions: curling and archery.
I’m way ahead of the game on this one. I’ve never had Olympic dreams.
9. Less than $20 in his wallet. Fiduciary nudity is negligence. A real man should always carry a business card and enough dough to pick up coffee, bagels, and the Sunday paper without whipping out the plastic.
I find this one funny for a couple of reasons. First, I rarely have any cash money in my wallet. I carry it in my front right pocket. I don’t carry money in my wallet for the same reason I don’t make my bed. I’m just going to pull it back out (mess it up) again in short order so what’s the point. My wallet carries my IDs and my plastic money (debit card) and a few random bits and bobs like insurance cards.
Secondly, since the advent of the debit card it’s actually somewhat rare that I have any cash money on me at all. At my last job I’d pull out $20 at the start of the week for use on vending machines (snacks, drinks, etc.) and that’s only because Michigan doesn’t seem to have any of those cool vending machines that’ll accept debit cards that other states have. At my current job the snacks and drinks are provided gratis so I’ve got even less reason to have cash on hand. At the moment I have $53 in my pocket because over the last weekend we renewed our membership at CostCo and my mother-in-law, who has a card based off our membership, paid me back combined with a few of the bucks left over from when I was paying for snacks at the old job some three weeks ago.
Lastly I don’t have any business cards. The last couple of jobs I’ve held, including this one, don’t provide any.
10. A name for his penis. Even if it’s a really clever name.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a name for my penis. I’ve jokingly referred to it using common euphemisms everyone knows such as “Big Jim and the Twins” or “One Eyed Willy”, but I’ve never taken the time to give it an official name. Unless you count “Dick”, though I always say that word using a small “d” so it’s not really a proper name.
11. Any beer that costs less than $20 a case. And no exception for the grand-slam 30-pack that crosses that price threshold.
I don’t drink beer at all. Where’s that put me?
12. The need to quote The Big Lebowski/ Caddyshack/Superbad. Reciting someone else’s lines reminds people that you haven’t the wit to write your own.
Sorry, but you can have my beloved movie quotes when you can pry them from my cold, dead mouth. If being grownup means I’m not allowed to toss out an appropriate movie reference on a whim then I’ll stay a Toys Backwards-R Us kid.
13. A futon. Sure, beds are for sleeping. But such a meager, slouchy spread has never, in the history of sex, inspired a woman to say, “Take me on your futon.”
I have a futon, but it is used as a couch that can be made into a bed for guests because I have a bed. Though to be honest I’ve never heard a woman say, “Take me on your bed” or any other piece of furniture I had on hand at the time. I don’t think most women are turned on by the idea of having sex on a particular type of furniture. I’m sure a good portion of them would prefer a comfy bed over a futon for sex, but in the heat of the moment quite often any old place you can manage the act will do.
14. Code words for ugly women. Actually, code words for anything.
I’m trying to think if I’ve ever had code words for anything. Short of playing Secret Agent Man when I was 12, I can’t think of a time when I used code words for anything.
15. A Nerf hoop in his living room. Keep the adolescent accoutrements where they belong: in the rec room or above the wastebasket in someone else’s office.
I’ve never had a Nerf hoop, but then I’ve never considered myself much of a basketball player. I did have anime wall scrolls in my living room for awhile in the apartment in Canton. I’ll assume that’s just as bad as a Nerf hoop.
16. A secret handshake.
Those men at the Elk’s Club are going to be pissed. This is something else I’ve never taken the time to invent or learn.
17. Drinking glasses with logos. Especially those kitschy McDonald’s Hamburglar ones.
If it holds liquid refreshment I’m not particularly choosy about what is on the glass. I grew up with a decor that my mother referred to as “early orange crate” and perhaps it’s a sign of my redneck heritage, but I’ve never had a problem with that. Matching glasses are nice and all and I try to have a set on hand for special occasions, but for day to day living I’m just fine with those kitschy McDonald’s Hamburglar glasses.
18. A recent story with the phrase “So I said to the cop…”
Another thing I’ve never had. My brushes with the law are few and very far between. They consist of the occasional auto accident—most of them someone else’s fault—and less than four speeding tickets in my entire driving career. I’ve never been arrested for anything. Probably because I’ve been too busy playing video games. No doubt Mr. Calechman would point to my lack of police interaction as a sign that I have no life.
So there you have it. Based on this scale I probably should turn in my Grown Man Club Card. Now if I can just remember where I put it.