Pretentious List Time: 18 Things A Grown Man Should Never Have

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.

22 thoughts on “Pretentious List Time: 18 Things A Grown Man Should Never Have

  1. Uh ya, they can go fuck themselves with number 12… The Big Lebowski deserves to be quoted from here to eternity! Though I guess I have a ways to go before I’m a grown man.

  2. #1: This guy should march right over to Israel and offer his services.  Obviously he’s figured out a fool-proof way to get out of any fight that might be brewing.  The only way to be certain you’ll never get a black eye is to make sure that you can fight anyone you can’t run from and run from anyone you can’t fight.  Everything else is a gamble.  Sure you can increase your odds, but when it comes right down to it, it’s not up to you.  It’s not how smart YOU are.  It’s how smart the other guy is.

    #3:  What?  Having an empty refrigerator is probably something you should avoid, but what does he mean by amply stocked? And what’s with the impromptu 3-course meal?  This man does not know my family.  Impromptu 3-course meals are unknown.. period.  I can cook, very well I think, but I’ve had an SO impressed by any a simple pasta and wine and also beer and hamburger helper by candle light, neither of which requires much in the way of supplies or time.  I don’t consider myself a ‘chef’ by any means, but that’s not what he’s saying either.  Breakfast in bed is always a good idea, but that hardly requires you to have much on hand.  Besides, anyone who can’t make a decent meal when the pantry is NOT well provisioned doesn’t deserve to be allowed in the kitchen.

    #5:  How about the old adage: The right tool for the right job?  Surely that demonstrates more maturity than being able to boast about opening a bottle with a lighter.  If you’re opening enough bottles to benefit from having an opener on a key chain, then why shouldn’t you have one?

    #11: Man you’ve got to be kidding.  Speaking of immaturity, since when does the cost of beer have anything to do with it’s quality, the possible exception being Coors Light, which I think any civilized society should outlaw and place the makers in stocks so that we can pelt them with cabbage.

    #13:  Seriously?  If the suitability of your furniture is going to make one or both of you say: “Let’s not have sex here.”  you’re doing it wrong.  Besides, as Les pointed out, Futon’s are utilitarian, everything else is taste.  The author… doesn’t seem to have any.  Anyway, if I ever brought a woman home and she was turned on by any piece of furniture in my house, I’m going to have to wonder about her sanity… of course I wouldn’t send her home… I’m not crazy.

    #14: How about code words for “Please save me from this conversation with my Mother in Law.”  Telling her you have to go doesn’t work.  Telling her to please stop talking doesn’t work.  Walking away from her makes her follow you.  I haven’t yet tried smacking her head with a two-by-four but I’m pretty sure that would be in bad taste.

    #18: Doesn’t really make much sense.  Is he saying that you shouldn’t be doing anything that would make you have to speak to the police, or just that you shouldn’t relate those stories to other people.  I’ve been around people who scrupulously obey the law before.  I’ve never found them to be very interesting, no matter what their age, and with regard to the rest of the population, you’re just not in control of whether or not you will have a conversation with someone in uniform.  Never mind the incidents of the police stopping you for who you are and not what you’re doing.  I suppose this guy thinks you can control that too.  As for the other side of that, if it happened why worry about telling the story, if it’s interesting?  In any case, I had a rather pretty police woman actually stop me (lights and everything) because she wanted to ask me about my dog (no legal issues.. she’d just never seen a white german shepherd before)  Now the officer might have been dense or behaving inappropriately, but I didn’t mind and I hardly think that’s a reflection on me… except for the fact that I did hit on her but didn’t get her number (phone or badge)

    Mostly I think these things are amusing, but I am kind of concerned that people will read this and say “Yeah… you know he’s right.”

    On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t associate with those people anyway, so who cares?

  3. I’m 17… so I guess I’m not technically a man yet.

    But my friends and I do still occasionally use codewords when describing girls. Not really for ugly ones but more for to get a friends opinion on a girl before one of us goes in.

    The only one I can recall ever being used in actual conversation was talking about windows to someone (as in there window of opportunity)or saying ac (as in age check) just to make sure the girl one of us thinks is cute isn’t too much older (or younger).

  4. I’m 17… so I guess I’m not technically a man yet.

    Nonsense.  You already have adult powers and with them adult responsibilities; the fact that you’re still learning how to use them* puts you in good company.  17 is old enough to read, write, drink, drive (hopefully not after drinking) screw (also hopefully not after drinking), learn, teach, build, destroy, grow, die, lead and follow.  Have fun with it.

    BTW read Heinlein: “There are no ugly women.  Some more beautiful than others.”

    * because while you’re alive you never stop learning how to use your powers

  5. Most of the grown ass men I known would tell this grown man to go fuck himself.

    Yeah and don’t judge me based on my picture here on SEB, that image is at least 4 (maybe 5) years old.

  6. Most of the grown ass men I known would tell this grown man to go fuck himself.

    Are you referring to # 12?  Because I love movie lines.

    “Snakes! Why did it have to be snakes?”

    “I have HAD it with these MF SNAKES on this MF plane!

    “Please people, don’t make me out a monster. I didn’t eat the captain Mateo.”

  7. BTW read Heinlein: “There are no ugly women.  Some more beautiful than others.”

    Both amazon and google searches came up with no results

  8. Wow.  I’ve never opened a copy of Men’s Health, and now I know I don’t ever need to!  Thanks for saving my time and money, Les!

    How fucking patronizing can you get?  I personally am a 35 year old, self-supporting overgrown child and damned proud of it.  Many of my friends have kids, and we all have plenty of responsibilities. 
    Most of them play video games, and some still have bands or other unconventional hobbies and aspirations.  So what?  At least they don’t go around infesting potentially useful magazines with
    petty, self-righteous horseshit.

    Maybe Mr. Calechman thought he was submitting to Blue Hair Quarterly.

  9. #2 and #12 contradict each other.  I would be very careful in quoting songs/movies in a toast – that could make you look like you can’t come up with something witty. 

    When quoting a movie you have to quote something that makes the OTHER people laugh, else you do look dumb.

  10. I believe it was in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress but wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it turned up in multiple Heinlein stories.

    How fucking patronizing can you get?  I personally am a 35 year old, self-supporting overgrown child and damned proud of it.

    Exactly.  I feel the same way about “fashion” pages.  The Chicago Tribune informs us that having anything hanging on your belt is a “fashion faux pas, unless you are Batman”.  I have a phone and a knife hanging from my belt.  Oh No!  A faux pas!

  11. It’s just the whole idea of being told what to wear and how to act. Fuck that. Be yourself and enjoy yourself. If you have trouble doing the latter, then maybe look at a list like this one.

  12. DOF: I have a phone and a knife hanging from my belt.

    I wonder how many will read that with DOF’s name and conjure up an image of a retiree with pants up to the ribcage with a 20 yr old bag phone and Bowie knife hanging from the belt.  grin

  13. 14. Code words for ugly women. Actually, code words for anything.

    Double dip:  I’m guessing the author DOESN’T have kids.

  14. I wonder how many will read that with DOF’s name and conjure up an image of a retiree with pants up to the ribcage with a 20 yr old bag phone and Bowie knife hanging from the belt.

    *sniff* – it’s like you know me!!!

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