It’s hard to define what makes a “manly man” — everyone seems to have their own opinion. In an attempt to bring some clarity to the conversation, I’ve created a list of simple, do-it-yourself skills every man should master. Will knowing these things make you a manlier? Probably not. But at least you will know how to use the tools and resources around you, which might be critical to your success and, in some cases, your survival.
51 Skills Every Man Should Master:
1. Swing a Hammer
While this might look relatively easy, hammering a nail is a skill.
2. Drive a Stick Shift
The initial learning curve is often stressful — just remember that practice makes perfect.
3. Parallel Park Like a Man
It’s 95 percent formula, with 2 percent flair.
4. Back Up a Trailer
As you back up, move the steering hand in the direction you want the trailer to go.
5. Tie a Knot that Won’t Slip
A common one is the bowline — the rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around the tree and goes back down the hole.
6. Sharpen a Knife
The knife is the most elemental of all human tools — keeping it sharp is essential.
7. Grill the Perfect Steak
Dip your meat in a combination of butter and oil, coating it with a generous layer of kosher salt and cracked black pepper, and searing it over the hottest possible fire.
8. Split Firewood
Use a maul, not an ax.
9. Shoot Straight
Do not jerk back the trigger finger. Instead, squeeze with a steady pressure until the trigger releases.
10. Change the Oil in Your Car
What better way to commune with your car than by changing the oil.
11. Know CPR
You don’t have to be an expert, just know the basics until help arrives.
12. Know the Heimlich
If the choking person is unable to cough, get behind him, put your arms around his waist and clasp your hands together in a wrapped fist just above the navel. Sharply thrust up and back to generate an artificial cough.
13. Frame a Wall
So you can divide any room into an indulgent man space.
14. Patch a Radiator Hose
Because a quick fix can keep your car together until you find a mechanic.
15. Protect your PC
Go to the security section of your Control Panel and enable the firewall. Do this before your PC ever touches the Internet.
16. Tape Drywall
Easy to do, hard to do well.
17. Change a Tire
It’s pretty simple, provided you’re prepared to exert a little effort.
18. Change a Fuse
Knowing how to fix a blown fuse will shorten the amount of time you need searching for candles.
19. Plaster a Hole in the Wall
Emergency plastering skills can come in handy if there’s a sudden hole that you don’t want your landlord to know about.
20. Fix a Leaky Faucet
Because discovering you have water everywhere is neither appealing nor good for your carpet.
21. Jump Start a Car
Knowledge is power, and power is not being stranded in a parking lot with a dead battery.
22. Fix a Flat on a Bike
Just because your trusty bike is eco-friendly doesn’t mean it won’t get a puncture and let you down.
23. Tie a Necktie
Just remember that a little practice makes perfect.
24. Carve a Turkey
Just remember to practice before Thanksgiving.
25. Fillet a Fish
One side is always easier to cut than the other. It’s a matter of physiology.
26. Fell a Tree
Just make sure you’re standing in the right place when it falls.
27. Change a Diaper
If you’ve ever unclogged a toilet, diapers should be no problem.
28. Stop a Running Toilet
There is almost nothing as annoying in this world as a toilet that will not stop flushing.
29. Wire a Ceiling Fixture
Just remember to turn off the main.
30. Mix Concrete
It should be the consistency of peanut butter.
31. Sew a Button
At some point, you’re going to lose one of your buttons. Putting it back on can be learned in five steps.
32. Fix a Dead Outlet
If your lamp goes out, and the bulb not fried, it’s probably the outlet.
33. Unclog a Drain
A drain cleaner from a supermarket should do — if not, you’ll need to break out a plunger.
34. Take a Quality Picture
Fill the frame.
35. Paint a Straight Line
Real men don’t use masking tape.
36. Replace a Fan Belt
Follow your owner’s manual — the belt routing is often complex.
37. Iron a Shirt
Use an ironing board — start rough, end gently.
38. Set Up a Ladder, Safely
Set your ladder at a safe angle — usually between 75-78 degrees (or when you can just grasp the rung at shoulder level with arms fully extended).
39. Build a Campfire
It’s a great survival skill to break out if the unexpected happens.
40. Steer a Car out of a Skid
Look where you want the car to go. If you stare at a pole, you will hit the pole.
41. Put Out a Fire
Remember the acronym, PASS (Pull Aim Squeeze Sweep) — once learned it’s hard to forget.
42. Wax a Car
Remember to park in the shade to keep the hot sunshine off the paint.
43. Use a Circular Saw
Use a square as straightedge.
44. Use a Drill Driver
Use the low-speed, high-torque for driving screws and the high-speed, low-torque for drilling.
45. Use a Sledgehammer
Learn the “driving swing.”
46. Escape a Rip Current
Stay calm — don’t fight the current. Swim parallel to the shoreline. When you’re out of the current, head in toward shore.
47. Shovel Correctly
Make sure the blade is sharp. Size the blade to the density of what you’re shoveling. Keep your knees bent and posture upright.
48. Give a Great Massage
I’m not talking the two-minute guilt-trip massage — she deserves forty-five minutes of pleasure.
49. Shine a Shoe
Because it needs to be done.
50. Throw a Spiral
Because every man loves football.
51. Google Correctly
Goggle makes everyone an instant expert.