A manly test!

In a most appreciated move, Popular Mechanics has issued a list of 100 skills every man should have.  While I take exception to some items on the list, it’s a start:


1. Handle a blowout
2. Drive in snow
3. Check trouble codes
4. Replace fan belt
5. Wax a car
6. Conquer an off-road obstacle
7. Use a stick welder
8. Hitch up a trailer
9. Jump start a car

Handling Emergencies

10. Perform the Heimlich
11. Reverse hypothermia
12. Perform hands-only CPR
13. Escape a sinking car


14. Carve a turkey
15. Use a sewing machine
16. Put out a fire
17. Home brew beer
18. Remove bloodstains from fabric
19. Move heavy stuff
20. Grow food
21. Read an electric meter
22. Shovel the right way
23. Solder wire
24. Tape drywall
25. Split firewood
26. Replace a faucet washer
27. Mix concrete
28. Paint a straight line
29. Use a French knife
30. Prune bushes and small trees
31. Iron a shirt
32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
33. Change a single-pole switch
34. Fell a tree
35. Replace a broken windowpane
36. Set up a ladder, safely
37. Fix a faucet cartridge
38. Sweat copper tubing
39. Change a diaper
40. Grill with charcoal
41. Sew a button on a shirt
42. Fold a flag

Medical Myths

43. Treat frostbite
44. Treat a burn
45. Help a seizure victim
46. Treat a snakebite
47. Remove a tick

Military Know-How

48. Shine shoes
49. Make a drum-tight bed
50. Drop and give the perfect pushup


51. Run rapids in a canoe
52. Hang food in the wild
53. Skipper a boat
54. Shoot straight
55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike
56. Escape a rip current

Primitive Skills

57. Build a fire in the wilderness
58. Build a shelter
59. Find potable water

Surviving Extremes

60. Floods
61. Tornados
62. Cold
63. Heat
64. Lightning

Teach Your Kids

65. Cast a line
66. Lend a hand
67. Change a tire
68. Throw a spiral
69. Fly a stunt kite
70. Drive a stick shift
71. Parallel park
72. Tie a bowline
73. Tie a necktie
74. Whittle
75. Ride a bike


76. Install a graphics card
77. Take the perfect portrait
78. Calibrate HDTV settings
79. Shoot a home movie
80. Ditch your hard drive

Master Key Workshop Tools

81. Drill driver
82. Grease gun
83. Coolant hydrometer
84. Socket wrench
85. Test light
86. Brick trowel
87. Framing hammer
88. Wood chisel
89. Spade bit
90. Circular saw
91. Sledge hammer
92. Hacksaw
93. Torque wrench
94. Air wrench
95. Infrared thermometer
96. Sand blaster
97. Crosscut saw
98. Hand plane
99. Multimeter
100. Feeler gauges

I shot a 91 with the current list, and I will probably be adding items in the future to make it more accurate.

Mister Manly


29 Responses to A manly test!

  1. Pure Evyl says:

    I shot a 97. What is manly about running a sewing machine?

  2. Girly says:

    Why do I suddenly feel very turned on?

  3. MJ says:

    I got a 61. Woooo!

    Evyl – It’s manly because it is super-complicated to thread the damn thing. And knowing the fact that you guys won’t use the instructions or ask for help in doing this, that is in fact very manly. Plus it involves a very sharp needle that could possibly sew your fingers together. 😀

  4. Girly says:

    I got a 54… I know just enough to be dangerous.. according to the quiz 😆

  5. mistermanly says:

    Hi Evyl,

    Excellent score! Along with the sewing machine, I also question the inclusion of portrait taking and bed making. Home movie shooting could go either way, depending on what kind of movie we’re talking about.

    Hi Girly,

    I thought you were always turned on and dangerous 🙂

    Hi MJ,

    Way to go!

    Mister Manly

  6. Well, since I actually did tornadoes, flooding, and lightning this week, even this old Jew did pretty well.
    (I even got “sewing machine,” since I’ve been known to mend a canvas sail or two, while humming “Fanfare for a Common Man,” by ELP, just to keep it interesting.)
    But, they left out field stripping and reassembling an M16, in the middle of the night, blindfolded, with a stopwatch tied to a .45 pointed at your head… Darn…
    Now, If I could only escape a sinking car, while Heimliching myself… I could probably ace this thing… after I trade in that pitiful French knife, for a real German Ceramic one… LOL!

  7. sarahm says:

    yeah… i dont know if the french knife or painting a straight line shoudl be considered “manly” skills to have,….. hmmm

  8. mistermanly says:

    Hi rr,

    I was beginning to suspect that one or another natural disaster was behind your absence. It’s good to know that I don’t need a weegee board to contact you. On the other hand, it would be interesting to know if they work on Jews.

    As to chef’s knives, which is another name for “French knife,” I’ll stick with my stainless steel Cutco, at least until I can afford a titanium version.

    Hi sarah,

    Of course it’s manly to be able to paint a straight line. Really, the racing stripes on one’s hot rod absolutely must be straight if it’s going to give off the necessary manly vibes.

    Mister Manly

  9. Patrick says:

    Mr Manly,
    As you could have guessed with my previous scores on your manly scale, I did pretty poorly. I scored 24. Yes, it’s true.

    I know I’m lacking a lot of real life skills, especially of the male variety….
    Sometimes stats and scores are not accurate, but in this case..it is….
    Whenever see relatives and have family gatherings, this topic always comes up…..

    Hmm…I wonder instead of IQ testing at early ages..there should be some kind of scale of this variety to give warning signs to parents and kids of what real life skills are missing….

    Well….I got a lot of work to do……I’m almost tempted to print out this list…and knock off 1 every weekend as a project….or take steps to knock off 1….not that I’m going to go tornado or storm chasing or anything like that….


  10. Richard Whackman says:

    Well, I’m not going to give my score since that would be a little embarrassing, but at least I know enough to be a bit less metrosexual than I thought I was. And that’s a good thing.

    The only criticism I have of this list is that there’s no mention of knowing how to win a fist fight.

    Back to doing some perfect push ups…

  11. mistermanly says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Most of the skills listed are actually quite easy to learn, given proper instruction. Heck, at least half of them were covered in the public schools I attended, and I’m sure that percentage would have been higher had the newer technologies involved existed at the time. Of course, I’ve heard that the curriculum has changed a great deal since I attended. Perhaps I should add items related to safe sexual practices, care and maintenance of tattoos and piercings, recognizing gang symbols, and recreational drug recognition. I find it most difficult to keep up with our rapidly changing world. Note however, that some of the PM skills require hands on experience to truly become competent at, so you may have to devote two or three days to mastering those.

    Hi Richard,

    Don’t feel bad at all. I would have been embarrassed looking down the list before I took up farming. Not real embarrassed, but enough to be uncomfortable. Still, that’s to be expected given our current trend toward specialized job functions. After all, as in my case, it is truly a rare case where software development requires knowing how to use sandblasting equipment. On the other hand, I did have a couple of projects where, eventually, swinging a sledge hammer was involved.

    As to fighting, I suspect that was left off the list at the insistence of Popular Mechanics’ lawyers. Which makes me think that a modern manly skill may well be knowing how to retain manliness in the face of an out of control legal system and political correctness. I’ll have to give some thought to that one.

    Oh, and the best way to win a fist fight is to intimidate your opponent out of the desire for conflict before he takes a swing. Keep in mind that, the best way to achieve this is to present a strong appearance while leaving an obvious, but face saving, way out of the confrontation for your opponent. That skill, by the way, should probably be on the list, and it might even be something we should test our politicians on.

    Now, drop and give me 20! 🙂

    Mister Manly

  12. Patrick says:

    Mister Manly,
    This is great….

    Ironically, push ups, was one of the few things on the list I can do. For those interested in push up euphoria, you can have fun with this exercise for hours by adding variations. You can do them with different hand angles; you can do them on top of a bosu ball; you can lift various limbs…etc…do it with one leg raised…you can do them with hands ontop of a swiss ball; I’ve also seen people do moving pushups…where they push up and propel themselves laterally a few yards…and then do another rep, so whenever they push..they actually push their whole body to another position and fly in the air, heheheh….etc…….

    Okay…thanks for that moment of happiness….now for reality……
    No joke….when I said my score was in the 20s…….
    I did some self-reflection, deep, last night.
    It’s not just that I’m scoring low on manly scales…but am I actually pretty light on the scale of life? That’s humbling….. What have I done?

    Well, last night, I began my road to redemption. For the first time ever, I used an electric saw. Yes, talk about embarrassing. For the longest time, I’ve been using a manual clipper to snip branches, even for thick limbs. I liked the quiet. Yesterday, I went electric. So many images of horror movies suddenly popped in my mind. The neighbors must have been freaked because they usually don’t hear much of a sound from my side of the fence. Even my lawnmower tip toes around the garden.


  13. Richard Whackman says:

    Is this site related to Popular Mechanics in some way or was I reading too much into that comment?

    Not to be overly critical, but I did think of one more thing that could be added to the list (speaking of political incorrectness) – having lots of girlfriends. Isn’t that a requirement of manliness, at least in some circles?

    Your advice about fighting is excellent. As Sun Tzu in The Art of War said, “the greatest general wins the battle without having to fight it”.

    You’re a real man.

  14. mistermanly says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Life is strange. For instance, push ups are one of the exercises that I don’t do, because when I drop to the floor I’m almost instantly swarmed by dogs wanting to play. The same goes for sit ups. I’ve had to come up with alternative exercises to work the same muscle groups, which is annoying, but part of life.

    As to electric tools, while I like the thrill of the power available, I consider it more manly, where the choice is appropriate, to use non-power tools. While using a chain saw to drop a tree does provide a quick testosterone rush, taking an hour or so to do the same with an ax is at least as manly, and is better exercise. Plus, it gives us a link to manly history. Thus, if someone is trapped under a fallen tree, I’ll fire up my chain saw and get them out as quick as possible, while, on those rare days when I have free time, taking down a tree for fire wood with an ax can be a real pleasure. Maintaining this sort of balance is difficult, but manly.

    I would also point out that having consideration for the needs and feeling of your neighbors, where noise levels are concerned, is also manly.

    Mister Manly

  15. mistermanly says:

    Hi Richard,

    Not related to Popular Mechanics in any way at all. I just happen across their list and found it interesting.

    As to the contents of the list, I agree that it needs expanding, and contracting, and, well, a lot of discussion. That’s why I found it interesting in the first place 🙂 As to the manliness of relations with many women, the ability to do so may qualify, but so would the ability to resist the temptation, so I think it cancels out.

    As to Sun Tzu and his excellent work, it’s most satisfying to run across someone else who has bothered to read it, let alone try to apply it in a meaningful way. On this I applaud you sir!

    As to being a real man, I do, as we all should, my best. In these strange times it’s not an easy goal, but one that, at least to me, seems worth pursuing.

    Mister Manly

  16. Hey MM,

    I think that maybe we should build our own “list” of things one must know in order to achieve success in the realm of “contemporary survival.”

    After all, Sun Tzu also said:

    “It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.”

    And “survival” in today’s society could be considered “war,” eh?

    Just a thought…


  17. mistermanly says:

    Hi RR,

    Good idea and excellent references. My initial thought on it is that the magnitude of the undertaking will be considerable. Still, the concept is intriguing. Let me think on it and I’ll get back to you.

    Mister Manly

  18. sensualist says:

    Sex…where is the sex on this list? Men must be adept at sex. It is not quite covered under “Master Key Workshop Tools.” Don’t get me wrong. Popular Mechanics is a fascinating read. However, even those guys get their spark plugs tweaked now and again.

  19. MJ says:

    You still alive out there MM? Off doing something manly?

  20. mistermanly says:

    Hi s,

    I’ll be sure to include sex in the updated list I’m working on. My initial impression is that it should go under “surviving extremes.”

    Hi MJ,

    I’m still here, just a little busy lately, and some of it was manly stuff, such as fixing our drier. Then again, some of it hasn’t been all that manly, such as spending this morning backing up computer files. They should really make these CD things heavier so I could at least get some exercise while handling them.

    Mister Manly

  21. Girly says:

    I would think sex is just a given….

  22. mistermanly says:

    Hi Girly,

    Never take sex for granted.

    Mister Manly

  23. Girly says:

    Not what I meant at all!!! I would never!!

    I just didn’t think that it would need to be written on any manly list…. 😉

  24. mistermanly says:

    Hi Girly,

    I understood what you meant, but couldn’t resist pulling your, no doubt perfectly formed, leg.

    Mister Manly

  25. Girly says:

    sweet talker….

  26. Girly says:

    and I meant that sincerely… so pull all you want… 😉

  27. mistermanly says:

    Hi Girly,

    My talk would be even sweeter if my Southern drawl came through with the text 😉 I look forward to tugging repeatedly, and gently, on that curvy leg of yours in the future.

    Mister Manly

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