As the song goes, sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. And that’s the difference.
It’s ALWAYS hard to be a man. We’re expected to know things.
Not instinctive things like how to nurture children or offer sympathy,
but tricky things like where the coolant goes in a 1.6 litre fuel injection Zetec (eh?) engine.
So here’s our manhood primer, featuring the thirty skills every man should master.
We’re not saying you should master them now,
or even next week (see skill no: 15, the art of procrastination).
But you should get round to them sometime, if you want to walk tall in the company of men.
Good luck with it.01. Make a mix tape
Or a mix CD, or a mix flash drive, or whatever. Thing is,
a good mix tape can woo, romance or put her in the mood. But remember,
it’s for her, not for you, so no 20 minute rock anthems, no drum solos,
and please, no Meatloaf.02. Give a speech
You’ll need it one day, as best man, father of the bride, or team leader before the big sales pitch.
The secret of a good one? Practice. Then practice some more. Know your material and keep it simple. Oh,
and don’t get dirty.03. Keep it up
I’m talking about a ball (what were you thinking?). Keepy uppys are pointless,
show-offy and repetitive. The very essence of manhood, in other words.04. Haggle
Successful haggling marks you out as a man of confidence and judgement.
The two secrets to successful haggling. 1) Be prepared to walk away. 2) Don’t try it in Tesco.05. Carve meat
Your dad did the carving. His dad did the carving. One day your son will do the carving. In the meantime,
you do the carving. Let the meat stand for ten minutes, sharpen your knife,
anchor the meat firmly with a carving fork, slice across the grain,
slice between a quarter and half an inch thick. Easy.06. Protect a computer
Yeah, you could learn how to fit a burglar alarm or change the locks, but in the modern world,
your computer offers the easiest route to your riches (you don’t keep your life savings under the mattress,
do you?). Make sure you have a firewall and virus protection. Keep them up to date. Scan regularly.07. Get hold of good tradesmen
Get recommendations from friends and neighbours. Keep the numbers in your phone. Stock up on teabags
(no, not herbal). You could learn how to demolish an internal wall or grout the bathroom yourself,
but until the credit crunch really hits home, why bother?08. Tip
But not always. Tip good service, not bad.09. Massage
The basics. Warm the oil in your hands. Place your hands side by side on her back, palms flat,
and slide upwards, leading with your fingers. When you reach her shoulder blades,
fan your hands away from each other and gently down the sides of her body. Repeat, often.
Graciously accept her declarations of undying love.10. Play golf
But only on an Xbox. This is the modern world, people.11. Feign confidence
Big meeting, hot date, second interview. Nerves are natural. Make eye contact, smile, remember to listen. Shake hands briefly but firmly (not after the hot date, of course, unless it went really badly).12. Know Shakespeare
Not the complete works, but at least one work, well. All of life is here. Learn a little of the bard and you’ll learn a lot more about the big stuff – you know, love, death, vengeance, all that. You’ll impress foreigners, too.13. Play pub games
Darts, dominoes, pool, brag or bowls. Choose one, then master it. It will come in useful on more occasions than you can possibly imagine.14. Admit mistakes and accept defeat
We can’t be right all the time. Some of us can’t be right much of the time. Learn to live with it,
and be prepared to apologise. If your team lost, you muddled your facts or your figures were second best.
Don’t be stubborn, and don’t make excuses. Accept it, get over it and move on. Unless you woz really robbed,
of course. In which case, never let it lie, ever.15. Change sheets
Without it taking an hour and a half, a panoply of colourful expletives, and the beginnings of a stomach ulcer.16. Procrastinate
Women want things done yesterday. Men are happy to leave them till next week.
Your own procrastination routine will depend on your circumstances,
but may involve an in-depth knowledge of one, or all, of the following: the local weather forecast,
the TV guide, the medical encyclopaedia, the take-away menu, the A to Z.17. Support a team
It doesn’t have to be a football team. It can be any sort of team (it probably shouldn’t be a netball team,
though). Men are tribal. We need to feel part of the pack. And we need something to talk about. 18. Play outdoors
A long time ago, women stayed near the cave while men went out to hunt. It’s still with us.
Connect with your ancient spirit by heading for the hills. Yes,
you can buy a Swiss Army Knife if you really want to.19. Approach women
The secret to approaching women? Do it quickly. On this occasion, don’t procrastinate. I
f you make solid eye contact, go for it. If you don’t, you probably never will.20. Cook something well
Not to Gordon Ramsay standards, and not lots of different things.
But you should have five or six bankers that cover most eventualities
(summer, winter, comfort, healthy and blimey-if-he-cooks-like-this-I’d-better-marry-him-quick),
and only one of them should be curry.21. Wallow in nostalgia
We’re good at it. It’s fun. Your starters for ten:
ZX Spectrums, Raleigh Grifters, Sherbet Fountains, Boys from the Black Stuff, home internationals, Madchester…22. Be happy
Some psychologists believe our evolutionary hardwiring won’t let us be truly happy because if we were happy,
we’d stop striving for a better life. So if you’re not truly happy, it’s not your fault.
That thought will liberate you, and make you happy.23. Age gracefully
No embarrassing dad dancing at weddings. No skinny jeans past 35.
No midlife sports cars. Them’s the rules.24. Organise documents
Flying tomorrow and lost your passport? Can’t find the receipt for the super-mega computer that is now kaput?
The ramshackle approach to life was endearing when you were 18. At 30, it can cost you money and get you dumped.
Invest in a filing cabinet. Use it.25. Gift shop
A ten minute scoot round the shops before closing time? No, no, no. Good gift shopping takes commitment.
Start your homework at least two months in advance. If she stares at something through a shop window for more than a minute,
make a mental note. If she complains of losing something on a night out, ditto. The result? Something she’ll want and like,
rather than something that just about saves your skin.26. Read
Get the reading habit and you’ll never be bored again.27. Connect with babies
Not necessarily your own. Smile a lot (I mean, A LOT).
Play the boo game (hands over eyes, hands removed from eyes, BOO) a lot.
Be prepared to do whatever they want to do, a lot. Suppress your boredom.
They’ll love you for it. A lot.28. Set the video
I don’t really mean set the video.
It’s shorthand for all sorts of entertainment-based technical know-how that men should acquire because women can’t be bothered.
Like setting the Sky Plus or setting up wi-fi. Whatever, it’s your responsibility because she empties the Hoover.29. Feign illness
We all need a break now and then, from work, chores, commitments,
people. Don’t go overboard with the histrionics. Choose an illness you’ve had so you don’t get the symptoms wrong. And remember,
ailments involving frequent toilet trips are rarely questioned in detail.30. Top up the coolant in a 1.6 litre fuel injection Zetec engineI’m looking this one up