We occasionally take a break from handcrafting our renowned whiskey stones and try to bang out something on the keyboard that makes sense. This particular blog entry has the primary purpose of trying to help men stay manly and to guide other less-manly men to achieve a state of manliness. We’ve created a twelve-step program through which men can admit that they are powerless over their manly desires. We suggest that men seek guidance and strength through thoughtful meditation of a higher manly power of their own understanding; take a moral inventory with care to include resentments; list and become ready to remove character defects; list and make amends to those harmed, and then try to help other less-manly men recover.
The Guiding Principles of Manliness
Step 1: Man up by owning up. A man takes hold of his mistakes. He lays claim to his past, and his present, whether he likes them or not. Some mistakes though, he lets pass as long as no one notices – like dropping a burger on the ground.
Step 2: Man up by drinking up. A man knows liquor. He can order a drink without sounding clueless or unintelligent. When he doesn’t want to think, he orders bourbon, neat. He never orders a mojito.
Step 3: Man up by studying up. A man understands the basic mechanics of the planet. He can close one eye, look up at the sun, and tell you what time it is. He can tell you where you might find fish or where badgers live. He understands geometry or the theory behind global warming, the principles of flight or how to figure the tip on a bar tab.
Step 4: Man up by gearing up. A man knows tools and how to use them. He knows which saw is the ripsaw, and which is the crosscut. He knows how to find a stud in a wall and when to use self-tapping screws. A miter saw, incidentally, is used for cutting precise angles. It’s the most satisfying saw.
Step 5: Man up by bulking up. A man must be in the best physical shape of his life every day of his life. He must know at least one martial art. It allows him to have the upper hand and teaches him when to step aside. Maybe he never has, and maybe he never will, but a man needs to know he can knock someone, somewhere, on his ass.
Step 6: Man up by hooking up. A man loves the human body, the bold truth of nakedness. He loves the sight of the inner thigh, the physics of human musculature, the flush warmth of flesh. He is intrigued by the nape of the neck, by the wrist, the sight of a bare leg. And when his woman bends to pull on her underwear, his pulse roars.
Step 7: Man up by getting up. A man stands when a woman leaves a room, and he stands again, when she returns. A man only goes first if navigating a dark alley, a crowded room or entering an abandoned mine shaft. Oh, and a man gets the door – without thinking.
Step 8: Man up by making up. A man can say he is wrong, that he did a dumb thing. He should be the first to offer an olive branch. He can apologize, even if sometimes it’s just to put an end to the squabbling.
Step 9: Man up by shutting up. A man listens. A man watches. Sometimes he goes to a dinner party just to observe the maneuvering of others. Sometimes he stands at the edge of the lake for hours. It is not as much about quietude as it is consideration. A man absorbs his surroundings and gains acuity. A man teaches himself how to do this. No one teaches him this.
Step 10: Man up by cleaning up. A man shows his respect for himself and others through grooming. He has learned how to use a straight razor. He restrains himself when applying cologne. He expresses himself through his choice of shoes and is not afraid to sport a pocket square. Style – a man needs it. No matter how eccentric that style is, it is his.
Step 11: Man up by loosening up. A man should not be hurried. A man is not uptight. He should be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. A man knows how to relax, how to lose an entire afternoon. Drinking, playing darts, driving aimlessly, shooting bottles in a cow pasture. He also knows how to lose a couple of weeks.
Step 12: Man up by paying up. A man pays his debts. He always carries cash, even though his credit score is in the high 700’s. He knows when to pick up the tab and he knows when to concede. The rule, by the way: If another gentleman insists – yield only on his third offer. And then, only with his promise to allow you to repay the kindness in the future.