25 Core Manly Skills Every Man Should Have
In a day and age where gender lines are blurred and chivalry is fading away, there are some basic skills every man should have.
Let me preface by saying these skills are not limited to men, but more so should come second nature to us. They are life skills you may or may not have been given or shown by your father or grandfather. As the years go by some of the greatest skills a man could possess are slipping through our fingers. Men are not as present in the lives of their kids these days so some of the skills may need to be self-taught or relearned.
- Become a Master of Language – Both the spoken and written word have become lost art. Avoid using slang and jargon, master your first language, perhaps even learn a second.
- Be a Reader – Reading will add to your arsenal of topics both at the water cooler, the bar or over dinner. Read the classics, history and self-improvement. Read more than just the articles in Sports Illustrated or Field & Stream.
- Pick up a Hobby – Men that are all work and no play are well boring to be around. Learn to fish, hunt, woodworking, or whatever. By adding versatility in your life, you become more interesting.
- Be Date-able – This goes for married and single men alike. Married men, date your wives, date your daughters, show them how much they mean to you. Single men, have respect for yourself and those you might date. Another notch in the headboard is the way a boy behaves not a man.
- Dress Like a Man – This might offend some and ruffle some feathers but learn how to dress. That means using an iron to get rid of wrinkles. No plaids and stripes do not go together. If it looks like a girl should wear it ..well. And for pity sake quit dressing in the dark, everyone is not as colorblind assume you think.
- Pay Your Own Way – If you cannot afford to go out don’t go. Men are made to take care of the women in their lives unless you are a stay at home dad and your wife is bringing home the bacon. Man up, pitch in and take financial responsibility for not only yourself but your family.
- Clean up after Yourself – Too many men have grown up to be oversized mamma’s boys. They don’t clean up after themselves and expect the woman in their life just to magically wave a wand and it will all be gone. Men, we are slobs, own it, now take care of it. Do the dishes, clean the house, put clothes in the hamper, not the bathroom floor. Even if you live alone, a messy house leads to sloppy habits.
- Start a Fire and put One Out – This sounds a bit odd but there are many men who believe a book of matches and some newspaper is all they need to start a fire. A real fire can provide warmth and a way of cooking or just clearing brush. A poorly made fire will burn out as quickly as it started. If you make a fire, knowing how to put it out is vital too. Running away screaming like a little girl is not the way to stop it from growing.
- Develop a Prayer Life – Men, we take life for granted, for the most part, we assume we are in control of our world. It doesn’t matter whether you believe the same as I or your other brothers do. What is most important is being able to humble ourselves enough to admit we don’t have it all together. In acknowledging our own weaknesses and mortality, we allow whatever higher being you do or do not believe in to take over. A prayerful man is also pretty sexy to the ladies from what I have heard.
- Tie a tie – You never know when you will be in a pinch and need a tie. Back in the day, they were everyday wear, and for some they still are. However, there is many a man who does not own a tie, much less knows how to tie one. The next time you attend a wedding or funeral you will see those that chose to go tieless.
- Learn how to Whittle – Without cutting yourself do you know how to use a pocketknife to whittle? It is a lost art that every man should learn. You never know when you will astonish a young lad or lady as you whittle while you wait.
- Shine your Shoes – Take a moment, breathe in, now look down at your shoes. Are they shiny? Or like many they are scuffed and dull. Shoe shiners are a lost trade except for the airport and occasional barber shop. Ever wonder why you didn’t get a job you applied for? It quite possibly could have been because of your shoes.
- Change a Tire – As we speed down the roads of life no one ever knows when they will get a flat. In the times of AAA and roadside assistance, many men have never learned how to change a tire. It is a great skill to have not only for yourself but whenever you happen across a damsel in distress stranded on the side of the road.
- Shoot a Moving Target – It is funny to hear guys brag about all the paper targets they shoot on the weekends. Besides learning how to shoot which every man should. I doubt the burglar or active shooter will stand there flapping in the wind for you to get your sites on them from twenty yards.
- Give yourself a Clean Shave – Many men that shave have never used a straight razor. They have spoiled and pampered their skin with only electric razors or disposables and lotions. Nothing beats the wet shave a straight razor can give, that and there is something primal about holding a cold blade against your own skin.
- Make a Man’s Drink (and a woman’s ) – Being able to mix a couple of signature drinks far surpasses serving wine or beer. If you want to class up your next get together do a little research and learn a bit of mixology. I personally recommend Mr. Boston Bartender’s Guide from my own bartending experience.
- Master the Kitchen – Most men know the way around a grill, but how about the kitchen? Being able to do more than hamburger helper or Mac and cheese is a vital skill. Granted as a bachelor Ramon noodles suffice, but once you are married it is good to be able to give your wife a break and cook a real meal.
- Listening Skills Needed – As men, we develop selective hearing at an early age. In doing so, we set ourselves up for a difficult time with our better half. Listening involves more than the occasional grunt or nod of the head. Try actually taking mental notes while in conversation and astound your spouse when you summarize the conversation at the end. This also pays off in the business world as well.
- Become a Wine Connoisseur – As we get older our tastes for alcohol hopefully matures with us. Assuming you drink (those that don’t or should not move on to the next one), being able to tell the difference between a vintage bottle of Bordeaux and a Red Blend table wine is critical. Nothing is worse than ordering a bad bottle of wine at a dinner meeting or serving one at your wine and cheese parties.
- Open a Door Dangit! – This is a lost art that well a real man should never forget. It is not a sign of weakness towards the woman to open her door, it is a sign of respect. I don’t care if she is your wife, sister, mother or a complete stranger. There is no excuse, other than lacking class to not open a door. This includes car doors, house doors, any door they intend to walk through if you are in the vicinity open it darn it!
- Learn How to Make Eggs – Eggs are a simple meal, yet scrambled does not always cut it. If you learn how to fry an egg or perhaps a little sunny up not only will make breakfast a bit better but may perhaps serve as dinner as well. Whether you are a bachelor or married eggs are a simple food that can stretch many different ways and can serve to entertain one or many.
- Give Advice that Matters – Be short on your words but tactfully and carefully select them, words can be a powerful tool. Provide guidance and advice in no more than a sentence, keeping emotion out and only practicality when responding. Being matter of fact will garner respect and garnish authority.
- Write a Letter – Perhaps a postcard or simple note will do, but having the skills to craft a handwritten letter is well classy. No matter if it is a simple thank-you note or a letter of appreciation, whatever the case a handwritten letter shows you took the time to give it meaning. Actually using structure and punctuation is a huge bonus too!
- Show and Give Respect – Respect is not always something that needs to be earned. By showing respect up front, you will, in turn, earn respect. Showing respect goes for everyone, your elders, your boss, your wife, your in-laws even your buddies. You can also show respect without being a kiss-butt so don’t lay it on too thick.
- Hammer a Nail – There are so many things that a nail and hammer can do, whether you are building a house or simply hanging a picture. Being able to hammer a nail without busting a knuckle or putting dents and holes in the wall shows skill. Eye-hand coordination helps not to mention patience and sometimes a bit of fortitude helps.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but, at least, a beginning where most men can either start or hopefully continue to sharpen their skills. I would love to hear your thoughts on either these or other skills every man should have. Why not join the conversation below and let’s continue to build the list?
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.