100 Skills Every Man Should Know

Popular Mechanics October 2008
Popular Mechanics October 2008


Brains and charm are fine, but a real guy needs to know how to do real stuff…

I’m a sucker for lists.  Top 10s.  Top 100s.  Whatever.  I love the compilation of data.  I love disagreeing, often loudly with the accumulated information.

So, when I saw the new issue of Popular Mechanics I had to buy it.  Not only did it contain a list, but it contained a list that was somehow a vague threat to my manhood.

I’m not the handiest guy I know, that’s probably Stephe, but I do okay.  My dad made sure I knew how to do a lot of stuff, whether I always wanted to or not.

So, what follows is the list from Popular Mechanics.  The things I think I can “do” are bolded.

How manly are you?

  1. Tape drywall – a work in progress
  2. Grill with charcoal
  3. Split firewood
  4. Set up a ladder safely
  5. Take the perfect portrait – I’m still working on this one
  6. Find potable water – I guess going to the corner store doesn’t count
  7. Build a fire in the wilderness
  8. Build a shelter
  9. Ditch your hard drive
  10. Use a French knife – I don’t even know what a French knife is.  Shouldn’t it be a “freedom knife?”
  11. Cast a line
  12. Wax a car
  13. Check trouble codes
  14. Iron a shirt
  15. Paint a straight line
  16. Tie a bowline
  17. Use a stick welder
  18. Read an electric meter
  19. Hang food in the wild
  20. Solder wire
  21. Put out a fire
  22. Move heavy stuff
  23. Change a diaper – I have twins.  I can do this one-handed
  24. Drive in snow – I grew up in South Louisiana.  This was not a required skill.
  25. Remove bloodstains from fabric
  26. Fell a tree
  27. Ride a bike
  28. Conquer an off-road obstacle – see #24
  29. Whittle
  30. Install a graphics card
  31. Hitch up a trailer
  32. Sew a button
  33. Throw a spiral
  34. Survive a lightning storm – Stay inside?
  35. Survive a flood
  36. Survive a tornado
  37. Survive in the cold
  38. Survive in the heat
  39. Home brew beer – but I do know how to drink home brewed beer.  Half credit?
  40. Fix a faucet cartridge
  41. Replace a fan belt
  42. Lend a hand
  43. Mix concrete
  44. Run rapids in a canoe
  45. Drive a stick shift – Not well, but I can do it
  46. Escape a sinking car – know the theory.  Never had to apply it.
  47. Shoot a home movie
  48. Replace a faucet washer
  49. Shoot straight
  50. Tie a necktie – My wife might disagree
  51. Grow food – I’ve helped, but never done it on my own
  52. Handle a blowout
  53. Skipper a boat
  54. Fly a stunt kite
  55. Make a drum tight bed
  56. Shine shoes
  57. Drop and give the perfect pushup
  58. Carve a turkey – a work in progress
  59. Replace a broken windpane
  60. Change a single pole switch
  61. Sweat copper tubing
  62. Parallel park
  63. Escape a rip current – did it once in Mexico…barely
  64. Use a sewing machine
  65. Survive snakebite
  66. Survive Frostbite
  67. Survive burns
  68. Survive seizures
  69. Survive ticks
  70. Change a tire
  71. Shovel the right way
  72. Fix a toilet flapper
  73. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike
  74. Reverse hypothermia
  75. Perform the Heimlich
  76. Perform hands-only CPR
  77. Prune bushes and small trees
  78. Jumpstart a car
  79. Calibrate HDTV settings – hasn’t come up yet.
  80. Fold the flag 

21-40 is master your workshop and a list of “essential” tools.  That seems like cheating.

How’d you do?

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