I would like to preface this post by saying this is not a post about being a mountain man or a lumbersexual or some throwback to a bygone era or a misogynist. Certainly women can and should be able to do these things as well. However, I believe these are skills that men have lost over the last half-century. Re-learning these skills will only better prepare us to face whatever unknown surprises each day brings. These are some simple life skills not some nostalgic expression of a simpler time. Trust me too when I say that I am still working on some of these as well. I’m certainly not trying to preach, but help us all grow together.
1. Cook a few basic meals
Before Julia Child, almost every famous chef in the world was a man. Certainly this is partly due to men being given the best opportunities, and, unfortunately, I’m sure there was a glass ceiling for women in the hospitality industry like every other industry. However, a man who could cook was also viewed as highly talented and very respected. I think that has slipped away, and only recently thanks to people like Emeril Lagasse, Jamie Oliver and Bobby Flay has it come back as something “cool” for men to do. Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver is a fantastic resource to get into cooking because the book builds on itself. So as you get further into the book, you learn more and more about cooking.
2. Shine his own shoes
Okay, I’m not talking about taking that quick shine foam brush to your shoes as you hop out of the car before going into work. I mean taking some time on the weekend or in the evening to clean, restore, shine and polish your shoes. Proper care of any leather goods, but especially shoes because of the wear on them, will add years to their life. I highly recommend the Saphir line of shoe care products. Sure it’s a little more expensive, but the cost is well worth it considering the cost of a ruined pair of shoes. Mr Porter has an exceptional video in their journal on how to shine your shoes. The three minutes and twelve seconds it takes to watch the video is absolutely not a waste of your time.
3. Change a flat tire
A few years ago, I was driving home on 95 from a Sixers game, hit a huge pothole and blew out my front driver’s side tire. I immediately pulled off on the shoulder and called AAA. This was not the time to brave 80 mph traffic at night just to change my own tire. However, when you have the ability to pull over to a safe place with good visibility, you should be able to pop that spare on and be on your way quickly.
4. Tie a bow tie
Most guys know how to tie a tie, but how many can tie a bow tie. In this age of rental tuxedos and clip ons, a true bow tie can really stand out. Additionally, there’s something that people find incredibly sexy about a man in a tux with an unbuttoned shirt and untied bow tie.
5. Clean his own clothes
This includes washing, drying, folding, ironing and dry cleaning when necessary. Basically, taking care of your stuff. No one else will take better care, and it will last longer and look better the more you do take care of it. The real key to cleaning your clothes is following instructions. Your clothes have these little tags on the inside printed with hieroglyphics that instruct you on exactly how to wash them. Read the tags. Decode the symbols using this graphic from Primer Magazine. Follow the instructions. It’s actually quite simple.
Are there any other skills that you think men should re-learn? Drop a comment here or let me know through social media!