Part 2 of the “50 Things Men Should Be Able To Do By Age 50” Blog: I’m in the 80th Percentile

In case you missed yesterday’s Part One of the “50 Things Every Man Should Know How To Do By 50” blog, you can find it HERE.

Out of those first 25 things I’m supposed to be able to do by age 50, I honestly think I can do 21 of them. The four that I struggle with are: Making myself vulnerable, Changing a tire, Sewing a button, and Breaking up a fight.

Let’s see what the final 25 on the Huffington Posts’s incredibly disappointing list produces:

26. Change a diaper – Not yet, but something tells me I will soon. I owe my brother one full day of babysitting my 10-month-old nephew because of a football bet gone wrong. One of three things is going to happen: I’m going to suck it up and change the diaper, I’m going to avoid changing the diaper and tell my brother that the kid didn’t pee or shit the entire day, or I’m going to delay paying off this bet until the kid is potty-trained.

27. Babysit – I’ll have you know that when I was 12 years old, my mother forced me to take a babysitting class at Leominster Hospital where I was the only boy out of about 25 students. So it seems parents can make gigantic mistakes and still have their kids turn out OK.

28. Perform CPR – I don’t know how to do it properly. The other day my dog was so hot & tired after the park that she decided to play dead on the sidewalk near a busy street. I started giving her fake CPR just for the hell of it…just waving to horrified people driving by in their cars as I pounded on her chest. So I think in a pinch I could figure it out.

29. Avoid a hangover – Finally, in my 15th year of consuming alcohol, I’ve learned that if I just drink beer, and only beer, I won’t be hungover the next day. Strangely enough I know a guy in his 30s who suddenly became unable to get a hangover, no matter how hard he tries. He is the envy of everyone I know.

30. Have a long-term retirement plan – I don’t even have a short term “how I’m going to pay next month’s rent” plan.

31. Show affection towards a male friend – If you mean “show affection towards a football team with a male friend,” then yes, I can do this.

32. Be faithful to their partner – Yeah, because an unemployed 30-year-old with a gray afro has a lot of opportunities to be unfaithful.

33. Recommend restaurants – This one’s even more ridiculous than “be able to make a dinner reservation.” Do I have the ability to recommend a restaurant? This is when you start to think that the writer could only come up with like 46 legit items and had to put in some stretches to make it an even 50.

34. Have a platonic female friend – I wouldn’t go out of my way to make a platonic female friend because they don’t have much to offer me, but they exist in my world because they are my friend’s girlfriends or my girlfriend’s best friends…but the idea of being more than platonic friends is always circulating in my head.

35. Stand up for themselves in a respectful way – Sure I can, but for the right amount of money I’m willing to never stand up for anything I believe in again.

36. Make a signature meal that’s more complicated than Easy Mac – Julie says my grilled chicken is to die for. I’m more partial to my peanut butter & banana sandwiches. There’s an art to the width of the banana slices and the amount of banana on each sandwich.

37. Give themselves a clean, good shave – Once again it would be strange to meet a 50-year-old guy who didn’t have the slightest clue about how to shave. And yes, once a week I shave the peach fuzz off my face.

38. Keep their ear and nose hair in check – If I was single, I’d probably pay attention to my nose hairs more, and if I ever find hair growing out of my ears I’ll probably just stick a gun in my mouth and end the whole damn thing.

39. Wash the dishes – One of the many househusband chores I do each day. Being one of the top dishwashers in the world as a white person is probably as rare as a black NHL star, but I totally knock down the artificial color barriers in the kitchen.

40. Spot when a woman is interested or just being polite – I’ve only had one woman be interested in me in the last 10 years so I’m probably pretty rusty with this.

41. Give to a charitable cause – Of course. I give free laughter to people in need every day probably.

42. Invest wisely – I barely know how to invest stupidly, but at least I have 20 more years until I really need to master everything on this list, right?

43. Cry without embarrassment – I can do this. I’ve never thought crying was embarrassing, just unnecessary.

44. Drive a stick shift – Drive one, teach someone how to drive one, put an ugly metal skull on the top of the stick and pretend to be a badass. I’ve done it all.

45. Comfort someone – There there, Huffington Post. It’s not your fault that this list is terrible. Here, have a tissue.

46. Buy a great present – Being able to buy a great present depends entirely on the person you’re buying for. Some people are just so obvious in what they want and need, or their personality just lends itself to coming up with fun ideas for gifts. And some people basically get the same gift card from me year after year.

47. Choose scotch/whiskey – I choose Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey over any other liquor in the world. It didn’t say anything about choosing a good scotch or whiskey.

48. Erect a tent – Went camping a few weeks ago and actually had a guy tell me I was the best Tent Erector he had ever seen (once again, cue up the penis jokes, the gay camping jokes and anything else you can think of that involves erections, pitching a tent, etc).

49. Dance, at least a little – Julie and I rate each wedding we attend purely on the amount of dancing. We suck at dancing, but at a wedding it feels like our duty.

50. Impress their partner’s parents – I think I’ve made an impression on them. Is that what this means? Not only is their daughter shacking up with an unemployed guy with a pipe dream of a career, but Julie’s mom, who’s a nurse, gets a call from her about once every four months asking how we should handle a freak injury that I brought upon myself. So, yeah, I’m pretty sure they’re “impressed.”

It appears I’m currently unable to do five items on this half of the list: numbers 26, 28, 30, 40 and 42. That means I only have nine total things to work on over the next 20 years to be able to say yes to this list before my 50th birthday. I guess this means I’m 82% of a man?

I know, I know, this list was a bit disappointing. I guess what they say is true…If you want to follow a set list to live your life, you have to make the list yourself. Maybe we’ll do that as a separate blog post some time in the future.


“50 Things A Man Should Know How To Do By 50″…If I Can Do Them All By 30, Do I Get Bonus Points?

You may remember a blog I posted about a month ago making fun of my girlfriend’s delusional claim that she could hit 70% of her free throws from official foul line distance. I get the sense that Julie says she can do this because she thinks the average person should be able to hit most of their shots from the foul line. After all, she keeps reminding me, it’s not that far away from the basket.

But this constant smoke she’s blowing up my ass about her basketball abilities got me thinking about other things the average person should be able to do (hitting 70% from the foul line isn’t one of them). That led to some Google searches, which led to a bunch of websites with lists titled “50 things everyone should know how to do”.

After reviewing all my options, I decided a Huffington Post article from April titled “50 Things Every Man Should Know How To Do By 50” was the right list for me to fully investigate.  After all, I could realize I don’t know how to do any of these things and still feel good about having 20 more years to master them.

I’ve taken the time to seriously consider each item on this list and come up with a legitimate answer on whether I can currently do that thing or not. Men, you should read this blog carefully and think about where you’re at with these things in your life. Women, you should read this blog carefully because you’re half the population and therefore half my page views.

Let’s split this up into two and tackle items 1-25 today. Check back later in the week for items 26-50.

  1. Please a woman – BOOM! What a way to start. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention this HuffPost article was written by a woman. Anyway, this first item is open to a lot of interpretation. But if I’m interpreting it right, then yes, yes I can please a woman.
  2. Clean up after themselves – Yes, plus I sometimes have to clean up after my dog and my co-habitant who I affectionately refer to as “Hurricane Julie” (seems a hurricane hits our apartment every time a wardrobe decision needs to be made).
  3. Make small talk – It really isn’t that difficult and unless you’re an absolute hermit you’ll probably have to make small talk every day for the rest of your life. I have friends who despise small talk, chit chat, exchanging pleasantries…you name it. But the alternative is to ride up 20 floors in an elevator with your boss and stand in silence. Awkward.
  4. Take care of their health and go to the doctor regularly – This is an oxymoron, right? If I’m taking care of my health then why would I have to go to the doctor so often?
  5. Say “I’m sorry” and mean it – I try to only say it when I mean it, but sometimes my girlfriend will say, “What are you apologizing for” and I’ll say, “Because I’m sorry you’re obviously upset about something.” Apparently the fact that I don’t know what that something is means I’m not being genuine.
  6. Do laundry – I’ve been doing my own laundry for about 12 years, but just the other day I said to Julie in all seriousness: “Wait, so if I were to separate my clothes and only wash my white stuff, could I put bleach in there and it would help my socks stay whiter?” She looked at me like I had asked her “Will I be less tired in the morning if I go to sleep at night?”
  7. Listen wholeheartedly – Sometimes I get lectured by my girlfriend for not making eye contact while she’s telling me a story. Because she’s a speech therapist with training in behaviorism, she’s constantly pushing crazy theories on me like “70% of listening is done through the eyes.” My response is that I’m trained in the art of efficiency so if I can listen to your entire story while watching TV or giving my dog a belly rub, why wouldn’t I multi-task?
  8. Be nurturing to their mate – Uh oh, the woman who wrote this list is starting to lose credibility. She better start coming up with actual things men should know how to do. The definition of nurturing is “to care for and encourage the growth or development of.” Yes, I care for my “mate.” Why did you have to say that in such a complicated way?
  9. Make themselves vulnerable – OK, third item in a row that makes it obvious a woman with an agenda created this list. Let’s go back to the definition strategy. Vulnerable means “exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” So why the fuck would someone want to make themselves vulnerable. Ugh. If “work yourself into an unnecessary rage” is an item on this list, I can certainly check it off.
  10. Dress themselves well – Three things working against me here: 1). I don’t have a job or a daily hobby that forces me to go out in public and interact with people. 2). I’m trying to save money for necessary items at this time. 3). You know how you’re never surprised when new parents walk around with ratty clothes covered in spit-up and green diarrhea? Well owning a dog isn’t entirely different…so much hair, drool and treat crumbs get on my clothes each day that I’ve given up and now I wear the same pair of cargo shorts and a shitty t-shirt 5 days a week.
  11. Change a tire – Haven’t done it on my own. Always seemed like one of those “easy to figure out the moment you’re thrust into that situation” kind of things.
  12. Unhook a bra – Hands, teeth or feet? Pretty sure I can do it in under 10 seconds in each scenario.
  13. Say “I love you” and mean it – While saying “I love you” and not meaning it gave me a lot of positive results in college, I now only say it when I mean it…which is probably why no one’s heard me say it since college.
  14. Properly put on a tie – Yes, thank you, Catholic School…unless we’re talking about a bow tie, in which case I have a story about 12 guys panicking before a wedding because the bride & groom decided we needed to tie our own bow ties. One person had done it before. He ended up doing it 12 more times that day.
  15. Sew a button – Would rather throw out the shirt or pants in question and buy a new one than learn how to sew.
  16. Iron clothing – Learned out of necessity when I got my first sales job in San Francisco and spent all my money on new fancy shirts. Couldn’t afford dry cleaning so I taught myself how to iron. My two older brothers, to this day, think that ironing the shirt while you’re wearing it is the proper technique.
  17. Shop for clothing – Easy. Walk into Old Navy and buy one of everything that doesn’t look douchey.
  18. Make restaurant reservations – Look up the restaurant on Yelp, click the “find a table” button, reserve table through the Opentable functionality. Easy peasy. Wait, can you imagine someone not knowing how to do this after 50 years on the planet? Is there a more self-explanatory thing than making a reservation?
  19. Approach a woman – I do this the only way I know how…dress in a dark hoodie with the hood up over my head, sunglasses on even if I’m indoors, keep a very serious straight face, and put one hand in my pocket as if I’m holding something, and then whisper to her “I think you better come with me right now.” Works 0% of the time.
  20. Make a bed – Wait, does this one mean construct an actual bed out of raw materials or is it talking about the useless act of covering the mattress with sheets and a comforter every morning? One of them I can’t do, and the other I’m unwilling to do.
  21. Ask for help – I’d rather die. No, joking. Yeah I ask for help all the time, probably too much. I have no shame in getting someone to do something for me that I could have done myself.
  22. Break up a fight – Oh, no no no…you see, I’m the ultimate instigator. I hate fighting myself, but I love seeing my friends stick up for me and fight the person I’m antagonizing. It’s seriously my patented move.
  23. Lose an argument – I know how to, but I don’t like to. I’m a “get the last word in” kind of guy. So even if I’ve lost the argument, I’ll go down throwing out every theory possible until you get sick of hearing me talk.
  24. Set the table – Some of these items should be on a list titled “50 Things Every Man Should Know How To Do The Moment He Emerges From The Womb”.
  25. Firmly shake hands – I never pay attention to how firmly or limply I’m shaking someone’s hand because in that moment I’m always trying to either remember his name or think of something funny to say. I bet I’m average on the limp-firm scale (insert penis joke here, ha ha).

I hope this list was both insightful and a waste of time for everybody who read it. I’ll be back tomorrow with the second half.