The Manly Guide to Being Manly: 25 Manly Things to Do

“What you see at fight club is a generation of men raised by women.” Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk

Men fight. It’s what we do. We drink, fight, fart and laugh. We laugh at the drinking, the fighting and especially the farting. We’re simple creatures. Hunting, fishing, and fucking… these are things that make men manly. Unfortunately, modern society dictates that we cannot always make these things the sole purpose of our existence. Instead, we have to find other ways of being manly.

There’s something incredibly manly about standing there cooking bacon without a shirt on. It’s manly in a way that loading a dishwasher isn’t, even if you do load it half naked! I shallow fry my bacon. Some people grill it; fuck that. That is not manly. I’m a man I can take the fat!

Cooking away did get me thinking though, which is rare (the doing two things at once, not the thinking). There aren’t enough opportunities to be manly in life. So I thought I’d make a list of tips on how to be more manly than you currently are. Whether you are a man or a woman, you can use this list to improve your sense of manliness. We’re not sexist here at Self Help for Happy People. Women can be manly too.

Barbeque during the height of British Summer

Barbecuing in a storm - because we're not going to let the rain stop us.

  1. Be in charge of the barbeque.
  2. Cooking raw meat over fire; this is one of the mostly manly pursuits in modern times. There’s a prestige about being the man in charge of the barbeque. If the host of an event isn’t the one in charge of the tongs then you can expect to see men queuing up to be centre of female attention as they sweat over raw-in-the-middle, black-on-the-outside burger.

  3. Light the fireworks
  4. Fireworks explode. We get to be responsible for letting that happen. If we could get our hands on more powerful explosives we would. In fact, real men make thermite in their spare time.

  5. DIY
  6. Fixing things is manly. Putting up a fence or a wall is very manly. It gives a sense of this is mine and I am building a wall around it. It is manly to build walls around all sorts of things – houses, gardens, fields and emotions. Plumbing, electrical wiring, fixing the TV, fixing the wobbly table, building a vibrator from scratch… it is extremely satisfying to Do It Yourself rather than paying some other guy to come and do it for you faster and better than you can.

  7. Make pancakes
  8. Yes, Pancake Day is that time of year where fathers all over the globe take to the kitchen to “show how it’s really done”. Making pancakes from scratch is more manly than it sounds, and a must if you have children in your life.

  9. Shine Shoes
  10. I mean properly shining them, with brushes. None of this wet flannel or easy sponges for cleaning shoes shite. Brush like you’ve never brushed before. Get those black bits all over the newspaper on the floor. Ahhh… childhood memories.

  11. Build a camp fire
  12. Fire, it is the ultimate of manly things. All men are pyromaniacs. Getting to be a pyromaniac in the wilderness on a cold dark night with the stars ahead is beautiful. Everyone should do it. Sit back watch the flames burn, sit quietly and contemplate whether you should really have put that much wood on the fire, or whether it is a little too close to the nearest tree, and listen to the fire crackling as the embers glow. Seriously, what is more manly and awesome than that?

  13. Sharpen a knife
  14. You can do this whilst sitting next to the fire. The knife may well end up blunter than when you started. Still, it feels very manly while you are doing it.

  15. Catch a fish
  16. Sitting in a boat all day, doing nothing, it sounds like bliss. Apart from the boat part it sounds great. Still, fishing is a manly pursuit (as is hunting), and there is something manly about killing something and then eating it. It also stops those pesky vegetarians stating “well you get your meat in shrink wrapped form, you wouldn’t go out and kill and gut it yourself”. Fuck them, tell them you can and you have and it tasted great. Then ask if they have any pets.

  17. Cut down a tree
  18. Destruction, it’s a manly thing. Cutting down a tree is a manly thing to do. Not that I advocate chopping down trees willy-nilly. Trees deserve respect. Anything that can still be standing upright after hundreds of years is a worthy adversary. Cutting down a tree with a chainsaw may speed the process up, but for a full dose of manliness use real saws.

  19. Chop firewood
  20. Because once you’ve chopped down a tree you need to prove your mastery through further destruction. Chopping wood is great. It’s almost like a form of meditation. Use an axe or a machete. Axes are manly. For smaller pieces a good machete is also suitably manly. These are also items that you can sharpen for extra manpoints.

  21. Get outrageously drunk
  22. Not a little tipsy. Not drunk to the state of rudeness. Wipe a week out of your memory. Out-drink everyone around you, make an arse of yourself, forget where you live, pee against a wall, sit on a bench for a little while, remember where you live, pass out in bed fully clothed and then get the fuck back out there the next day and do it all again. Last a week. Every man should spend one week of his life recovering from that week.

  23. Take a punch
  24. Every man wants to know he can take a good punch. In fact, men probably brag more about hard they have been hit than how hard they can hit. It’s because we’re solid. We cannot be broken. We are invincible. We are Thor the hammer-wielding god of thunder, lighting, strength, destruction, fertility and protection. We can take that goddamned punch and we can…

  25. Throw one back
  26. Yes, we took it, then we gave it back – with interest. Real men can throw a straight punch. We can throw a haymaker too, but we don’t need to. We have finesse. We want to throw a backhand to your solar plexus, uppercut to your chin and follow it with a hook to your liver. We want it to hurt. If we can’t kill you we can at least make you hurt. Hitting things is manly.

  27. Take up a manly sport
  28. Rugby, football, and boxing are manly sports. There is nothing manly about badminton. Nothing. I don’t care who you are. Pool is not a sport. Sports are games where you have to change your shoes. Pool is a game. It is manly though.

  29. Play a musical instrument
  30. There’s a reason why most rock bands are male. Guitars and drums are manly. We like to make noise. It ranks right up there with fire, destruction and hitting things. If you’re a drummer you get to do all four.

  31. Do something romantic
  32. Awww, isn’t that cute. Yes men really do get a sense of being manly through doing romantic things. We put a lot of care and attention into those romantic gestures. We don’t care if they are cheesy or old fashioned. It’s manly to open doors for women, carry their shopping, cook them a meal, buy them jewellery. It’s the nearest men get to pretending we have a sensitive side.

  33. Have the last word
  34. Men need to have the last word in arguments. We need to be right, even if we both know that we’re wrong. Seriously, all you women out there, we’re not trying to continue the argument, we’re not trying to upset you, we just need that last word. There’s nothing you can say or do to change this so don’t try. My word is final.

  35. Have a threesome
  36. I mean, come on, this had to be on the list. Manly men have threesomes. Preferably not with other manly men, but hell, I’m not going to judge you. Ideally I’d prefer to keep the number of men in a threesome as low as possible, and certainly no higher than 2. Numbers of participants higher than three are also acceptable substitutes for threesomes.

  37. Change a car tyre
  38. If you are a man and you have to call out your breakdown cover because you can’t change a tyre then I pity you. Just picture it.

  39. Ride a motorbike
  40. Motorcycles can be dangerous and so they will always be cooler than cars. Riding a motorbike provides freedom, it provides fun, it provides that little moment of excitement when you’re not sure you’re going to make that corner. Motorcycling is that time when it is perfectly acceptable for men to dress in leather and have something powerful between their legs.

  41. Read a real map
  42. Fuck satnav and fuck asking a stranger for directions. I can read a map and I am going to prove it. Maps are a source of interest for men generally. We love knowing where stuff is, which is ironic because we can never find our keys. Maps are manly and follow similar rules to remote controls, under no circumstances are the females allowed to touch the map.

  43. Carve a turkey
  44. Yes, another food related one, but again, Sunday lunch, Christmas dinner, etc… as a man it is necessary for you to sit at the head of the table and carve that turkey. You will inevitably fail to resist the temptation to ask any adolescent present whether they’d prefer a leg or the breast.

  45. Hold hot stuff
  46. “Careful that plate is hot” is something women should never utter. That’s pretty much the only encouragement we need to prove that we have asbestos fingers. That’s right, we can prove our manliness by taking hot plates through to the dining room without using a tea towel.

  47. Carry heavy stuff
  48. Sometimes men like to carry large, heavy things around. It may be easier to get someone else to help carry that table, but I’ll be damned if I’ll let it beat me, it’s going where I want it to go and I’ll do it on my own!

  49. Making lists
  50. Making lists is a fucking awesome manly pursuit. Real men make lists of everything. Real men have a definitive order for those lists. If it’s attractive women there’s a reason they’re in that order. We have reasons goddamit! And yes, we do make lists of people we think are attractive, we also make lists about favourite albums, books and computer games.

This is merely my manly list of amazingly manly things to do to boost your manliness. I think I’ve done almost everything on this list. I just need two volunteers to help me complete it. If you have any suggestions either for other manly things to do, or for volunteers, please leave them in the comments box.