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#49 Handshakes

January 9, 2012

It has been theorized that Men are descended from apelike creatures, and that through a process called evolution Men emerged as a distinct species.  Darwin postulated that the most badass members of any species would survive, thereby passing on their genes.  He called this idea survival of the fittest.  It was ground breaking when he came out with it, circa 1963. While natural selection fails to explain a majority of Manly traits–such as the desire to drink alcohol, an innate understanding of internal combustion engines, an inability to cry outside of situations dealing with football, or a need for a loyal dog–we accept the theory because the premise (the Men who most ably spread their seed win in the end) makes Manly sense.  It also explains the source of a time-honored Mantivity: handshakes.

Handshakes are remnants of a time when Men could not communicate verbally, and thus were forced to use hand signals to say every day things like “I’m hungry!” (stomach rub) “I’m full!” (stomach pat) and “I’m going to kill you!” (throat slice).  A hand shake was a way for one man to say to another man “Hello, I am your friend, or at least I am not your enemy.  I have not come to steal your mate or your food.” In today’s world, handshakes are totally unnecessary, as we could communicate those things in any number of ways that do not require physical contact.

Yet handshakes have developed to be more than just a greeting.  A handshake communicates a lot about a Man.  For example, a Man who grasps your hand too tightly probably lacks self confidence.  However, a Man whose grip is weak and buttery probably lacks resolve.  A man who shakes your hands while holding your elbow is probably a slimy politician.

In recent years, new forms of hand shakes have emerged.  There is the “high five,” reserved for frat boys, computer programmers, and sports fans.  There is the Manshake, which we obviously favor.  Perhaps most versatile of all is the fist bump, which can be used in any number of settings including when seeing an old friend, after getting married, or while in the process of killing Osama Bin Laden.

Handshakes are a simple yet integral part of being a Man.  While they do not garner a high Mantivity score (1.7), it is important for every Man to have developed a good technique of the basic handshake, and to have a firm understanding of the other varieties of handshakes, as the handshake is a basic element of life as a Man.


#48 Wearing Armor

October 27, 2011

In the typical week of an average man, he will come face to face with a Mastadon, rescue a baby from a burning building, and overcome a terrorist attempt to hijack his presidential airplane.  In general, a Man will not be intimidated or fazed by the peril in which he finds himself on a daily basis, and will be glad that he does not spend his days knitting or ironing underwear.  Nonetheless, being cool headed as he is, a Man recognizes that there is a certain danger that comes with the territory, and thus he will take measures to ensure that if all does not go according to plan, he will live to see another day.  Wearing armor is one of the top five ways to do this, and maybe top three depending on where you stand on cryonics.

Armor comes in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Its most basic form is a tunic that fits over the torso, made out of a sturdy material such as iron or Kevlar.  From there it can be targeted to protect a Man from certain risks.  Some types of Armor, for example, are designed to protect a Man from gunfire.  Others are more helpful against barbarians.  There is even a type of armor, made out of latex, that protects a Man from perhaps the greatest threat of all.

Since there is so much variation in armor and its uses, there is no single score for wearing armor.  In fact, armor is generally a value added Mantivity.  If, for example, you are Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions,and loyal servant to the true emperor, and happen to be in the midst of getting your vengeance, wearing armor boosts your score from 4.6 to 4.8.  If you are quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, and you are wearing armor so that you will be able to walk after inevitably getting sacked nine times in a game, your score goes from a 3.3 to a 3.6 [Ed. Note: playing professional football, even for the Browns, is a solid Mantivity].

There are some important exemptions and exceptions to this Mantivity.  For starters, no, “Under Armour” does not count as armor and should not be worn except, well, under armor (looking at you, douche bag).  Secondly, it is sometimes a Mantivity not to wear armor when it would otherwise be expected.  Rugby players, for example, score bonus Mantivity points because they don’t wear armor.*  In general however, sporting something like this, even in a casual setting, is the way to go.

*The rule of thumb for not wearing armor is that, if the only reason you would wear armor to do a given activity is to prevent pain, and not to protect your life, then not wearing armor is a Mantivity.

#46 Not Understanding the Internet

October 9, 2011

Men are wise. This has been well established time and time again. However, not all humans are Men – in fact, not even all males are Men (although some females are Men). Therefore, things have been invented to help the non-Men of the world to survive without Manly wisdom. “The internet” is one of these things.

The general idea of “the internet” is that a bunch of people can talk to each other and send each other letters and movies and objects through their TVs, when they aren’t being used to watch the game or replays of the game on ESPN classic. It is also useful for Men who enjoy looking a nudy pictures, which, to be clear, is not a Mantivity (it should go without explaining why).

Despite the almost self-evident uselessness of such a device, Men are occasionally forced to talk about “the internet” or say things about “the internet.” Men who run for president, for example, must pretend to like “the internet” to garner votes from the non-Man voting block. Older Men, who have spread their seed and become Grandfathers (Mantivity), have to enter “the internet” in order to correspond with their descendants.

A Man who knows absolutely nothing about “the internet” earns a 3.3 Manitvity score, however, if a Man is forced to discuss or use “the internet,” he can maintain a decent score by not being very knowledgeable. Do not learn the proper use for terms such as “twitter,” “google,” and “social networking.” DO NOT USE EMOTICONS. Always talk about “the internet” as if it is imaginary and/or impossible. Do not refer to “favorite websites,” or “podcasts” or “search engines.” And most definitely, do not talk about “your blog” if for some reason you have a blog.

And if you do have a blog – make sure to update it infrequently. Perhaps once every two years would be appropriate.

#45 Being an Astronaut

March 21, 2009

Men like setting and achieving goals. Winning the tour de france seven times with one testicle is an example of a goal a Man might set. More difficult than that, however, is overcoming that age old foe of bi-peds: gravity. Let’s face it, gravity’s a bitch. Without gravity Man would be free to jump to the top of buildings for lunch, fly to Saudi Arabia for free, and skydive from the ground into a plane. Some Men get so pissed off thinking about the opportunities gravity has taken from them, that they decide to do something about it. They become Astronauts.

Besides the whole gravity thing, one of the main reasons Men become astronauts is that they get to wear super-hero like jumpsuits and they get to navigate spacecraft that Han Solo would have envied. Basically, this makes them 21st century cowboys, and cowboys rule. Man.

On top of all that, Astronauts are widely accepted as American heroes. Neil Armstrong, is the prime example of an astronaut turned luminary, but there are others as well. Take for example, Bruce Willis, who on June 1st, 1998 saved the world from impending destruction at the hands of an asteroid, and then went on to have a successful career making movies in Hollywood.

The Mantivity score for being an Astronaut is 4.1. This is assuming that you aren’t a space monkey and that you aren’t Russian. In either of those cases, your failure is so complete that you are disqualified from Manliness for life. Oh yeah, bonus points for usage of Manly astronaut phrases such as “Houston we have lift off,” “One small step for Man, one giant leap for Mankind” and “Beam me up Scotty.”

#42 Leading a Charge

January 10, 2009

War is gruesome and horrible. I do not condone war. In fact, I didn’t really even want to fight for Agamemnon, but 13th century AD Greece was really boring, so I did it anyways. My point is this: sometimes war is necessary. Sometimes good Men must gather in order to fight for honor and glory, and to stop genocide. When this happens, Men must rally together, even when things appear truly bleak. Say, for example, you are outnumbered 10 to 1, and your fellow patriots begin to retreat for fear of their lives. This is when a Man must lead a charge.

The proper technique for leading a charge is as follows: if you do not have a flag, hold your weapon, be it a sword, a rifle, or a hand grenade, one arms-length above your head. Begin shouting as you would if a bunch of pac-10 referees lost the game for you. Run directly at your enemies, preferably passing a bunch of retreating companions as you do. If you do have a flag, you must wave it in a figure 8 above your head, shouting either “America,” “Freedom,” or “Victory,” before following the previously described procedure.

The Mantivity score for leading a charge is 3.9. You can gain bonus points for charging uphill, charging in the midst of a fearsome snow storm, or charging into a hopelessly large army in the hopes that you can leap over the ranks to decapitate their king. We are also legally required to warn you that this Mantivity results in death nine times out of ten.

#39 Snowmobiling

November 15, 2008

Men have many options when it comes to spending leisure time. They can shoot animals, get in a bar fight, or not do anything at all. These options, however, become much more limited when a Man finds himself in North Pole, Alaska. In this case a Man must adapt. Thus, Men have invented the snowmobile.

The snowmobile is propelled by a continuous track in the rear, and it is steered by two skis in the front. In this way it is kind of like a mix between a tank and a skiing bear. The end result is an extremely fast, loud, powerful machine that disturbs wildlife and disrupts the tranquility of the great outdoors. It is somewhat similar to a jet ski, except you don’t look like a douche bag when you use it. In fact, you really look like an astronaut. Awesome.

Men love snowmobiling because it is fun, dangerous, and the principal mode of transportation in Canada. The Mantivity score for a day-long snowmobiling excursion is 2.3. This does not include the other Mantivities that will undoubtedly occur on said excursion (ie urinating outside, talking about torque, starting a fire). The Mantivity score for winning a snowmobiling contest of some sort begins at 3.1, and can be as high as 4.0 for winning the Tesoro Iron Dog.

#38 Being Lazy

November 10, 2008

Ed. note: this post should help to explain why Daniel Boone and I have not posted in a very long time. We apologize for this inconsiderate (although Manly) behavior.

Men love sleeping. And lazy boys. And beer. This is because Men are by nature a lazy species. This is obvious when one considers the things Men are willing to pay the most money for, large televisions, luxurious boats, and private chefs being some good examples.

Some people reading this internet web-blog posting will argue that Men are not lazy, citing countless examples of hard-working Men. Of course, this is a misleading argument. It is true that a Man’s laziness can be trumped by other more urgent endeavors, but in the end, it is to laziness that a Man will always return. Many Men become confused when they are young, and think that a good way to spend free time is by kayaking and going for jogs. Eventually these Men realize that the only reason they do this is to have an excuse for the laziness that inevitably follows their “exercise,” and they soon stop pointlessly wasting energy, as Man needs no excuse for laziness.

There is no historical, evolutionary, or religious explanation for the laziness of Men. It has never been advantageous to prefer sleep to hard work, not even during the ice age, and definitely not during the 90s. Women clearly prefer Men who are willing to work hard to get what they want (there are exceptions). God has frowned upon laziness, at least since 2001. So why, then, are Men so lazy? I’m going to go take a nap while I think about it.

#37 Being an Auto Mechanic

September 24, 2008

It is normal in today’s day and age for the owner of an automobile to know relatively little about his machine. Carburetor? Who needs one. Fuel-injection valve? Sounds useless. This is a bad sign for society, and for our national security. Fortunately, there is a brave class of Men who still have great respect for the internal combustion engine and the wonderful things it does. These Men are called are auto mechanics.

There are several characteristics necessary if one is to be an auto mechanic. The first is grease – on the hands, smudged across the face, ingrained in the hair. The fact is that being a mechanic is a dirty job, and any kind of effort to avoid or deny this fact negates Mantivity status. The second characteristic is a vocabulary far wider than the average person – including words like gudgeon pin, gasket, and torque. The final characteristic is a complete and utter nonchalance in the face of all circumstances, as unexpected or as infuriating as they may be. Nonchalance is always Manly, but when a forty year old lady screams at you that there is no way it should cost over 1000 dollars to replace the transmission on her Volvo station wagon, it takes something extra not to lower yourself to violence.

The Manitivity score for being an auto-mechanic is a 3.3. The important thing to note about this score is that it applies to a very specific definition of “auto-mechanic” – that is: a person who, regardless of circumstance, would not decline an offer to assist his neigbor with car related issues, and in pursuit of said assistance, would not fail to say “Let’s see what we got here,” as he pops the hood of his neighbor’s vehicle. Note that this does not necessarily mean he is a professional mechanic, merely that he could be, if he were not employed in some other fasion.

#35 Owning an Eagle

August 4, 2008

Most birds are not Manly. This is because they are usually colorful and sing cheerful songs all day long, much like the characters from Sesame Street. Eagles, however, do not meet this stereotype. Instead of behaving like a typical bird, Eagles behave more like a winged warrior, or perhaps a Pterodactyl. This is why it is Manly to own one.

When Men buy or otherwise acquire eagles, they do so for specific reasons. Sometimes, they do so because they are the captain of a ship, and with all the navigating they are doing, they do not have time to do their own fishing or to fetch their pipe, so they train their eagle to do so (Note: in pop culture, pirates own parrots. This is ridiculous. No self-respecting marauder would get a bird simply because it can annoyingly repeat the same 10 words.) Sometimes, Men buy an Eagle because they are executioners and they need the bird to fetch their axe when the time comes.

Above all else, when a Man owns an eagle, it is imperative that the Eagle sit on his shoulder when he is in public. If this does not happen, and he does something stupid like keep the Eagle in the cage in his home, then he fails – in fact, these kind of shenanigans can lead to a negative Mantivity score. Otherwise, the score is a 4.1. Note: Most Men will never have the opportunity to own an Eagle. That is fine. Other breeds of similar birds, such as hawks and falcons earn slightly lower scores.

#33 Playing the Drums

July 17, 2008

Music is confusing to Men. Sometimes, it makes them feel “emotions,” an experience which can be upsetting and infuriating for a Man who just wants to watch the game. Other music makes them want to sing and dance, which can be embarrassing and unManly. One source of music, however, has always made logical sense in the mind of Men: the drums.

The fact is, playing the drums is much closer to getting in a bar fight than it is to singing or blowing on a flute. It takes focus, power, and some deeply buried source of anger (messed up childhood, addiction to cocaine, the inability to find a favorite wrench, etc). Man’s natural reaction to anger is to pound on things – doing this with rhythm is just taking it one step further.

The Manliness of drumming can be traced back to the days when wars were decided by who was more pissed off. Leaders of Men found that drums were capable of whipping certain Men into a frenzy that transformed them into unstoppable forces on the battle field. The Men that had this reaction to the drums died less often than the Men who felt nothing when drums were played. Natural selection did the rest.

The Mantivity score for playing the drums is 2.8. Generally, a drummer’s appearance does not matter, he should just avoid looking like a douche bag (ie, if you are a beginner, or just untalented – don’t take your shirt off when you play, that looks stupid). Bonus points can be earned if your drumming causes fights or if you are using atypical apparatus, like a trash can or a set of human skulls.