Profiles in Manliness: Joe the Plumber

January 4, 2009 by

“Profiles in Manliness” is a special feature in which we celebrate some of the Manliest members of society.

During a major election year, public discourse becomes centered on national politics. It’s up to public leaders and candidates to speak directly to the American people about the major issues affecting Mankind, hopefully in moments like this.

However, every election season, someone emerges that surprises the nation, speaking to the problems and dreams of many Americans. This year, one Man rose to that challenge:  Joseph Wurzelbacher, commonly referred to as “Joe the Plumber”.800px-samuel_joseph_wurzelbacher

Joe captivated a nation when he publicly confronted Barack Obama about his slight increase in marginal tax rates for small business owners making 250,000 a year or more. Regular Americans, making nowhere near 250,000 a year, looked past his pathetically misguided support for the Ohio State Buckeyes and heralded Joe the Plumber a Man of the people (Manly). Its more Manly to stick to your guns and state over and over again that higher tax rates are simply unAmerican, especially when the other explanation uses erroneous and left-wing devices like data and evidence.

Joe was also a Man because his profession. Joe was a plumber, but even more Manly, he wasn’t actually a plumber. This is a rich tradition in Manliness—acting without instructions or formal training to complete Manly tasks, whether its plumbing, fixing your car, or killing every terrorist on your plane and saving your family.

Joe became an American icon in one media moment—a Carhartt wearing, untrained professional plumber with dogs. Despite Joe being a raging idiot in many ways, he was undoubtedly, a Man. For that, Joe the Plumber, we salute you.


Welcome, Mark Twain.

December 17, 2008 by

Mantivities officially welcomes a new Man to the staff, Mark Twain. A great American hero, Twain will add a new style, new grace, and more posts to the Mantivities institution. We hope you enjoy his work. We do.

Thanks to our readers.

Boone & Achilles


#40 Baling Hay

December 17, 2008 by

Since the dawn of Man, there have been Men doing hard labor. Among these Men, there have been Men that were a cut above the rest—Men so chock-filled with testosterone, they make Sean Connery blush. These are your hay-balers. It takes a special kind of man to bale hay, the type of man who rises with the sun, and is only forced into quitting once the sun gives up, after a mere 26 hours. 2316340495_80316789f9_o

Well equipped with his family’s most cherished heirloom, Ole Jasper (their trusty pitchfork), this man attacks the field like TO to antidepressants; and, should some filthy tree-huggers threaten his constituency, Ole Jasper quickly evolves into an extension of the 2nd Amendment, storming the castle, town hall, etc, to quickly put down some radical new movement.

The Hay-Baler’s backbone lies not with in his back, but in his forearms. It takes massive muscles to be able to make shucking a 80 pound pile of compost into the back of a truck look like throwing dice.

The Mantivity score for hay-baling is 3.2. While the hay-baler earns big bonus points for spitting, physical fitness, owning multiple dogs, wearing overalls and flannel, and not being able to locate Yugoslavia on a map, he loses points for above average vocabulary size, knowledge of anything outside of the borders of his state (should be in the Midwest) and the usage of any sort of hay-baling machine/robot.

#39 Snowmobiling

November 15, 2008 by

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 by

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 by

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.

#36 Tailgating

September 5, 2008 by

Ceremonies are important parts of a Man’s life. Sometimes, Men need to prepare for these ceremonies by drinking beer, grilling meat, and shouting indiscernible things at people wearing what is deemed the “wrong” color. In modern times, this series of events has developed a name—Tailgating. However, Men everywhere know that this timeless tradition dates back to the time of Crogmanon Man, who would prepare for bi-weekly Wooly Mammoth hunts by stabbing himself with hot iron spearheads and throwing rocks at the inferior Neanderthals. Direct evidence of this evolution can be found at college campuses during rivalry week.

Tailgates allow a Man to drink, eat unhealthy (Manly) foods, and act like a general idiot alongside his companions. Most of the time, tailgates occur as a lead-up to important sporting events, especially football. This is appropriate and society accepts it as such. However, if shielded from society’s scorn, Men would tailgate before 3rd grade soccer games, high school graduation ceremonies, and funerals.

It is important to adhere to a strict code of conduct during these tailgates. The host of the tailgate should provide food and beverage to the guests, who can be old friends or passer-bys that happen to be wearing the right color for the upcoming ceremony. (In the case of a funeral tail-gate, indiscernible shouting should occur in the general direction of those wearing white or pink. Beers should be distributed to those in black.) Above all else, it is important that the tailgate not forget its ultimate objective:  preparation for the ceremony occuring after the tailgate—tailgates lacking purpose lose tailgate status. But hanging around for no reason, grilling, and drinking is a Mantivity all on it’s own.

A well-thought out tailgate, with sufficient food and beverage, and the appropriate level of intensity and enthusiasm for the upcoming ceremony receives a Mantivity score of 3.7. Bonus points are earned if this is who shows up at your tailgate.

#35 Owning an Eagle

August 4, 2008 by

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.

#34 Obtaining Scars

July 25, 2008 by

Over the course of a Man’s life, he does a lot of things that leave marks on his skin. These marks can be burns, bruises, and most important of them, scars, which last the longest and therefore provide the most time for a Man to discuss the Mantivity that undoubtedly left the mark. The two tenets of obtaining scars are the Manliness of the activity that led to its obtainment and how the Man discusses the scar.

There are many different types of scars, each from a different cause. A common scar is one resulting from a surgery. Typically, this is not Manly, though there are some qualifications to that, like if the surgery is performed without anesthesia, with a buck knife in the wild, or if the surgery is performed 20 feet from live combat. Scars obtained over the course of a fight are typically more Manly than surgerical scars, and can be among the most Manly, depending on the reason for the fight, the location, and the outcome. If the fight occurred over something like a poorly reserved seat, then the scar is automatically pathetic. But if the fight occurred over the greatness of America or spilled Pabst, then any scars obtained from the battle are legitimate. Almost all Mantivities above a 4.0 score leave scars on the Man completing them, and this is appropriate. If you climb Mt. Everest and walk away unscathed, then you were most likely carried to the top (unManly).

Just as important as the Mantivity which caused the scar, is the way the Man handles scar-discussion in various contexts. As with all Mantivities, nonchalance is of the utmost importance. Regardless of what happened, the event which caused the scar, as painful as it might have been, inflicted minor discomfort and nothing more (for example, if you got a massive burn saving a baby from a fire, you don’t even remember the pain, you just wanted to get the child out of there). A Man should never bring up his own scar. This is simply bad form and ends any opportunity for legitimate nonchalance during the discussion, thus eliminating a major component of the Mantivity.

Obtaining scars is a Mantivity with a larger range, but most scars, if they are the result of a Manly source and the discussion is executed correctly, fall between 1.5 and 4.0. The general rule is that the score cannot be higher than the score of the Mantivity which resulted in the scar itself, though there is an exception. If the scar is intense but caused by an unManly moment or activity, like tripping, cleaning, accidentally hitting your head, or cutting yourself while slicing strawberries, then it is wise for a Man to recall something he did that could have caused the scar, but didn’t, like the story of the wild boar he wrestled in the African Savannah.

#33 Playing the Drums

July 17, 2008 by

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.