According to some of my (soon to be ex) friends, my manliness has been in question for some time now. Not so much from a ‘looking or sounding like a man’ perspective but more from a ‘doing manly things’ perspective. Apparently, I seem to be missing some kind of alpha-male gene that would enable me to diagnose and address a myriad of handyman-type issues. Allegedly, men are meant to be able to do such things. Who knew? I’m yet to see the research but anecdotal evidence and personal experience would suggest that there may be something to the hypothesis. It’s also the same gene that would enable me to have meaningful and manly-type conversations with large-testicled, beer-drinking Aussie blokes about things like building verandahs, paving drive-ways, installing satellite dishes, shaving with an angle grinder (whatever that is) and sourcing the world’s best hunting knife. And to make matters worse, not only do I not know what they’re talking about… I’m not even remotely interested.
The other day someone asked me if I can change a tap washer. “Nope” was my less-than-manly reply. Not a clue. She was surprised. And amused. Apparently, it’s a skill I should have. “Well, I can”, she gloated.
Awesome; I’m less handy than my mate’s wife.
On top of that, this morning a bloke at my local café asked me a bunch of manly questions about some work I’m thinking of having done (by a real tradesman) at my house and I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about or how to answer his questions. He started speaking about council regulations, building permits and structural specs (or something) and my eyes glazed over like a fat kid in a cake shop. It was like he was speaking another language.
Then there was the last time I tried to be handy; I painted half a room at my gym. It took forever, it looked like shit and after a day of artistic and creative disaster, I wound up paying a real painter to come and fix my mess and complete the job. To make matters worse, when he saw my work (we’ll call it work), he laughed. A lot.
I think part of the problem is that my somewhat manly appearance (shaved head, army shorts, singlets, motorbike) misleads people into the “I bet he services his own car, has a garage full of power tools and kills his own dinner” kind of thinking. When in reality, the only thing I hunt for is money from my wallet to pay for my teriyaki chicken. Anyway, with all this in mind, lately I’ve been thinking that perhaps 2013 should be the year I set myself a goal of developing some manly (handy-man type) skills in the hope of assimilating more seamlessly into the alpha-male herd and being less of an embarrassment to my gender.
After much deliberation and contemplation, and taking into account the overwhelming evidence in support of my friend’s not-unreasonable hypothesis, I’ve decided that (1) if overall manliness is a reflection of one’s handyman-ness, then my friends may well be right and (2) maybe manliness is over-rated.