56 Things Every Man Should Know, Learn, Own, Do or At Least Try Once in a Lifetime

1. Learn to play chess.

Checkers is fun and all, but chess is the game of kings – it takes just a few minutes to learn, yet a lifetime to master.

2. Own a pair of jumper cables and carry them in your car.

The black cables go on first and come off last.

3. Purchase and follow a stock.

Whether it’s one on the NYSE, Dow, Nasdaq or S&P, do your research, invest a few dollars and keep track of your losses or gains.

4. Choose a favorite cologne to wear sparingly.

Go with a fragrance you love – nothing too inexpensive. And, always keep in mind that less is more.

5. Have a roll of duct tape handy.

It’s now a universal law – there are very few things that cannot be temporarily fixed with duct tape.

6. Light a fire without singeing eyebrows.

Remember that half a bottle of lighter fluid is not the recommended amount of fuel for a cooking fire.

7. Be honest.

There are few deeds less manly than lying to and keeping secrets from friends and significant others for selfish purposes. It’s difficult to tell the truth when it matters, but character is not built upon easy actions. If it hurts them not to know, man up and be honest.

8. Learn to change a car tire.

There is no need to always call AAA when you get a flat tire.

9. Get rid of your high school wallet.
If your wallet has Velcro, it’s time to upgrade.

10. Own a good iron and ironing board.

Wrinkly clothes impress almost no one.

11. Be chivalrous without coming off as a Renaissance faire employee.

There is nothing wrong with nonchalantly holding open a door, pulling out a chair or offering up your jacket, but avoid bowing and using the term, “Me lady.”

12. Learn to play at least three chords on the guitar.

For those who want to rock, the “E, A, B7” progression is a good place to start.

13. At least once a week, do something out of your comfort zone.

Whether it’s public speaking, trying a new food or talking to a stranger, try something new.

14. Grow up.

Responsibility can be the most difficult aspect of being an adult, but it’s also sometimes the most rewarding.

15. Don’t let adulthood suffocate your inner kid.

Yes, responsibility is a fact of life that needs to be embraced, but never lose touch with the goofy kid inside who loved candy and cartoons, laughed at the dumbest jokes and lived mostly in the moment.

16. Plant, grow, harvest and eat your own vegetables and/or fruit.

For a little taste of living off the land, like all who came before supermarkets and fast-food places, test your green thumb and reap what you sow.

17. Ask someone who is way out of your league on a date.

The secret is understated confidence. And, who knows? You might get a “yes.”

18. Give all the money in your pocket away to someone in need, but tell no one of your good deed.

You never know – one day, the circumstances may be reversed. Plus, you’ll feel good for the rest of the day.

19. Learn to tie a full Windsor or half Windsor knot.

It will take a few tries to master, but you will look sharper than the average tie-wearer who only knows the standard four-in-hand knot.

20. Learn to do laundry.

Separate colors, follow instruction and care labels, mind water temps and folding is a requirement.

21. Brew your own beer.

Brewing kits with everything you need, from hops to brewing bucket, can be had for as little as $50 – the cost of a case or two of your favorite name-brand cerveza.

22. Momentously conquer a fear.

If you’re afraid of heights, climb a mountain. If you’re scared of the water, learn to scuba dive.

23. Build a house.

Whether it’s in a tree, for a dog, for a bird or even for you and your family to live in, construct a home.

24. Learn to operate a manual transmission.

Easy on the clutch, and give it a little gas.

25. Beat an old-school video game.

Back before nearly every game came with an “easy” setting and infinite continues, beating a Nintendo, Super Nintendo or Genesis game was a true accomplishment.

26. Own a tool kit.

At a minimum, every man needs a hammer, screwdriver set, adjustable wrench, drill, pliers and saw – plus a roll of duct tape and a canister of WD-40.

27. Endure a bad romantic drama or comedy without complaining or falling asleep.

Why? Because your significant other will appreciate the break from another Jason Statham movie.

28. Volunteer regularly.

Find a cause – something you believe in – and freely give your time.

29. Learn to fish.

It’s a calming pastime while enjoying the outdoors. If you want to keep and eat what you catch, also learn to clean and fillet the fish.

30. Share your knowledge and experience.

Pass on a skill or life experience to someone coming up the ranks. Being a mentor comes with great rewards when you see a mentee succeed.

31. Learn from those who came before you.

Listen to the stories of your parents, grandparents or anyone else who has seen a thing or two.

32. Grow a mustache or beard, or both.

Even if it’s a little patchy or gray, let that facial hair sprout. In some cultures, it’s a rite of passage.

33. Learn to operate a firearm.

For marksmanship, hunting or self-defense, take a lesson or two on how to safely handle a firearm.

34. Learn to throw a decent pitch.

Two-seam, four-seam, curve, sinker or knuckle – when a batter steps into the box against you in a local baseball league or against some punk neighbor kids in a pick-up game, let your inner-Nolan Ryan shine.

35. Write an op-ed piece and submit to local newspaper.

Form an opinion on an important political or civic matter and express it thoughtfully on paper. Don’t, however, repeat the words of a cable news or syndicated-radio pundit – come up with your own take on an issue.

36. Interact meaningfully with children.

Spend time with your kids, nieces, nephews or friends’ children because they grow up fast, and the positive interaction will contribute to the adults they become. Plus, it will help you connect with No. 15.

37. Channel your inner artist.

Paint, sculpt, compose music or write poetry and share your creativity with others – even if the finished product is less than polished.

38. Learn to dance.

Even if it’s just a simple waltz, impress your date or your significant other with a few practiced steps and by not being the guy stuck in his seat when the music starts.

39. Admit when you’re wrong.

We are all human, which means we all make mistakes – fessing up to being wrong shows far more character than pretending to be perfect. But standing up for yourself when you’re right is just as important.

40. Own at least one tailor-fitted suit.

You can’t go wrong with a black, gray or navy blue suit to fit almost any occasion.

41. Learn to pick a good wine.

The seemingly endless list of wines at a nice restaurant does not have to be intimidatingly indecipherable. Generally speaking, reds go with richer meals, while whites pair with lighter fare – though this rule is made to be broken. Read up on the differences, and order with confidence.

42. Learn the basics of sewing.

There’s nothing unmanly about being able to mend a hole in your own pants or re-attaching a button, so go ahead and thread that needle.

43. Shake hands with a firm grip and make eye contact.

When you extend your hand to another, reach with a confident, firm (not overpowering or pain-causing) grip. Make eye contact, and hold it, not long enough for it to become creepy, but also don’t break it too quickly – there is a happy medium.

44. Memorize a meaningful poem.

Blake, Frost, Bukowski or even a Shakespeare sonnet – absorb the words of a great poet and carry the wisdom with you.

45. Become an expert at cooking at least one meal from scratch.

Be it steak and potatoes, chicken casserole or vegetable lasagna, master at least one dish to prepare for yourself, your friends, a loved one or the entire family.

46. Chop wood with an ax.

It’s hard work, and you will earn a few blisters on your hands when wielding an ax, but there’s a primal satisfaction when metal cleanly splits wood.

47. Learn to fence.

A lost art these days, what with the lack of swashbucklers, samurais and knights, but learning to wield a sword can come in handy if ninjas or Vikings ever come marauding across the land.

48. Complete a marathon.

That’s right, 26.2 miles on the power of your own legs and feet. Few athletic feats are more challenging physically as well as mentally.

49. Learn to mix a perfect adult beverage.

A martini, margarita, Long Island iced tea, Bloody Mary or Harvey Wallbanger – whatever your preference – become a master mixer of at least one alcoholic drink. Making new friends and keeping old ones will be all that much easier with a perfect beverage at the ready.

50. Write a love letter and send it.

A popular British musician once sang, “All you need is love,” and he was right. So don’t be afraid to put your feelings down in a letter for a loved one to read and keep.


Top 5 Albums Every Man Should Own

By Paul Smith, Owner of RecordSmith in Mechanicsburg

1.  Darkside of the Moon, Pink Floyd

2.  Watch the Throne, Jay-Z & Kayne West

3.  Combat Rock, The Clash

4.  Bad Girls, Donna Summer

5.  Unearthed, Johnny Cash


How to Cook The Perfect Steak

1. Choose a good cut of beef – ribeye or filet mignon are can’t-go-wrongs.

2. Remove steak from refrigerator at least 20 minutes before cooking so you don’t end up having to overcook the outside to cook the too-cold inside.

3. Get your pan hot – you want to sear the steak, not boil it.

4. Season the meat with sea salt and large grains of freshly ground pepper before it goes in the pan.

5. Drop a dollop of real butter in pan. Once melted, lay steak in pan.

6. Turn the steak over every minute to cook evenly.

7. Don’t cook past medium-well for best flavor. You don’t want beef jerky; you want a juicy steak.

8. Just before the steak is done, drop in another dollop of butter into the pan. Spoon the melted butter over the steak, basting it the rest of the way.

9. Serve with roasted or baked potatoes, or some green vegetable like asparagus if you must.


How to Endure a Bad Romantic Drama or Comedy Without Complaining

1. Acceptance.  Face it, you’re going to have to sit through a rom-dram sometime in the near future, so don’t be a baby about it. Besides, your significant other likely sat through plenty of mindless action flicks and Vin Diesel movies for you, and it’s time to return the favor.

2. Take Solace in Small Favors. Find comfort in the fact that few romantic comedies last longer than an hour and a half.

3. Do Your Research. Know what’s out there and what’s coming soon. Be proactive by searching for shorter runtimes and actors and actresses you like and dislike. If you can’t take Kate Hudson, suggest an alternative rom-com starring a more tolerable cast.

4. Caffeine-Load. Be sure to go into the movie with a caffeinated drink in case sleepiness sets in after Act I, when the protagonist meets the person who will forever change his or her love life.

5. Suspend Disbelief. You’re able to unflinchingly accept the automobile physics of the Fast and Furious franchise, so stop mentally pointing out plot holes and clichés, just go with it.

6. Relish the Good Vibes. Revel in the good feeling of doing something you didn’t want to do just to please and be with a loved one. There are far worse things than enduring a poorly made romantic drama or comedy, and complaining only makes it worse – plus, now it’s your turn to choose the next film.


Top 5 (But Also 2 Bonus) Most Irritating Things Men Do, According to Women

By the Ladies at “Harrisburg Magazine”

1. Not following through on promises or things you say you’re going to do – if you say you’re going to call or be somewhere, then call or be there.

2. Bad pick-up lines – just try starting a conversation like a normal human being because, “Do your legs hurt from running through my dreams all night?” never works.

3. Acting like complete babies when sick – it’s just a cold, not the Bubonic plague.

4. Never thinking you’re wrong about anything – it’s OK to admit mistakes.

5. Saying, “I don’t care,” when asked for input on plans – have an idea or opinion about what to eat for dinner or where to go on a day trip.

Bonus Irritation 1. Not cleaning up after shaving – sure, your face is clean but the sink isn’t.

Bonus Irritation 2. Going into “ignore mode” while playing video games or watching TV – the world doesn’t have to turn off when the Xbox or football game turns on.


Top 5 Films Every Man Should See

By Zack Moser of the Midtown Cinema

1.  The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, 1966

2.  The Shawshank Redemption, 1994

3.  Apocalypse Now, 1979

4.  Midnight Cowboy, 1969

5.  The Graduate, 1967


Top 5 Books Every Man Should Read

By G.P. Reynolds, Processing Manager at the Midtown Scholar

1.  Island, by Aldous Huxley

2.  The Republic, by Plato

3.  Night, by Elie Wiesel

4.  Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

5.  Pet Semetery, by Stephen King