A man’s brain is the most powerful conscious entity in the known universe. It’s a smorgasbord of ideas, pulses, urges, and a zest for experimentation which have elevated us from a sticks-and-stones society a mere 12,000 years ago to successfully manipulating and containing the electrons which are flowing through the computer screen you are staring at right now.
Amazing isn’t it? But for every bright idea (or fortunate accident) which has been molded into something amazing over the course of written history, something had to put those ideas into action. Those actions, in well over 90% of all cases, involved a man’s hands. A man should be just as talented with his hands, along with his intellectual and social capacity, in order to be a well-rounded and king-like individual.
A significant minority of men already utilize their hands everyday as part of their primary job requirements. Mechanics, welders, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, pipe fitters, and HVAC technicians are all skilled tradesmen who provide essential services that keep our modern lives functioning properly. We commend you guys for your work, especially since the skilled trades do not get the recognition and respect they deserve in our university and white-collar obsessed culture. However, a hand-dominated talent should not be limited in scope to just blue-collar employment. All men, whether they are white-collar workers, students, or the unemployed, should craft a talent of their own that extends beyond computer wizardry and ‘the art of one-handed typing’.
A unique artistic, musical, fighting, or performance talent is what makes you you a man of unique distinction and a cut from a different cloth of all the C++ and HTML experts out there who routinely follow the same lines of code every day. Women by the way, love men of distinction (primarily because most are utterly lacking in it themselves). There are simply far too many hand-dominated talents out there to brainstorm into a single article, but I have included six prominent examples which are readily available to most fellas out there, and are primarily pursued for recreation. The first four also have a good element of social bonding and gaming potential attached to them, while the last two are mainly just for shits and giggles.
Arguably the world’s most popular instrument and a major component of American popular culture for the second half of the 20th century, guitars are just plain awesome and their skilled maestro’s are both envied and respected by men and women alike, all over the planet. Many beers and friendships has been shared among men, and many a woman’s knickers have magically dropped in close proximity to this instrument.
Guitar is probably the best all-round talent on this list. The only major drawbacks are that they can be relatively cumbersome for travel and it requires throwing down a bit of money. Decent guitars start at around $300 and skyrocket in cost with incremental improvements in craftsmanship and overall sound quality. But in the long run it’s absolute chump change. The healthy combination of social and personal enjoyment which comes from being skilled in this timeless instrument will potentially last until your bones are too brittle to hold down a chord.
Teaching yourself from scratch, improving your skills, and learning new songs also essentially costs nothing now, thanks to a plethora of Youtube videos available right on your laptop. Finally, if you needed any more motivation to learn guitar, these two gentlemen make it look way too easy. Otherwise, just enjoy the tunes. Some other good licks can be found here and here.
“I’ve had three wives and three guitars. I still play the guitars.” – Andres Segovia
“The guitar is a miniature orchestra in itself.” – Ludwig van Beethoven
When I was younger, like many other clueless individuals, I was under the impression that bass guitar was just an “easier” and “lazier” version of a regular guitar since it had just four or five strings instead of six. How wrong I was. Master bass playing is an art form and it takes years of diligent practice.
Some advantages of playing bass are its attractive solos while playing certain jazz, fusion, Latin, disco, and funk styles. Also, if your ever looking to join a band, bass players tend to be at an advantage over 6-stringers since the pool of available bassists are often substantially lower.
The drawbacks of learning bass guitar follow in the same footsteps as regular guitars (cost and portability issues), but are exasperated even further since they tend to be larger, heavier, and don’t do a world of good down by the campfire. But if you can slap around a sexy bass-heavy tune like this rendition of Patrice Rushen’s 1982 hit “Forget Me Nots”, you wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
Can’t complete a musical group without some good ol’ drums. The problem is a drum set is so large it’s not meant to be moved around on a frequent basis, and the noise pollution for your family members, flatmates, and nearby neighbors can be quite a predicament.
But hell, if your going to drive your family, flatmates, and neighbors crazy you might as well go all-out and fucking go nuts. There is definitely a lot of talent and drum-stick swinging enthusiasm coming from Combichrist drummer Trevor Friedrich in this video, even though I am personally not a fan of the music.
Flair bartending is the practice of entertaining patrons with the dazzling manipulation of bar tools and liquor bottles whilst preparing their drink. It is completely arrogant and unnecessary, and while some male patrons may find it mildly irksome (knowing it’s an unspoken fishing lure for bigger tips when they just want to get their god damn drink), the vast majority of bar and club goers tend to respond positively.
Young female customers in particular tend to completely gobble it up with praise, tips, and possibly even slipping over an unannounced phone number. It’s another classic example of how women “claim” they despise arrogance and other show-off behavior, and yet misconstrue it for confidence all the time. Particularly when they are being gradually liquored up.
The primary disadvantage in learning this skill is that you will have few formal opportunities to put it to show, unless you are actually employed as a bartender or throwing a raucous house party. Mucking up and breaking the bottle also causes an expensive and embarrassing mess for yourself. Proceed with caution, and preferably over a pile of sand.
A ‘Zippo’ is a reusable metal lighter which has been manufactured in abundance since the 1930s. In fact, the 500 millionth Zippo was manufactured as recently as 2012. They remain very popular as durable “windproof” lighters which can stay lit even in harsh weather. Overall, the basic mechanism of the lighter has remained unchanged even after 80 years in existence, and a wide variety of tricks have been conjured up over the years which utilize some amazing dexterity to ignite and extinguish the flame.
The disadvantages of learning Zippo tricks is that this skill likely won’t bring about the same level of female attention or social opportunity that some other activities do (not to mention a lot of the tricks are too damn hard and appear to defy the laws of physics). However, it’s fine for just general tomfoolery and it’s cheap and highly portable. A new Zippo lighter can be had for less than $15 and it fits right in your pocket.
Didn’t your mother tell you not to play with knives? There are essentially no practical benefits when messing around with knives, and only a laundry list of things which can go wrong (serious injury and/or death for instance). Still, it’s a pretty bad-ass skill when safely demonstrated in a controlled environment, and nothing quite screams “alpha male” and “leave me alone” like this scene from The Bodyguard.
Whatever path you choose to follow, treat it in the same manner as the Spartans or the Japanese. Be disciplined, be relentless, and strive for nothing less than perfection. Also have some fun, and preferably a lot of it. The path to masculine self-improvement does not always have to be an uphill battle.
Read More: All Men Should Own A Gun