Top 10 Reasons Fall is the Manliest Season

10. It is the time of year when a man can wear that manliest of fabrics: flannel.

9. Fathers can continue the time-honored tradition of ordering their sons to rake leaves and put said leaves (in one of the most tedious and arduous tasks known to all of yardwork) in garbage bags before the wind kindly redistributes those carefully made piles back around the yard.

8. In a nod to cheapskate dads everywhere, you can turn off the air conditioner.

7. If there are manly colors, the colors of fall have to be it: Rust. Brown. Burnt Orange.

6. I’m gonna slip in a reason fall is not so manly: shorter days, longer nights. I can’t really find any logic there, but it just feels like the phrase uttered by dads and grandpas everywhere, “You’re burnin’ daylight!”, has to fit in this item somewhere.

5. While I’m not a griller, I understand that most men are reluctant outside food preparers during the frigid months, so fall is the last time to bust out the Webber or the propane/propane accessories.

4. Few things are manlier than self-improvement, i.e. education, and in the U.S. anyway, fall signals the annual trek back to school. (Manliness note here: The scene on every college campus is the same: so many young bucks walking around, chests puffed out, trying to measure up each other. Another thought: The all-male dorm–a combination of testosterone and one upsmanship along with an absence of inhibition only exceeded by military barracks and locker rooms.)

3. Back when we grew our own food instead of purchasing it from people wearing vests and nametags, fall meant the harvest. Few things are manlier than planting, cultivating, and harvesting your own sustenance. And I should know–I’ve read at least one Michael Pollan book, plus I watch the Food Channel regularly.

2. For me, fall really starts with Labor Day, a day to celebrate work. But I like that it’s called “Labor Day” rather than “Work Day”. Labor has these really manly connotations to me–the image in my head usually involves denim overalls, a sledgehammer, lots of sweat, and  a metal lunch pail.

1. Fall marks the beginning of football season, basketball season, hockey season, and the playing of the World Series. Tough to beat that combo. And no, I may not leave my couch for the next three months.

The Cost of a Manly Evening

One-Day Oklahoma City Metro Water Fishing License: $3
New Heddon Torpedo Topwater Lure: $4.99
3 oz. bar of Dr. Dobbs’ Happy Camper Poison Ivy Soap: $6
Co-Pay for Steroid Shot at the Urgent Care Clinic: $30
Bottle of Calamine Lotion: $5.79

A manly evening of fishing where the only thing I catch is my lure in a tree and a wicked case of poison ivy: PRICELESS

When I’m an Old Man

Photo by Avi Revivo {http://revivo.co.il/blog}

For the purposes of this post, I am defining an old man as someone in his mid to late 80’s. When I’m an old man:

  • I will carry candy in my pockets to give to kids at the grocery store and at church. Who knows what society will be like by the time I’m an old man… maybe I’ll need to stick to doing this at church.
  • I will wear bib overalls with nothing under them a large majority of the time. Obviously when special occasions, such as the ones listed above, call for it I will change my attire. However, I’ve always thought there’d be something really freeing about spending my days wearing a pair of bib overalls with nothing under them. Unfortunately this is a luxury of the old… but I’m willing to wait.
  • I will be really nice to some people and really mean to others. I will be really inconsistent with this one and make a sport out of trying to be obnoxiously rude and overly kind to the same people multiple times each day. I know this will throw people off, but I will get a good kick out of watching how they react. This would never fly today, but when I’m an old man, people will probably just take it and think to themselves, “Bless his heart.” or “He comes from a different time.” This too is a luxury of the old.
  • I will offer my advice on life to anyone and everyone who will listen and even those who won’t.
  • I will start a lot of sentences with the phrase, “Back in my day…” Who am I kidding, I already do this now. I hope to get worse and worse as time goes by.
  • I will drive down the street with my windows rolled down listening to gangsta rap, or whatever’s the equivalent of gangsta rap in 2061. I plan to give “they see me rollin” and “catch me ridin dirty” entirely new meanings at that time.
  • I will use Facebook and YouTube and Twitter prolifically. Admittedly, I realize these three services might not be around still when I’m an old man, but that’s not the point. The point is that I commit now to becoming adept at some current technology that seems (because of my age) a bit out of my grasp. At parties and family get togethers, people will comment, “Grandpa Michael sure does love the YouTubes. Did you see the video he posted yesterday of himself wearing bib overalls and handing out candy in the grocery store?”
  • I will call younger men brochacho, broseph, bromigo, and occasionally brojangles. I don’t know how you feel about this one, but I would immediately have a lot of love and respect for any man in his 80’s or older who called me by one of those terms of endearment.
  • I will fist bump. People may talk about me behind my back for this one. They may say smirk and say to themselves, “Bless his heart. He comes from a different time. He’s still so stuck in the 2000’s.” but I don’t care.
  • I will walk around the men’s locker room at my local YMCA wearing nothing. I’ve seen older dudes doing this before. Admittedly, I always find it a bit unsettling at first, but honestly… I’m just impressed they’re still coming to the gym and working out in their 80’s. I say wear that nakedness like the proud badge of honor that it is old brotha.
  • I will get people’s names wrong on purpose and see how long it takes them to correct me and/or whether they correct me at all. This is just fun and plays to the side of my personality that enjoys the occasional social experiment and the awkward interactions that follow.
  • If by some off chance I happen to outlive the lovely and talented wife, I will regularly and harmlessly flirt with women half my age. If one of these 1/2 my age 40 year old women happens to respond to my flirting, I will turn every topic that comes up in our conversation back to a story about my late wife.
  • I will no longer wear sunscreen. I’ve always hated the way that crap feels on my skin, and if I make it to 80 the last thing I’m going to worry about is death by skin cancer.
  • I will have a dog that appears older than I am, but that (in reality) is just really lazy. Preferably said dog will have long droopy ears and eyelids that hang way down over his eyes. I will call him Hound Dog.
  • I realize it’s awful presumptuous for me to assume I’ll even live to see my 80’s. I’ve been to nursing homes before, and let’s be candid here… there are just not a lot of old 6’4″ dudes walking around those places. Being tall may have its perks, but when it comes to longevity of life, I think the short guys have the advantage. The term, “little old man” had to have come from somewhere, didn’t it? However, if I do happen to make to the glorious old age of 80 and beyond, these are just some of the amusing things I hope to be doing at that time. I will post a more serious list later in the week.

    Two Things Every Real Man Should Have in the Trunk of His Car

    The obvious choice here is a spare tire and a hand jack. But that’s a given. We’re talking real men here… not your everyday run-of-the-mill AAA card-carrying average Joe. For the sake of argument, let’s assume every man already has these two essentials of the road stowed away in the trunk of his trusty rubber-footed steed. Where do we go from there?

    Easy.

    The two things every real man should have in the trunk of his car are:

    A) a Football

    and

    B) a Frisbee

    Don’t be caught with your pants down on this one.

    A real man never knows when time, chance, and good fortune might smile upon him and provide a group of friends, a little open space, and a few minutes to spare. This scenario is also known as: THE PERFECT STORM FOR HURLING MAN MADE PROJECTILES THROUGH THE AIR.

    You could check the trunk of my car today and I would definitely fail this test. Sure, I’ve got a baseball glove, sunflower seeds, a catcher’s mit, a hack-saw, all seven Chronicles of Narnia books, a bath robe, and a badger hair shaving brush back there, but none of those have much inherent group entertainment value (except for maybe the sunflower seeds). However, when an opportunity presents itself to entertain a group of otherwise bored bystanders by hurling a projectile made of leather, plastic, or other recycled material through the air, a real man is ready.

    It is my goal to rectify this situation and be in compliance with this newly inked axiom of manhood by the end of the weekend. I hope you’ll do the same. Feel free to test me on Monday.

    How am I unmanly? Let me count the ways.

    Inspired by Michael’s list of what conventional wisdom says are unmanly traits, I decided to list my own as well. Like Michael, I also believe a man is constituted by the inside rather than the outside. Thank goodness, too, or else I might always remain a boy. Here goes:

    1. I can’t use a grill. Propane, charcoal, nor even hibachi, I am utterly clueless about cooking over an open flame. I haven’t willfully avoided learning the skill; rather, several circumstances have contributed to my ignorance. At the age guys might first learn to flame-broil meat over heat, I lived only with my mom and my younger brother, two people also unfamiliar with the art of outdoor food preparation. In college, I lived in on-campus housing, which of course forbade open flames, seeing as university students seem to set enough things on fire without giving them a reason to use lighter fluid. Since graduation, I’ve lived exclusively in apartments except for a nine-month period in which my diet consisted mainly of Dairy Queen and Little Debbies. Now I’m at the point where I’m either too embarrassed to ask someone to teach me or I’d rather just eat someone else’s cooking. So my children, should I ever have them, will be destined for a life of steak from Outback.

    2. Coffee is undrinkable to me. I know other men who don’t drink coffee, and I know most women drink it, but I still associate coffee with manliness. From cowpokes drinking it scalding and black in those old Western movies to soldiers savoring a steaming cup during reprieves from battle in military movies, it seems like drinking coffee hot, strong, and black reflects manliness. Still, I just can’t bear to dump any down my hatch, irrespective of the fact that it might put hair on my chest. In my defense, I don’t drink any hot drinks, chai tea latte or otherwise. I’m too impatient—can’t wait for any hot beverage to cool down to a non-second-degree burn temperature.

    3. I’ve read pretty much all of the Babysitter Club book series, one book from the Confessions of a Shopaholic series, and at least one romance novel. (I can’t remember the title…no doubt it included some combination of the words “hot” and “forbidden”.) Part of my unmanly tastes is due to my proclivity for reading any book I could get my hands on as a kid, while the other part of my tastes is explained by my really getting caught up in those little babysitters’ lives. However, I’ve made up for this by reading my power drill manual cover to cover.

    4. Speaking of power drills—I’m average to below average mechanically. And I’m not just self-deprecating: I took an aptitude test earlier this summer, and I scored in the 45th-50th percentile in manipulating tools. Consequently, I have crooked shelves, unhung picture frames, and a power saw that’s never left its box. (It was a gift…I’m self-aware enough not to buy a tool that spins a sharpened metal disk at 4000 rpm.)

    5. I once shaved my legs with regularity. Is it just me, or does high school seem to actually encourage weirdness? I’m still not sure what I was thinking. Though I have to admit that I liked the feeling of crawling under the sheets with smooth legs…wait, don’t tell me, I already know: TMI.

    6. Guns kind of freak me out. This one’s strange because I loved and shot all manner of firearms up through my early twenties. Now the thought of shooting one gives me the shakes, and the thought of owning one is inconceivable. (Well, except for writing that sentence just made me conceive of it…hmmm, I guess I should say the thought of owning one will never be consummated with actually bringing one into my house.) In all seriousness, I think my fear is actually quite rational—it seems to me that I’m much more likely to accidentally shoot myself with my own gun that use it to protect myself. I do own two BB guns, though, and I still have both my eyes.

    7. I’ve never completed a pull-up. This has bothered me since those socially brutal Presidential Physical Fitness Tests President Reagan cruelly imposed on elementary school children in the 80s. P.E. class in second grade on those days was so crappy I’d have rather been repeating the unit on square dancing. Twenty-four years later and pulling off a pull-up is still as impossible as refusing a mint chocolate chip shake from Braum’s. However, I find solace in the fact that I can still run faster than most pregnant women.

    8. I yell at referees, umpires, and all sports officials. This one is particularly unconscionable since I’ve been a baseball umpire at the junior high/high school level. I think there are few situations in which a man can acceptably raise his voice, and the perceived failure of the person humbly trying to maintain the integrity of the games we love is NOT one of those situations. No time is the maxim “everybody makes mistakes” more important to remember than when a ref botches a call. I can assure you that the official is beating himself or herself up enough with hearing a cavalcade of boos from you and me. OK, off my soapbox. (I realize this one is internal, not external, but confession is the first part to recovery, right?)

    9. I occasionally use a version of man makeup. Nivea makes this cream specifically for dudes to put under our eyes when they’re puffy or dark. In addition to a dashing grin, irresistible charm, and a deft ability to gleek on command, I also inherited from my ancestors eyes which tend to puff or grow dark half-moons. So this kind of “grooming” is at least marginally justifiable for me. Admittedly, I could forego this practice, but you’d only replace your disdain for me with slack-jawed horror when I showed up at your house at 8 am.

    10. I can’t even manage a round number for this list.