Man Up: 11 Typically Masculine Things that Every Woman Should Know How to Do

November 30, 2011  |  
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Even the most liberal limb of me has to admit that there are some great perks associated with being a woman, and even more when you’re a woman with a man.  If I haven’t offended you yet, allow me to explain.  While I still encourage independence, self- sufficiency and to be treated as equals, double-standards don’t bother me nearly as much when I am on the side of the freeway looking at my car do the “shoulder-lean” as the air slowly deflates from my tire.   I surely don’t mind being a damsel in distress when I see a spider that has basically seized my entryway with his web basically making me a prisoner in my own home.
Like the show tune says, “I enjoy being a girl.”

At the same time, when the going gets rough and you find yourself without a guy to get going, sometimes you have to “man-up” and take care of business.  It’s these times when you have to toss your fragile femininity on the shelf and get down and dirty.  After mastering the following situations, you may even be able to teach these pretty boys a thing or two:

1.  Car maintenance.

So we’ve already been unfairly labeled as bad drivers (Uh, what about Danica Patrick?), so it’s important that we know a little something about what happens when your car is making a funny sputtering noise or when it refuses to start at all.  Even though your 2011 Audi A6 may be the baddest thing to pull up to any brother’s bumper, there’s nothing sexier than a woman who knows what she’s working with under her hood and can troubleshoot when it’s slacking on the job.  You don’t have to know what an exhaust manifold does, but it is important to know how to avoid and manage situations that could put your safety at risk.

Actually read your car manual, know what the lights mean, know how to check your oil, and make sure to change it as needed.  Familiarize yourself with how to perform a jumpstart and travel with jumper cables and portable battery chargers.  Also try your hand at changing a flat tire a few times (and knowing where the spare is).  Most importantly, if you’re still not willing to get your hands a little dirty, make sure you always travel with emergency car repair funds and invest in a roadside service like AAA.

2.  Catching rodents and killing pests.

I will always be that girl who screams bloody murder at creatures with more than four legs or anything small and furry that isn’t animated, clothed and can sing cute songs.  Thankfully I’ve always had someone able to come to my rescue and trap, smash or poison the little vermin.  But when you’re Hot and single in the city, it’s essential that you try not to get too grossed out by the things that lurk into your living quarters, and rid yourself of any pests that are living rent-free.

3.  BBQ.

It’s all about the prep.  BBQ is really a 24-hour process since the best meat is marinated over time and tenderized with the right seasonings.  Luckily, as a lady, you’re naturally blessed with the patience to see this process through.  Buy a grill that suits your preference.  You can go old school charcoal or a fancy gas grill.  Make sure you have the right utensils, know your cuts of meat and the best place to shop for quality. If you’re feeling especially brave, perfect your own homemade sauce.

4.  Defend yourself.

Besides the occasional offensive odor and random outburst, one of the worst things about public transportation is the walk to and from it. For me, a little bit of muscle to the bus stop or my parked car at night always makes me feel just a touch safer, but we don’t always have that luxury.  You never know when you may have to swing a punch so remember to swing with your shoulder and not your arm, because punches from a close distance have a better chance of landing squarely as long as you follow through.  Carry pepper spray, walk with a key between your fingers ready to jab, keep your phone charged so you can call for help if necessary, and remember there’s safety in numbers (keep up with small groups of people).  Enrolling in a self-defense class couldn’t hurt either (well at least not you).

5.  Calculate square footage.

You don’t have to walk around Home Depot looking completely clueless, and you’d be surprised to know that sometimes you may even know a bit more than the salespeople.  When buying tile, carpet or other flooring materials, just remember basic geometry: Width times length.  Apply the “measure first” rule to everything including window purchases and furniture that may need to be moved through narrow spaces.  Make the tape measurer your best friend when it comes to home maintenance.

6.   Make a good martini.

Or any other drink, for that matter, as long as you choose one that you’ve perfected.  (Think 2 oz. of gin, ½ oz. of dry vermouth,  ½ oz. of sweet vermouth and green olives) Make sure to keep a few bottles of good wine and expensive liquor on hand for unexpected company in case your drink doesn’t turn out how you planned.  It doesn’t matter what drink you perfect though, as long as it tastes good.  Guests couldn’t care less that you can perform the fancy, “Lighter Under the Bottle” trick if they can appreciate a decently made cocktail.

7.  Use common tools.

Invest in quality tools that are commonly used like hammers, drills and screwdriver sets that you actually bought at a hardware store and not at a store that also sells paper plates and party supplies.  This applies to garden tools as well if you are lucky enough to have a fairly large lawn or trees on your property.  You’ll thank yourself later when you have to put together furniture, fix a broken cabinet, install thermostats or hook up audio-visual equipment out of the blue.  Have other commonly needed items like flashlights, box cutters, USB cords, coaxial and HDMI cables on hand so you don’t have to miss out on the newest episodes of True Blood because you didn’t know how to hook yourself up.


8.  Give a good handshake.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to have a handshake with someone who has a flimsy, damp palm, consider yourself lucky.  It’s the worst, violating feeling
in the world.  Tom Chiarella from Esquire magazine recommends, “Steady, firm, pump, let go.”  (Sounds like a Cinemax movie I once saw.)  Make sure to make eye contact as a sign of respect and acknowledgment and keep palms dry if possible (I know some folks can’t help it).  Don’t let the shake linger too long so it’s not misinterpreted.  The best handshake represents confidence and professionalism.

9.  Negotiate prices

There are two places I always try to have a man with me: at the mechanic and at the car dealership.  It doesn’t matter if the guy doesn’t even know what a car looks like, just the fact that he’s there sometimes deters the salesman or mechanic from trying to sell you a very expensive dream.  Thankfully, if you know a little bit about car maintenance and finances you can negotiate (aka, haggle to the death)  yourself a fair price, only pay for what you need and/or want and avoid getting run over simply because of your gender.

10.   Say, “No.”

As women we often instinctively feel the need to take care of everything and be there for everyone.  Unfortunately, we often end up with burdens that are hard to bear because we are so busy trying to please people.  Unfortunately, many men are fully aware of the load they can handle and don’t have a problem negating the request of others when it’s something they can’t do or don’t want to do.  It’s great that we CAN be superwoman, but in no way, shape or form is it our duty to put on a cape every day.  Make time for yourself and your needs because when you’re completely depleted, you’re no good to anyone.

11.   Ask for help.

A round of applause for the talented ladies that have accomplished the feats on the list, but understandably there are some things that you won’t be able to master or work up the strength to do.  Stink bugs bring out the wuss in me and for that reason, I keep Terminix on speed-dial.  It’s okay to have weaknesses, and even better if you can identify them and seek alternative solutions.   Unfortunately, there are dozens of unfinished decks, fallen ceiling fans and incomplete bathroom renovations that bear witness to the fact that most men haven’t mastered this action. There’s no shame in asking for help.

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