Fisking The Obsolete Man Skills Article

A bunch of people sent me the link to this article. I think it’s because I’ve got something of rep for fisking this kind of goofy, metrosexual, try-hard, male-feminist, gibberish. It all started years ago, when the New York Times wrote this article about how to be a Modern Man

This article is just as vapidly useless, but thankfully has less bullet points.

Here is the link to the original article from a site called “Ask Men” (which from this would appear to be an unfortunate misnomer) but you don’t need to give them any clicks (it’ll just encourage them to write more crap like this) because I cut and pasted all of it here. As usual the original article is in italics, and my comments are in bold.




Obsolete Man Skills You Should Ditch

7 Obsolete ‘Manly’ Skills and What to Replace Them With

A click bait title, by:


Ian Stobber


Who I bet owns a troubling number of waifu pillows…





Approximately 29,000 of those shares were guys making fun of it. How do I know this? I think I was tagged in most of them.

When you picture a manly man — a guy who every guy wants to be — you’re often picturing someone pretty rugged. Since strength and success are so intertwined with masculinity, a man’s man has to be someone who’s good at things and unlikely to fail or fall short.

Right out the gate you can tell that this is going to be one of those weepy projection laden articles that tells you a whole lot more about the author’s issues and hang ups than it does the topic it is supposedly covering.

In other words, in the popular imagination, a man has to possess skills in order to be a real man.

Well if you don’t possess some skills, then you’re basically a useless lump of protoplasm, taking up space and breathing my valuable oxygen. 

Not just any skills will do, however.

And here we get to the part where Ian got picked on as a kid, and still has a chip on his shoulder about it.

We know this because, frankly, some skills are openly mocked. You could be the world’s best crossword puzzle solver and be made fun of by a mediocre car mechanic for being a geek. You could be the world’s best opera singer, and get razzed by a middling boxer for your high-pitched voice.

First, I’m assuming this evil mechanic/boxer is imaginary. But if you’re an actual man, you won’t give a shit that some chump thinks you are having fun wrong.

Some skills just aren’t considered very manly.

Well, that’s because they’re not stereotypical “manly” skillsets. However, real men don’t give a shit what others think about them.

To put this in perspective, I’m a 6’5”, 275 pound, farm boy, competitive shooter, who loves lifting weights and punching things. Stereotypical manly stuff right? Oh, but wait. I write fantasy novels for a living, and my hobbies include role playing games, and painting tiny metal dudes for war games. Ooooh, so unmanly. (you think doing crosswords makes you a “geek”, bitch please, get back to me after you’re the guest of honor at a science fiction convention) 

But wait. Let me check to see if I care about some random dipshit’s opinion of my man card… Nope. Still out of fucks to give.

And that is the essence of real manliness.

The skills men aspire to are the Man Skills, an ability to solve real-world problems, often involving physical strength or technical know-how, rather than creativity or emotional intelligence.

It isn’t an either or, doofus. Physical strength and creativity are not mutually exclusive. One of my best friends is an award winning poet who did strong man competitions. He can bend heavy duty nails with his bare hands and then write a haiku about it.

What we’ve got here is Ian projecting. He sucks at one side of things, so he’s trying to dismiss that side as bad, dumb, or obsolete. That’s chicken shit. It is just the mirror version of the judgmental men he’s whining about.

Unfortunately, however, as the technology in our lives shifts from analog to digital and from a luxury to a necessity, a lot of the traditional Man Skills are lessening in importance.

That there is called wishful thinking.

What that means is guys still care about being good at things that have no (or little) practical usage today, while  ignoring the growing importance of developing experience and comfort with new types of skill sets.

So everything Ian sucks at is bad, while everything Ian likes is good. He’s basically the same as Evil Mechanic/Boxer, only more self-righteously smug about it. 

Now, if you want to stay focused on being the coolest guy ever circa the 20th century, knock yourself out!

Ian lacks the upper body strength to knock himself out.

Nobody can make you respect 21st century manliness if you don’t want to.

Yeah, if this crap is 21st century manliness, my lack of respect is the least of your problems.

But if you’re at all interested in being ahead of the curve and exploring how to be the kind of man who’s tops

-I’m not thinking Ian’s on top much

in the near future rather than the distant past, then read on to discover which skills are becoming obsolete, and what you should be looking to replace them with.

Oh fucking goody.

  1. Hunting

Hunting was a hugely important skill for much of human history,

It still is in many places for sustenance, but I’ll get into the cultural and conservation reasons for the first world shortly.

but in light of the rise of cheap and readily available factory-farmed meat,

A subject I’m betting Ian knows fuck all about

hunting’s relationship to the food we actually eat has disappeared for the overwhelming majority of the population.

That’s actually part of the problem. Smug fucks like you are disconnected from the stark realities of where your food comes from. You buy a neatly wrapped package of meat from your Upper East Side deli, after a guy like me raised the animal, another guy took it to the slaughter house, and another guy hit in the brain with a pneumatic hammer, so that another guy could hang it up and chop it into neat pieces for your convenience.

Having hunted a lot, mostly pest control on the farm, and having raised a lot of cows so that smug urbanites like Ian don’t starve, it’s still killing animals. Hunting or farming, same difference. Just one is more efficient. But at the end of the day there’s still some dude covered in blood with a big ass knife chopping up a dead thing.

Deal with it, crybaby.

If you grew up in a rural area, there’s a good chance you learned to shoot game at some point, but as much as many contemporary guys fantasise about being able to kill a wild animal and eat it (Mark Zuckerberg, anyone?), particularly if you live in a big city, there’s really not much real-world benefit to that glorification.

Holy shit, that is so incredibly profoundly smug and ignorant I’m actually impressed. Yes. Particularly if you live in a big city, you are distant and detached from the nasty, brutish, and short circle of life. That doesn’t make the killing and butchering obsolete, it just makes you sheltered.

As for hunting, it is a necessary part of wild life management. In places where morons like you manage to get it banned as barbarically obsolete, within a few years the state is paying absurd sums of tax money to have deer tranquilized and neutered, because too many suburbanites are smacking them with their cars.

Also hunting pays for most of the conservation efforts on the planet. You might not like that fact, but deal with it, crybaby.

Instead, Learn How to Cook for Yourself

Which just shows how sheltered Ian is, because most hunters I know do know how to cook. Elk is friggin’ delicious. It’s like shooting a cow.   

Meanwhile, the average millennial man is probably more adept at ordering dinner online than actually making it, which is too bad. 

Well, at least Ian is an equal opportunity judgmental bitch.

Cooking your own meals is a lot of fun, generally cheaper than eating out or ordering in, and typically healthier, too. It’s also something that, while it may seem impossible to a beginner, is actually not as complicated as it seems. Join a cooking class — or even watch some YouTube how-tos or try a meal kit delivery service — and you might be surprised at how handy you become in the kitchen. And yes, it will impress people.

Oh my gosh, I actually agree with something Ian said!  Here’s an article where I fisked another self-righteous urban liberal who claimed poor people were too stupid to cook

The problem isn’t that cooking is a useful skill. It’s a great. The problem is that Ian is trying to say one useful skill is garbage, while another useful skill is great.

  1. Fighting

It’s a pretty common conception that at the root of every male confrontation is the possibility of physical violence.

If by “common conception” you mean what we’ve learned from all of human history and human nature, no shit, Sherlock. 

Road rage incidents, bar standoffs, most guys have found themselves in a situation that felt like a prelude to fisticuffs.

That’s because whether you like it or not the world has many violent, predatory assholes in it.

And in a violent dog-eat-dog world, there’s a certain logic to that approach.

There is a great deal of logic to it, unless you have a magic wand that can make murder vanish. In the meantime you can either be prepared to defend yourself or you can just be a victim.

But how many of those situations actually evolve into a fight?

Trust me. One is enough.

And why should any of them?

Because the other asshole gets a vote too.

Physical fighting literally doesn’t solve anything — it just leaves people angry and bruised, or worse.

BULL-FUCKING-SHIT.  That is some sheltered, Pollyanna, Kumbaya singing, wishful thinking, delusional nonsense right there. That attitude is the most “white privilege”, ivory tower, I Live In A Gated Community, nonsense I know of.  And I think the very concept of “white privilege” is idiotic, but if it exists, it’s that shit right there.

There are evil people in the world. And I’m not talking about the car mechanic who called Ian a sissy. There are murderers, rapists, terrorists, and people who want to hurt you just because it makes them happy to see you bleed. In addition to those actual evil people, you’ve got morons, who sometimes do stupid shit that gets out of control.  

People who claim violence never solve anything are profoundly, painfully ignorant of the world. Violence solves lots of things. It doesn’t solve them pretty, but it solves them.

Bad things happen. Period. You might win the lottery and never have a violent encounter in your life. But if you do, then having some measure of knowledge and skill to keep from having your skull caved in is mighty handy.

Instead, Learn How to Mediate

Problem-solving with an eye to compromise and healthy conflict resolution is something that, by and large, men just aren’t taught growing up.

An absolute lie.

I grew up rural poor, surrounded by men with what the APA would surely say are guilty of “toxic masculinity”, and though we learned to fight, we ALSO learned how not to. And it mattered MORE, because we were dealing with strong people who could really fuck you up when it mattered.

That’s one of the reasons many of us are so quick to start swinging or shoving rather than handling things with our words.

Ian is projecting. 

In reality, guys who know how to really fight, also know how badly injured the human body can be by a proper strike to the head, or a bad fall. And so we tend to avoid pointless conflict.

 But if we start thinking that the real loss isn’t losing (or walking away from) a fight, but rather getting into one in the first place, what would we really lose?

You’d lose your life if an actual evil person decides to take it from you.

The old-world caveman mentality of brute force’s dominance is dying out.

I’m betting Ian don’t get out of his gated community much. 

 If you’re someone who can work through a confrontation without needing to beat the other person into submission — physically, verbally or emotionally — you’ll see it pay off in your close personal relationships, too. Next time things start getting heated, try recognising that you’re angry and trying to engage the other person with your words (or just walking away).

That is so naïve it makes me want to puke. It assumes that violence only occurs between frat boys and strutting peacocks.  Ask any bouncer what really happens, is some hipster like Ian who talks a big game about non-violent conflict resolution gets one too many appletinis in him and starts a slap fight with some dude in a Tap Out shirt because he looks like the football player who gave him a swirly in middle school, and then gets knocked the fuck out. So in their super limited experience fighting can only be about dick measuring and egos (which in Ian’s case, I’m betting small and huge, in that order).

In reality, violence exists on a broad and complex spectrum, where knowing how to deescalate or avoid is vital AND knowing what to do when you can’t is even more so.

I was a concealed weapons instructor for many years. I taught people to shoot people, but I spent more time on all the reasons not to shoot people and how to avoid having to. The shooting was saved for when you didn’t have any other choice.

I’m a big guy who works an 80 pound heavy bag for fun, but I still carry pepper spray, because that’s just another intermediate level tool in the tool box. Only a fool would think about a terribly complicated and dangerous situation and want to face it with FEWER tools.  

  1. Repairing Your Car

In the popular imagination, the greasy car mechanic wiping his sweaty brow as he peers into your car hood is always a guy.

Well that would probably be because 98% of car mechanics are male. (thanks cursory google search)

Concordantly, the idea that a car is a guy thing and a guy should be able to fix his car as a result is something that’s pretty ingrained in our cultural beliefs.

Well, and the fact that 98% of the people who do it are guys, so…

But as cars shift from analog behemoths

I bet Ian drives a Prius or a Leaf… Any takers?

 to digital devices, some of the basic functionality in your car is now completely out of the fixing range of even the handiest of men.

Again, it’s complicated, and that would depend entirely on what needs fixing.

Not to mention that increasingly, electric cars, public transit, and cycling are becoming more attractive options for environmental reasons, and ride-sharing or car-sharing services mean the link between being in a car and being responsible for its functioning is as tenuous as it’s ever been.

And that last bit is just Ian once again crowing about how he is an elite urbanite, and not one of you poor dumb rednecks out in flyover country. Cars are so passé.  You should be glad to be packed like sardines into a filthy, graffiti covered tube that stinks of vomit and urine.

My career has required me to travel to a lot of big cities, where I’ve done the subway/train/taxi/bus thing. The last time I was in London (which is shockingly clean compared to New York, but still shit) I had to stand next to two drunken Brits loudly sucking on each other’s faces, and the locals were shocked because I kept standing up to offer my seat to boarding women—which is apparently one of those “obsolete male” things over there—but which impressed the hell out of the women.

Anybody who thinks riding the subway is better than having the freedom to just go where you want, when you want, in your personally owned vehicle has Stockholm Syndrome.

Instead, Learn How to Code

What the fucking fuck? I know he’s big on the false Either-Or, but it’s either change a tire or LEARN TO CODE? Couldn’t he have at least kept it kind of transport related? Like learn to cycle? Or learn how to avoid catching hepatitis from a subway car?

The 20th century mythos of the car as a vehicle that gave you freedom — to cross great distances, to discover new things, to leave your past behind — is perhaps now more accurately applied to the internet.

Ha! Oh man, that is pathetic. 😀  Seriously, go back and read that line out loud and tell me it doesn’t make you sound like a weenie.

There’s a pretty good chance you spend more time online these days than driving (ideally not at the same time, though), but the average person probably has little idea how any of the internet actually functions, let alone how to build a website or make an app.

And… so?

Just like you don’t need to understand every part of the internal combustion engine to use a car, you don’t need to be certified in C++ and Java to use the internet.

Considering the way the economy is increasingly shifting toward the digital, having at least a solid grounding in what makes the internet tick is a good idea generally.

Honestly, considering why most businesses fail you’d probably be way better off taking Accounting 201.

There are a lot of free or cheap how-to coursesdesigned to help you learn how to code these days. Give one a try and see if it doesn’t come more in handy than learning to replace the alternator.

Sigh… There’s nothing wrong with learning basic coding, nor is there anything wrong with learning basic car maintenance and repair. What kind of pathetic shit weasel has to denigrate one skill set in order to fluff up his own?

I’m not very good at either car repair or computers. Which is fine. A real man’s self-esteem isn’t damaged by there being someone out there better than him at something. But I suppose if I was a whiny little bitch like Ian, I’d say instead of learning to code, you should become a rich and successful bestselling novelist. Fair’s fair.   

But seriously, you should at least learn how to change a tire, or you’re useless. And that’s not even a male thing. My daughters know how to change a tire. It’s not that complicated.

  1. Fixing Things at Home

Power tools are such a de facto man thing that you’d be hard-pressed to find examples of women using them in most movies or TV shows. Men just are the mechanics of the world, right?

Yes, because movies are just filled with dramatic scenes of people sawing.

As with car maintenance, however, the idea that a man owns his house and should therefore know how to take care of it is increasingly an outdated concept.

This is basically Ian’s way of saying that because he is trash at something, that particular skill must not be useful for anyone. Home repair is a very useful skill for anyone who wants to save money.

With most millennials having no real shot at home-ownership,

Bullshit. Get out of the city sometime, you twit.

there’s a good chance your landlord will be the one in charge of fixing anything that goes wrong in your place — or, more likely, paying someone else to.

Snort. My wife is way better at home repair than I am. I learned to do what I needed to do because of necessity (comes with being poor!) but I don’t like it. My wife actually really enjoys it. And I’m not talking about basic repairs either, she’s finished a basement, can build furniture, and likes to lay tile. She mostly calls me when she needs heavy lifting.

Repair isn’t a manly skill as much as it’s a basic human skill, just far more men tend to do it for a living so they’ve got the knowledge. In this case my wife is good at it, so I don’t have to be. But since Ian is probably one of those Male Feminist Allies trying desperately to get laid by yelling about how evil men are on Twitter, the idea of a strong female equal partner probably frightens him.

Real men think that’s bad ass, because laying tile is a pain. 

Instead, Learn How to Decorate

Oh you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

It’s a sort of running gag in contemporary culture that women put a lot of effort into decorating their homes and filling them with the basic household necessities while men, well, sleep on a mattress lying on the floor.

Yes. So?

While it’s not as cut-and-dried as that, the average guy probably has some catching up to do with regards to interior design.

Again, if the dude is happy to sleep on a mattress on the floor, why is it any of your business?

It’s not something that women are innately better at, after all; it’s something that you can make serious strides in by committing yourself to.

Why would they want to? Quit telling people they’re having fun wrong.

If you have the time and/or the money, investing in how your space looks, feels, and functions can really change how you feel about the space (and how any potential dates you bring home feel about it).

If you spend that much time and money decorating your apartment, no wonder you can’t afford a house.

  1. Being a Leader

For much of human history, patriarchal societies meant women were expected to stay home and raise children, and men were expected to run everything else. Meaning, while there’s a good chance your mom wasn’t a CEO, your grandmother almost certainly wasn’t.

No offense, Ian, but I’m not going to take a history lesson from someone who claims violence never solved anything.

Not to mention that lead in doesn’t make any sense. More women are in leadership now than in the past… which shows that leadership is important. That’s ass backwards to the point you are trying to make. This shit right here is why morons should leave the writing to us professionals.

But in today’s world, the notion that a man will or must be a leader is increasingly vanishing.

No. It isn’t.

I’ve been in a lot of job interviews in my life, on both sides of the desk. Anybody who tells you that leadership isn’t valuable is a moron. Leadership, or the capability to step up and fill that void if necessary, is a huge draw for employers.

Figure that out and maybe you’ll be able to buy a house someday.   

 What that means is that guys who were brought up expecting to be in control are now having to accept that — gasp! — their boss is a woman. What to do?!

That’s an asinine false dichotomy. A man can learn to be a leader, and have a female boss no problem. I’ve had three powerful female corporate bosses over my career. The first was a nightmare who sucked to work for. The second was brilliant, I learned a lot from her, and the only reason I stayed in that career (military contracting) as long as I did instead of making the jump to full time writer, was because she was so awesome to work for. And my current publisher is a genius who has forgotten more about this business than most people will ever know.

Odd… They were all different individuals. It’s almost like females are people too!

But anyways, Ian’s screed was obviously written by a moron who has never led shit. Organizations don’t have one leader. They have layers. And just because you answer to one person doesn’t mean that you don’t have people who answer to you. There’s a chain of command, and I wish it was the ruttin’ chain I could beat you with.

And it isn’t just business. Leadership applies in all aspects of life. Because human nature means that if you want to get shit done, the buck is going to stop with someone.


Instead, Learn How to Collaborate

Workplaces of the future are likely to be less reliant on men’s top-down leadership and more dependent on open communication between coworkers of all genders and utilises a lot of different peoples’ skill sets.

And that naïve shit right there is why you can’t buy a house.

Rather than a bunch of guys all competing to nail down a corner office, a healthy workplace is one where ego takes a backseat to communal success.

No. It is not. That’s so silly that I’m now wondering if you’ve ever actually held a real job.

Unrestrained ambition and a need to be in control all the time will hurt your chances at a promotion, not help them. So instead, try to focus on building soft skills such as supporting co-workers, building links between different divisions, and knowing how and when to compromise.

Working with a team and collaborating are great skills. But that team still has a boss. And that boss has a boss. And that boss has a boss. And you’re a fucking moron if you think an office is just some big clump of people happily churning out product in some communal labor of love.

Also, you want an example of learning leadership and team building? Sports. But I’m sure Ian would consider those too obsolete and manly.

  1. Being a Disciplinarian

For a long time, the most important aspect of being a father was simply providing for your family, and second, perhaps, was molding your sons into men.

What do you mean for a long time? It still is.

That meant being stern with them — even harsh. That meant toughening them up by teaching them how to shoot, how to fight, how to push through their pain, how to overcome their fears. All the old Man Skills, basically.

You say this like it is a bad thing.

The archetypal disciplinary father really wasn’t setting his sons up to have emotionally healthy lives, though, meaning possible repressed trauma, difficulty communicating about feelings, and a dire need to see a therapist are far more common than you’d hope for adult men.

Oh fuck you, Ian, you disingenuous mope. What you just did there was intellectually dishonest and shockingly lazy. Fathers do this and this, AND some kids still have trouble! Ergo it is because their father’s disciplined them… That’s so half assed you should be ashamed of yourself but I doubt you lack the self-awareness.

Correlation does not equal causation. Children of single parents have a much higher instance of behavioral and psychological problems (thanks three seconds on google!) and of the ones who had a father, you’ve got no fucking clue what that father did or did not teach them.  


Instead, Learn How to Communicate With Your Children

If you really want to have a positive impact on their lives, it’s vital that you prioritise being there for them and encouraging them to be open with you about what they think and how they feel, rather than pushing them to fit into a narrow model of how to be. Don’t be the father who punishes his son for exploring more feminine things — he’ll resent you. Instead, be the father who encourages his kids to pursue their own interests and to become their own people, and who’s there to listen when something’s gone wrong.

These things are not mutually exclusive. You can discipline and teach your children, and also encourage them and talk about their feelings. I’ve got four kids, three of them teenagers at the same time. They don’t just talk about their feelings to me, they won’t shut up about them. I’ve got an awesome relationship with my kids, and they’ve all turned out to be good human beings who I’m extremely proud of.

That said, I really want to know what Ian’s dad did, and then do the opposite of that. Because, man, he sucks.  

RELATED: How to Be a Better Father, Explained

I would rather suck start a shotgun that take parenting advice from this shitty website.

  1. Holding Your Emotions In

Oh, no danger of me doing that here.

For a long time, the model man was stoic: the strong, silent type who never cried and wouldn’t admit when something made him sad or afraid. Let’s leave that whole concept in the past where it belongs.

Some men actually are the strong silent type. Ian wants to shame them for being themselves. Fuck you, twerp.  Men are individuals. They have the right to act however they want, even if you don’t approve.

Aside from just valuing communication, kindness, and empathy, this is a life-and-death issue.

Who says that strong men can’t be kind or have empathy, you judgmental pussy.

 Men’s inability to open up can cause them to struggle with forming friendships and meaningful bonds with other people, which scientists have linked to early male mortality rates. That’s right: Being emotionally walled up is literally killing men.

You know what is literally killing men? Nonsense like this.

Men are constantly being berated and blamed for everything. Whatever they do, however they act, some sick fuck like this has to come along and tell them that they are being men wrong. The APA labels their behavior as toxic masculinity. Every time they turn on the news they get to hear a bunch of liberal feminists shriek about how all men are rapists. Everything they enjoy is attacked as being hateful. And if they do express their feelings they are shouted down for “mansplaining”.

Men are told that they are obsolete. Their feelings don’t matter, unless they are proper groupthink liberal feelings, but everything else, shut up. They get told every day that they are racist, sexist, homophobes, and you can tell just by looking at the smirk on their face. All crime is their fault. All war is their fault. Everything bad is their fault.

When men get offended by something, they are mocked, ridiculed, and insulted, because our society has said it is okay to yell at men. It’s good and expected. Mega corporations cash in on this, and run ads, saying that not all men are scum, but many are, so we can do better… Can you imagine if a mega corporation ran an ad saying that not all Latinos are scum, but many are, and we can do better? Or what if a mega corporation said not all black men are criminals, but many are, so we can do better? People would be outraged, and rightfully so, because that’s incredibly insulting.

We just had Martin Luther King Day. That’s supposed to remind us not to judge big groups of people, but rather remember that they are individuals… But not men. Oh no. They’re all shit, and here are five hundred articles why they should change. Bigotry is alive and well in 2019, as long as you are bigoted against groups that the predominate media narrative says it is okay to vilify.


Instead, Learn How to Talk About Your Feelings

Fuck your feelings, Ian.

As a man, there might not be any single more important skill you can pursue than emotional maturity.

And I am emotionally mature enough to recognize and despise manipulative click bait designed to shame people.

Understanding what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and how to handle that feeling is something that few men are taught growing up, and it’s hard to overstate the negative impacts the absence of that skill can pose.

I feel that you are a useful idiot, and that I can’t overstate the negative impact of articles like this.

 If you have the means to, consider going into therapy. Even if you don’t feel that you’re struggling and haven’t been diagnosed with any mental health issues, therapy is a proven effective way to work through problems that have been plaguing you and become a happier, healthier version of yourself.

If your therapist is telling you that you should make irrational judgments upon millions of complete strangers based upon your own unresolved childhood issues with masculinity, then you need to get a new therapist.

And I cut and pasted the little click bait headlines that came after the article too, because they were deeply ironic:





I’ll save you time. They’re like Ian.


See above. Don’t be like Ian.

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256 thoughts on “Fisking The Obsolete Man Skills Article”

  1. Regarding the website name, I didn’t even know it existed until this story came out, but from what I’ve heard from others that were following it is that a previously useful site was overrun by the SocJus crowd and turned into a mockery of its original purpose.

    1. Same thing happened to Men’s Health magazine. It turned from a great all-around resource on men and manliness to “listen to this woman to find out what you’re doing wrong.”

    1. No, that’s definitely a guy. There’s a lot of those male feminist allies who sound like whiny 14 year old mean girls. Some of them milk it. The first one I encountered turned out to be a man in his (then) late 20s.

      (The regulars here know him as Clamps. Ask Jordan S Bassior sometime if y’all are curious, since it was on his blog that we first encountered the net disease.)

      I’ve run into a few more since, and a couple of those, even having a picture on the profile doesn’t help because they look as effeminate as they sound (or write), and it’s obvious this is achieved without their deliberately trying to do so, and it’s really weird and trips my uncanny valley switch.

      The ones I’ve run into in real life who sound and act like bitchy mean girls are serious pieces of work, and it ends up being somewhat unexpected because they outwardly look like perfectly normal guys, but the body language is all wrong. (And they don’t have the warning cues like the typical Filipino bading that they’ll be acting like a vengeful, rumormongering female.)

  2. Strong silent type? You don’t get more “strong silent type” than most of the characters John Wayne played. And yet, we have him saying:
    “All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.”
    “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway”

    Or how about Audie Murphy:
    “I’ll tell you what bravery really is. Bravery is just determination to do a job that you know has to be done.”
    “Sometimes it takes more courage to get up and run than to stay. You either just do it or you don’t. I got so scared the first day in combat I just decided to go along with it.”
    “I was scared before every battle. That old instinct of self-preservation is a pretty basic thing, but while the action was going on some part of my mind shut off and my training and discipline took over. I did what I had to do.”

    But then, when asked why he stood alone against an entire German company at Colmar Pocket Audie said:
    “They were killing my friends.”

    Somehow I don’t think whatsisface would ever grok that concept.

    1. Toxic masculinity! REEEEE!

      Note, Ian also said that father’s teaching their sons to overcome their fears was a negative.

    2. Audie Murphy is one of my personal heroes. I love the part about “doing a job that you know has to be done,” whatever that job might be. I strive to be that way myself, though I know I often fall short of it. And as a woman who is not married but someday would like to be, I can sure tell you that I wouldn’t want to be married to a man who wasn’t willing to take a shot at whatever thing needed to be done, whether that’s home repair or cooking dinner or helping me decorate the living room or anything else.

      1. It’s as fine and necessary a lesson for little girls as it is for little boys: Take responsibility.

        Of the youngsters that I’ve had the task of teaching and training over the years, seeing the awkward youth step forward and accept that responsibility, whether it be washing dishes or picking up tools or repairing someone else’s bad job, it alwyas gives me a smile to see it.

        That’s the thing that annoys me about Mr. Stobber’s piece (and I say it that way because being called “Mister” will probably put a twist in his tighty whiteys). It’s an attack on personal responsibility. That right there is *dangerous.*

    3. Thanks for quoting “In Harm’s Way.” Wayne’s Admiral Torrey is quite a good performance in an underrated film.

    4. Audie Murphy was a skinny scrawny little guy who didn’t have an ounce of quit in him. He accomplished more through sheer stubbornness and determination than many ever hope to manage through skill or talent.

      And if Ian sleeps soundly in his bed as a free person, it is only because of the efforts of his betters, who stand ready to do violence upon his behalf.

      1. I have a real strong suspicion that Steve Rogers’ progression to Captain America had a firm grounding in Audie Murphy’s progress as a soldier. Leaving out the whole super-soldier serum thing….

        1. Actually a case of life imitating art, as Captain America was created in 1940. It was more of a middle finger to the Nazis and their sympathizers: “If there was a blonde-haired blue-eyed ubermensch, he’d be on the side of liberty.”

    5. If conquering your fears/courage is bad, then Jackie Robinson never would have broken the color barrier in baseball.

  3. I own three waifu pillows a bunch of plastic figures of anime and gacha game hotties and I bet I know how to change a tire or a break pad.

    I take umbrage with his not being able to own my own home bit. I don’t, and unfortunately I may not in the future. But it doesn’t mean I can’t maintain a rental. Means I can’t put in new paint or replace some carpet. Or God forbid, accidentally break a cabinet hinge and not put it back together.

    Lord in heaven who does he think landlords get to fix their property that people like this man probably trashed because they always assume someone will fix their mess?

    1. Hell, most states ALLOW the tenant to repair or improve the rental property, and deduct the amount spent doing so from rent, unless the lease/rental agreement prohibits such work.

      One of my friends got to live rent-free at a place for most of a year, because he was working to restore it from the damage inflicted by the PREVIOUS tenants, which meant fixing the plumbing, counters/cabinets, floors, etc. in his spare time, with the materials provided mostly by the landlord, and the time working on it (outside of his regular full-time job) going toward the rent, even at less than a quarter of what a contractor would cost being used as the “wage equivalent” for the work.

    2. “As with car maintenance, however, the idea that a man owns his house and should therefore know how to take care of it is increasingly an outdated concept.”

      D**mit, I was going to fix the roof after rainy season so that I can take the bucket out of the attic. I guess I’ll just have to spend a pile of money on a “professional” instead. Wonder how the “professional” handles his own leaky roof?

      As for decorating. I if you put fancy stuff around your house, it collects dust and you have to clean it. I bought a freekin robot to clean the floor, haven’t seen one yet that dusts.

  4. Men’s inability to open up can cause them to struggle with forming friendships and meaningful bonds with other people, which scientists have linked to early male mortality rates.

    But, if you bond with your male friends, you’re likely to have some feminist talk about the homoerotic subtext of your relationship.

    Can’t imagine why men don’t form these major friendships. Can you?

    And people wonder why I wrote a whole damn book on masculinity.

    1. Any time two men are close you are almost certainly going to see feminists saying they are homosexual, just like if there are two men who are close in any tv show or book, the feminists will “ship” them as gay. And then they wonder why many heterosexual men are hesitant to show affection toward another man in public.

      And that extra sucks for gay dudes, because it makes their hetero friends even more hesitant to demonstrate any sort of fondness in public.

      So then men are “stoic”, and they get attacked for that by twits like Ian.

      1. Well, I take that “old fashioned, toxic masculinity” to the next logical step there, too.

        If a twitter brained moron wants to talk about the “homoerotic subtext” of how I interact with my male freinds (straight, gay, transgender nonbinary otherkin, what the fuck ever), then that moron can watch me handle it in an “old fashioned, toxic masculine fashion”.

        to whit:

        “Fuck off, loser. You bore me.”

      2. …feminists will “ship” them as gay. And then they wonder why many heterosexual men are hesitant to show affection toward another man in public.

        I don’t have this problem, because I have no fucks to give for what feminists (or anyone else for that matter) might think. Of course, that’s because I’m a stoic manly man LOL!

        And that extra sucks for gay dudes,

        Um… wouldn’t gay dudes LIKE extra sucks? (sorry, that joke just popped out… couldn’t help it)

      3. God damn I really HATE that shipping of male friends from stories – and more when it’s real life friends. One thing if it was kept to some specific fan fiction sites or their own forums, but those ideas are now pushed everywhere, you have to work hard to avoid them. And they don’t even stick to just friends, now it’s way too often that it comes up too when it’s something like actual brothers. I love to see any kind of bonding which is not sexual in stories. Partly because the sexual tends to get more attention, while the platonic love kinds get more often merely noted in the mainstream type of fiction, movies, television and so on – the sexual tension gets played on for all it’s worth, but friendships just are unless it’s specifically a genre which requires concentrating on that like a buddy cop movie, and in those today it has gotten more likely there will be at least some crumbs thrown to the shipping community sooner or later, if only as a joke.

        Today it’s way too often that the assumption seems to be that two adult people can’t love each other unless it’s at least partly sexual, and that love between adults is the same as wanting to have sex, as if only sexual love existed and you could not love without wanting to have that. So even when the story itself gives no hints towards that try to discuss the story anywhere, especially in a bigger group and somebody is bound to bring that up.

        As said, if that is your personal fetish (seems to be especially leftist women, and yes, I know a few of them), and you love the idea of, say, Kirk and Spock stealing intimate moments when nobody sees, hell, feel free, but keep it to yourself and your pals who maybe also have the same fetish (and do you feel the need to have passionate sex with all of them, by the way? Why not? Don’t you care about them at all?).

        1. Bravo! I thought I was the only one tired of this shit.

          The first place I noticed people doing it was in LotR with Frodo and Sam. The subtleties and nuance of the bond that forms between men in dire situations seems lost on the crowd that invariably likes to invoke “nuance” when it’s convenient.

          I wonder if their relationship is ‘ground zero’ for this crap, because you’re right, it’s everywhere now. Two (or more) human beings getting along? They must be fucking! Two (or more) human beings not getting along? Sexual tension!

          1. It’s not just the whole guy on guy thing; that gets translated to guy-girl friendships. Like there can NEVER BE ANY PLATONIC FRIENDSHIPS EVAR. It’s impossible for a woman to be anything other than an object of sexual or romantic desire in their world; nooo, the girl can’t ever be the sister or auntie figure that a guy never had; or vice versa! Heaven forbid that there be positive male or female adult figures in a child’s life; there must be sexual interest on the part of the adult!

            I think that’s one of the greatest erosions in interpersonal relationships that the Left has ever performed on humanity… and the greatest disservice. But seen through the lens of a predator mindset, it makes sense, as the weakening of such human emotional and spiritual bonds result in vulnerable people, ripe for the manipulation and brainwashing that the Left prefers.

          2. No, it actually started with Kirk and Spock. The first slash-fic (so named for the line between Kirk/Spock) was written by women about those two characters as a couple. Some of it got published in fan-zines for the time, and it spread from there. At least in the US that is the case to the best of my knowledge. Not sure about the same sort of thing going on in Japan with manga and anime.

            It is pretty bullshit, and it seems to apply to any pair of characters.

        2. Ernie and Bert.

          Oh, that pisses me off so bad. And yeah, it’s essentially an affirmative statement that eros is the ONLY love.

          If you (whoever you are) can’t imagine a profound friendship and loyalty, actual important interpersonal bonds between people without a sex relationship… you’re broken in the head and heart and I’m sad for you.

      4. I was stationed aboard an aircraft carrier out of Alameda in the 80’s. My best friend would ride pillion on my Sportster as we traveled around the Bay area. I often heard comments aimed at the queers on the bike. I think of what my daughter has said of those she doesn’t know that malign her ; “Alas, my field of fucks is barren, therefore I have none to give thee.” Ian should go back to his mommy’s basement and suck down more appletinis.

      5. MTV (remember when MTV was about music videos? Neither do they) recently posted a video where they bashed people who assume two gay guys kissing are kissing because they are gay as (wait for it…) TOXIC MASCULINITY!!!!

        So, assuming straight men showing affection is are secretly gay is good if it’s done by “feminists”, but bad if it’s done by guys observing two ACTUAL gay men.

        *hangs head*

      6. As a fan of various fandoms, this has always driven me nuts. Especially when it was LOTR. Some fandoms, I could never even get into because they’re like 99.9% slash (where in the original show/whatever, the characters are strictly bros/partners). And dang, those slashers can be vicious if you’re not one of them. How dare you be a fan of a character who’s part of a popular (totally non-canon) slash ship but would rather read fanfic that’s not slashing him!

        I really think all of this assumption that any close male-male friendships are gay on some level has really been detrimental to the idea of close male friendships. As a woman, I like reading about “bromances”–but the moment they turn actually gay, I’m out. Heck, even too much “wink wink nudge nudge” humor about it, and I’m out. (Prime example: the BBC’s Sherlock. Like, one joke is fine, but it’s gotten to where I’m wondering if they’re planning on actually shipping them in the show.)

      7. I’m pretty sure the show Supernatural made fun of that tendency in one of the episodes about Prophets.

        1. Dean: There’s “Sam-girls” and “Dean-girls” and…what’s a “slash fan”?
          Sam: As in, “Sam-slash-Dean”…together.
          Dean: Like, together together?
          Sam: Yeah.
          Dean: They do know we’re brothers, right?
          Sam: Doesn’t… seem to matter.
          Dean: Aw, come on. That… that’s just sick.

          1. That’s hilarious. The popularity of that particular slash-incest pairing in the Supernatural fandom is part of what put me off trying to get into the show. But I love that the show is self-aware enough to address it directly like that.

            If you want to see a parody of this kind of thing, look up the song “Brotherly Love” by Gred and Forge.

      8. If any group of men has a homosexual subcontext, does that mean any time a feminist gets mad about it, she’s just acting out on her repressed sexual desire for the men she’s ridiculing?

    2. There’s also the fact that women get that treatment far less than men do. I can walk around arm-in-arm with my female friends and most people won’t think anything of it. Some might, but honestly not many. Usually when I’ve done it, people assume we are sisters. If a pair of men did that, though, my guess is almost everyone would assume they are a couple.

      I wonder if this might have less to do with the assumption that holding arms is a romantic behavior, and more to do with it being regarded as a feminine one. That paired with the association of male homosexuality with femininity would result in men being assumed to be a couple. Of course, you could also point out that gay men do not need to be feminine, and that’s entirely true, but my point is about societal expectations and assumptions, not reality.

      I use the example of holding arms because I think it demonstrates my point clearly, though I recognize that many of you men wouldn’t choose to hold your friend’s arm even if it weren’t regarded as feminine. (Or would you? I’m curious to know what you think.) However, apply it as well to other behaviors. Sitting closely to one another, confiding about personal matters, grooming each other, buying clothes together, etc. There’s lots of things that I think women can do with their same-sex friends without anybody thinking anything of it, but which men could not.

      1. I don’t even hold hands with family members. Unless the moment calls for it, I’m just not very touchy-feely. I don’t think it’s a “masculine” or a “feminine” thing…some people just don’t enjoy being touched except under certain special times.

        1. I agree, not inherently a female thing. I’m a woman, and I get awkward about being touched by pretty much anyone other than my mom, and that’s probably because she’s the person I have the closest relationship with. And aside from her, I very, very rarely initiate any kind of touching, even hugs. (I don’t have any trauma or anything in my past; it’s just how I am.)

        2. That’s kind of my point. I don’t think it’s especially masculine or feminine either, but it sure seems like men who are physically affentionate with their platonic friends are more likely to be misjudged about it than are women in the same circumstances.

  5. I work for a software company and work on my car regularly because I like weird old cars that are maintenance heavy… what’s that make me then?

      1. Larry, are website links/urls allowed in comments? Because I may have found specimens of what Ian thinks of as the right way to be a man.

        There is even video.

        If not, search for a twitter post titled

        “Traditional” Masculinity is DEAD. The secret to male sexual stamina is veggies.

    1. Makes you in the same boat as I am.
      20 years in vehicle maintenance with the Air Force,
      20 years in Information Services (with the BS in Computers I got while in the AF)
      You want a real list of what a real man needs to know how to do?
      See Robert A. Heinlein.
      There’s one or two things on his list I haven’t done yet because I haven’t had the opportunity.

      1. Just to be clear, Heinlein’s points were for any human, male or female. I learned everything on the list and have taught my children, both genders, all of them as well.

    2. Well that makes you… me!

      1. Asian guy, check
      2. Coder, check
      3. Likes working on weird old cars, check

      Hey there, twin brother/doeppelganger!

  6. This reminds me of the articles in mags like “Men’s Health” who tell you (among other BS) what should be in your wardrobe, including the $1000 raincoat. Because “This is what a MAN who counts will have!”

      1. In fairness, having read some of those old magazines (think the men’s fashion section of the old school Playboy) the stuff they recommended tended to be classic-cut-you-could-wear-them-for-decades clothes (as long as you took good care of them.) So they were well worth the expense.

        (And yeah, I think suits and trenchcoats look bloody sexy.)

          1. I’d chalk men not dressing up for dates to peer pressure – that is, guys with low self-esteem being sensitive to mockery by their other (single, natch) buddies, for actually taking some effort to be attractive to their romantic interest. Consequently, don’t think that “date” is gonna be anything more enjoyable than a burger and a poorly chosen movie at the local mall either.

            As a whole, the lack of some general standards for behavior in social events – anything from a date to getting coffee at the shop – usually results in advice being taken from the dumbest and most overbearing people in one’s social circle, rather than the ones with the best experience. It’s the same plague that’s radicalized the left altogether – the whiniest voice is regarded as the most morally right, and therefore – going by the logic of Alexandria Occasionally Coherent and her ilk – is preferred to being factually correct.

            And of course, the fact that men in modern media tend to be limited to a) bumbling buffoons in comedies, or b) idealized beefcakes with severe personal issues, tends to leave a shortage of good examples to follow for even the most basic inspiration. My namesake, Dr. Jones Jr., is among the few relatively recent examples to buck that trend, and even he’s a literal throwback to almost a century ago. Some more modern examples would be greatly appreciated, I think.

  7. You may not be looking for trouble…but trouble is looking for YOU. Blown tires, broken stuff, bad people – sometimes a man just has to step up and deal with it. Especially when time is short and reinforcements are a long way away.

    Or you can be like Ian and break out in tears when he chips a fingernail.

    1. While that’s true, I choose to see the existence of people like Ian (and admittedly, to a lesser extent, myself) as one of the greatest achievements of our civilization. In the old days, if some disaster happened and you couldn’t get out of it yourself, you were dead, plain and simple. If you had weak eyes (like me) or high blood pressure (ditto) or whatever, then you might survive for a while, but eventually you were dead meat.

      Today, I can wear glasses, take blood pressure meds every day, and call the plumber when my faucet breaks… while not only staying alive, but also making a decent living producing software that people actually want to buy. Stuff like this was literally impossible for most of human history. I’m enjoying living in the future.

    2. Or to put it another way, YOU might not be interested in Reality, but Reality is interested in YOU.

      I wonder about people–and more and more of them, specifically progressives, are falling into this category–that don’t apparently understand that they can’t alter reality, no matter how strong the fantasy they hold that tries to substitute for it.

  8. Not to mention that increasingly, electric cars, public transit, and cycling are becoming more attractive options for environmental reasons, and ride-sharing or car-sharing services mean the link between being in a car and being responsible for its functioning is as tenuous as it’s ever been.

    Cards on the table — though many of the MHI fans already know this: I drive a SMART. ( Yah, yah, laugh it up, fuzzballs!) But really, even your most Euro-sensible eco-huggable vehicle needs to be maintained. And the roadside assistance truck isn’t always going to be able to get to you in a timely manner. Do you at least know how to change or rotate the tires? (funny thing: SMART’s front and rear tires are different diameters, so rotation is impossible. Likewise, the SMART doesn’t have a spare onboard. Ask me how I know!)

    But, cars aside, the skills which work for rotating tires, can also help you keep your trendy urbanite bicycle in good repair. Can you fix a flat? Lubricate the chain? Tighten or loosen the brakes? Adjust the gear shifter? The same tool kit you keep and use for minor car fixes, works just as well for both minor and major bike fixes.

    And let us not get started about the true environmental impact of electric cars, given how much mining is required to extract the rare elements necessary to manufacture them. An electric car does exactly one thing for the planet: it allows enviro-hipsters to feel good about themselves. Beyond that? Not much. And I am not saying electric cars are bad. They’re just not “green” the way enviro-hipsters think they’re green. Not that it really matters. It’s The Feels™ which count.

    1. I have a 42 mile trip – one way – just to get groceries. An electric car would only be good for charging my cell phone.

      1. AFAIK the Tesla has a range of about 250 miles (they advertise more, but that’s under ideal conditions). I can’t afford one, but I actually enjoy driving my Prius in the mountains. It handles pretty well, and the whole two-way trip is basically as fuel-efficient as driving on a flat freeway; on the way back, I often arrive at the bottom of the mountains with a fully-charged battery.

        That said, I gotta admit that I’ve started driving slower, after almost hitting a couple of bicyclists and a deer. Toyota needs to manufacture some sort of a periscope so I can see around corners :-/

          1. If you’re discreet you might get away with the bicyclists. It’s when you tie them and their bike on your hood, like a deer, that the trouble begins.

    2. (funny thing: SMART’s front and rear tires are different diameters, so rotation is impossible. Likewise, the SMART doesn’t have a spare onboard. Ask me how I know!)

      You can’t change the tire on your Tesla without voiding the warranty. Tesla requires you to call them anytime you need something like that done, because they’re worried you’ll put the jack in the wrong place and punch a hole in the Li-Ion battery, which don’t respond well to having holes punched in them.

      1. Bah, I did not know that. What are they expecting you to do if you get a flat somewhere on a mountain road, without cell reception ? Pray ?

          1. You jest, but actually all of the really beautiful parts do start north of San Francisco 🙂

        1. Given the limited range, not to mention the unpredictibility of battery life in changing temperatures, anyone who takes a Tesla outside the suburbs is asking for whatever they get.

          Which is how the elites like it. They definitely don’t want you proles having a vehicle that will reach their dachas…..

    3. The coolest eco-friendly cars are the CNG powered Mercedes lines that have been coming our since …2012? 2014? They are even Autobahn capable…without getting the driver killed I mean.

    4. *grin* For a little while, we owned a cute little smart car. Hubby and I loved it – it let us squeeze into tiny little parking spaces and more than once we’d spot a few folks slowing down and pointing at the car then grinning at us with a thumbs up seeing it in a tiny space. Once a family chatted with us as we loaded it up with a whole shopping cart of groceries and stuff; the missus said “It’s like watching magic happen! I didn’t think you could fit it all in there!” Hubby loved how he could get away with the low costs of fuel he ended up with (the car took the most expensive type but ran for nearly a month on a full tank; he said he’d cut the fuel costs in half with it) and was teaching me to drive with it.

      Had to sell it though because I got pregnant and gave birth to a pretty little girl last year and it’s illegal and dangerous to put a baby capsule in those itty little two seaters (because of the airbag). That said, I miss the thing.

      1. Had I the money, I’d happily go for an original Brit Mini-Cooper.
        I’ve actually got a bit of wheel time and wrench time on one, and loved every second of both. Even my 6’2″ of fat yank fits quite well- those things are like a TARDIS, bigger on the inside somehow.

    5. Been thing of getting one for next car (used) S.O. is a shut in and gets car sick if not driving. So 99% if driving is Home-work-RX/Grocery-Home.

      Oddly for SoCal I can do that without going on a free(ha!)way.

    6. My understanding is that beyond the bits directly linked to internal combustion, or unique to the particular make or model, the parts for an electric or hybrid are the same (or very nearly so) as those in IC vehicles. Steering, tires, suspension, a/c – those on the newest model of Tesla may as well have been lifted directly from my old Mercury Sable. Knowing how to flush and bleed a brake line will be a useful skill so long as hydraulic systems are a thing.

  9. Oh poor, delicate Ian. Sweetie, there’s nothing wrong with masculinity. In fact, masculinity is a good thing. Yes, there are toxic behaviors that have been lumped in, but those are bastardizations of masculinity. Toxic behavior is not exclusive to any gender.
    You’ll never be able to break up a fight unless you can take and/or throw a punch. You’ll never talk a violent person out of hitting you unless they perceive actual risk in doing so.
    Having useful skills is good. Denigrating others because you are jealous of their skills is not. This is easy stuff.

    1. I think he wistfully fantasizes that he could run in between two armies like a wise old druid or bard of old and get them to stop.

      That’d require, however, that 1)such groups would have a culture that respected the office and 2) he was respected at all.

      Actually nah. He’s so weak, someone just smiling at him nervously he’d interpret as an attack and go crying about it to anyone and everyone who’d listen.

  10. I used to think I was not quite meeting my full potential by not being into guns and hunting . . . now I know it. Reading this, I have developed a burning desire to rush out, get some artillery, and start plugging away. Probably have to sell all my power tools and the furniture and fixtures I built with them (I’ll take time out from my daily meditation — no, really, I meditate . . . just not precisely on how not to throttle people like Ian — to think about that), but I’m willing . . . right after I fix a slight car problem I’ve got. L.C. is correct — real men AND women do what they do to be themselves within the bounds of civility and virtue. Yes, other people matter, but not when it comes to that.

  11. Yeah, I used to follow askmen for style advice regarding suits when I was in college. I don’t think I’d trust their input on that any more either.

  12. I’ve sometimes wondered what the hell is wrong with the world these days. Now I know. That Ian person is what’s wrong with the world these days.

  13. Not only do I know how to change a tire, I helped another woman (who didn’t) and helpfully explained what I was doing and why so she would be able to do it herself. When I was renting, my landlord and I had a deal where any repairs I did to the rental could be deducted from the monthly rent. (Landlord didn’t have to find someone to fix it, I got it fixed right away not a week later.)

    Then when I saved up and got a house (are you taking notes, Ian?) I saved money by residing the entire damn thing myself (removing the old siding, putting up shingles). I hired a contractor for the stuff I couldn’t do, but saved money there by doing basic wiring, demolition, painting, floor refinishing, etc. myself.

    Oh, and I learned most of that from my Dad 😀 Who would be laughing his ass off at this article, because he was very much in touch with his emotions and mostly it was amusement at the human race.

    1. I was riding in an Uber the other day, and while chatting with the driver, discovered that she didn’t know how to use the low gear. I still can’t tell if she was for real, or if she was trolling me. Is that common ? Do people really not know what the “L” (or “B” or whatever) on their transmission handle is used for ?

      1. I drive a manual transmission, so the only letter on my gear shift is “R”. I’m also one of the only twenty-somethings I know who avoids driving automatic if I don’t have to. Is it okay that I don’t understand how the low gear on an automatic works?

        1. It’s not that different from a manual transmission, really. You know how, when going up a hill, you’ll stay in lower gears longer, maybe topping out in third, if that? That’s what the “low gear” mode does on an automatic. It’s for anywhere where keeping the torque up is a priority.

          1. So it just prevents the car from automatically shifting into the higher gears? I wondered if that’s what it was, but wasn’t sure. It’s good to know that’s a thing in case it ever does come up for me, though I still do prefer the greater control I get when driving a manual.

      1. Well of course. Force parity and all that. And also, it’s one of those skills that makes a guy’s face light up when you tell him you already know how. *chuckle*

        1. tell him you already know how
          Though, ladies, if you want the man to stand behind you and put his arms around you, just flutter your eyelashes and tell him you would love to learn how to shoot. 😉

  14. The most profound comment here was the comment by Larry where he said, “But wait. Let me check to see if I care about some random dipshit’s opinion of my man card… Nope. Still out of fucks to give.

    And that is the essence of real manliness.”

    Manliness is defined by the man himself. I taught my sons how to work so they could look any other person in the eye and tell them to go to hell and mean it. Being a man is knowing who you are and caring what anyone else thinks. I’ve seen life go very bad, and I’ve seen my father, a former cop, a forward observer for artillery fire in Korea, a football coach and a one-time rough-necker put in the worst possible situation a person can be in (the violent death of two of his children). I saw him square his shoulders and do whatever he had to do to take care of his remaining family. He never apologized for who he was or what he did. I never will either.

    1. Reminds me of a story I heard about David Niven, I think, when asked “what does a real man eat” by what was probably a progenitor of the Ian Stobber types for a magazine.

      He replied, “Whatever he damn well pleases.”

      Which sums up the appropriate response to any of these sorts of “advice” pieces.

      1. I think Larry Niven’s comment was related to a book called “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” written by an Ian type back in the 1980s. The version I heard was “Real men eat whatever they damn well please.” Real men can , in fact, eat quiche. Some can even make quiche. Whatever a man’s specific skills, the important thing is to be willing to stand up and do what is needed.

    2. The reality-trulio American Dream. The ability to tell any do-gooder, butinski, gummint weasel, or wannabe aristo to go pound sand.

  15. You stood up on the London Tube? I’m only 6′3″, and I bumped my head on the curved ceiling unless I was really careful, the two weeks I spent there.

    (Also, Londoners dislike it when a fellow with a New York accent says the low roof makes the train feel like a kiddy park ride. I worked that one out myself.)

  16. Well said! I particularly like that you are pointing out that there are many different paths to being a productive member of society.

    I think a lot of Ian’s problem is also fear. He knows there are scary complicated things under the hoods of cars that he doesn’t know how to fix. So his solution is to never open the hood. I’m perfectly comfortable opening the hood (often with the car’s manual in hand) and saying “yup, that’s the oil cap. OK, let’s see how we’re doing…”. I stay away from any of the electronic boxes.

    I can jump a drained battery, change a tire, top off the oil, etc. Nothing fancy, but I’ve used each of those skills to avoid having to call a tow truck. Ian’s kind just calls a tow truck rather than face their fear.

    1. “Ian’s kind just calls a tow truck rather than face their fear.”

      While failing to understand why he’ll never own a home.

  17. There are so many issues with that article. Just to rail on one though:
    5. Being a Leader

    For much of human history, patriarchal societies meant women were expected to stay home and raise children, and men were expected to run everything else. Meaning, while there’s a good chance your mom wasn’t a CEO, your grandmother almost certainly wasn’t

    A. one very good reason women stayed close to home and raised the kids is that sending a pregnant woman, or one who’s recently given birth, out to do the logging, the fishing, or any of the other physically demanding and usually quite dangerous activities that support a society, is just asking for people to get killed for no good reason. So you divide and share the duties to suit the situation.

    B. men tend to be larger and stronger than women, so can handle the more physically demanding jobs.

    C. I’m not young (GenX), and most of the jobs I’ve held in my life I’ve answered to a female. I’m guessing having a female boss isn’t exactly new territory to anyone not at the tail end of long career. Same with coworkers. In fact, the only I’ve ever had that was exclusively male was working in a warehouse. Most of the guys there were former scholarship athletes off the football and wrestling teams. I had to put myself on a diet and exercise program to gain muscle mass just to keep up to the worst of them. Hard physical labor, lots of lifting 40-50 lb cases over your head. Most men couldn’t do that job without considerable effort. I doubt most women wouldn’t even attempt it. The rest of the jobs I’ve had, from food service, lawn care, futon factory, convenience store, library clerk, law enforcement, have all had women in leadership positions.

    Ian can piss up a rope.

    1. I’ve worked at a company with a kind of community-driven grid-management “everyone’s a leader” organization. It was a total nightmare. Nothing ever got done.

    2. Last position of employment I had was as a unix sysadmin. And every time something heavy needed to be picked up, it was “Hey, Ogre?”

      So… yeah.

    3. The last job I had where I didn’t have a female boss was in 1990-1991 (and there were only 14 people working there, a toll booth on a parkway), and shortly after I left, my two bosses from there retired, and one of my female co-workers at that job filled one of the positions.

      The only reason why she hadn’t been promoted earlier is that the two retirees worked until they had their full retirement in, having been there since the place opened in the 70s, and not having a place to be promoted higher, without having to move to the state capitol from the far end of the state.

  18. The “fighting” stuff almost makes sense if he assumes that HE (and therefore his audience as well) is always the aggressor or that a disagreement of opinion necessitates a confrontation to begin with.

    Yes, this ignores evil and predators entirely.

    But it does make sense from the context of a World View where “live and let live” is not actually an acceptable option.

    Use your words, woke folks.

  19. Sigh… Well done as always Larry. I’m glad I’m an old fart and will be gone if these little shits ever take over. I hunt, I fish, I’ve rebuilt cars, I own a home and do most of my own maintenance, BUT I HATE doing tile work… Note to self- Talk to Larry’s wife… 🙂

  20. Leadership isn’t top down authority and control. That’s the opposite of leadership.

    In fact, that’s the feminist weird-perverted fantasy of male leadership which they then try themselves, it works extremely badly, and then they cry about being called a bitch or bossy.

    And I advise no one to take parenting advice from someone who says that a manly skill is apartment decoration so that you can impress your dates when you bring them home.

    1. No lie. All of the stuff he described as good skills to have “in place of” leadership are things that I was taught were PART of leadership. In one of the most macho masculine leadership jobs around — US Army Infantry NCO.

      (Now, you don’t use all the “soft skills” all the time — there’s a time to collaborate, a time to say, “Follow Me!”, and a time to just order, “You, you and you — go there, right damned now.” But, damn, if you don’t have the ability to match folks to tasks by strengths, or foster collaboration between different parts of the organization, you probably ain’t leading shit, you’re just standing in a parking lot barking orders at signposts… that isn’t leadership.)

      1. As a retired Marine senior SNCO, I can only echo my dismay at these ignoramus’s ideas of leadership, particularly the type of leadership that they think men supposedly only exercise or can’t employ. If you can’t employ the techniques you mention, you’re not going to last long in a leadership position.

      2. I was thinking that too. The situation he described as “ideal” sounded to me like exactly the sort of place where they go around in a circle trying to get a consensus from everyone before anything can happen. Which more often than not is just a huge waste of time that accomplishes nothing. He seems to think that the only alternative to that is an uncaring overlord who barks orders and doesn’t offer anything to help the people they are in charge of.

        1. Makes me wonder what kind of crappy bosses the kid’s actually had that he thinks “leadership” is, well, pretty much the opposite of what it actually is. I thought it was bad when the fellow I worked for closed the shop down a week before christmas without telling the employees, on account of his wife finding out his mistress got a nicer car than she did. And I thought bad bosses were the ones that got caught selling drugs through the drive through and tried to blame it on the employees… Ah, little did I know.

  21. As usual, I agree with LC on some things, but not others.

    But firstly, I completely agree with the main point. I play tabletop RPGs, paint little plastic figurines, and design virtual battles in my spare time. If someone thinks this makes me unworthy of respect, then that someone can get bent. Self-respect and a healthy dose of stoicism is a basic requirement for being an adult, male or female.

    I also own a Prius, and yet I know how to change tires (evidently, better than the Toyota dealership jokers) and replace hoses and spark plugs such. I can change the oil too, I just choose not to. I do suck at household repairs, but that’s a personal failing, not a point of pride. What kind of person takes pride in not having skills ? Oh, and BTW, if you think that owning a Prius makes me unmanly: get bent. I’d also buy a Tesla if I could afford one.

    That said, I do somewhat disagree with LC on coding. Computer programming is a basic skill, and everyone should pick up at least a little of it. Not because you will need to use it in daily life — you probably won’t — but because it gives you valuable insight into the functioning of literally all of our technology. It’s the modern equivalent of knowing how to use a screwdriver (which, BTW, you should also learn how to do, I don’t care what your gender is).

    My main point of disagreement is on violence. Yes, our history is full of violence; yes, even today you need to fight to protect yourself and your loved ones. However, the entire history of human civilization is also a meandering path away from violence, and toward other means of conflict resolution. Violence should be your last resort, not your most basic tool. On a personal level, this means that if you meet a guy at the bar, and that guy has really wrong and heretical political opinions, and is loudly disparaging everyone on the opposite side (that’s you !), and has a really punchable face, and you’re totally sure you can take that pussy down… then you still shouldn’t punch him. The alternative is living in a world where everyone punches each other all the time and no one has time to paint little plastic figurines, and who wants to live in that world ?

      1. My boss has some kind of a hybrid truck (I forget the brand… maybe Ford ?), and he loves it, so I think he’s got one over on both of us 🙂

    1. I’m not sure why you think that Larry would disagree with you there. He said as much in the fisking.

      But the problem is tactical and moral. Tactically, if you walk into a confrontation where you are not prepared to take it to the violent level (especially if you indicate that), you’ve just let the other guy know where he can go to win. That increases, not decreases, the chances of violence.

      Morally, if you don’t offer violence because you can’t offer violence, there’s no virtue in that. It’s only virtuous if you actually CAN pound somebody but choose not to. Otherwise, it’s empty posturing.

      I’m re-learning this as I had an attempted break-in (while we were there) a few weeks ago. We were lucky (guy ran off, no real damage or harm), but as I told my kids, if I’d had to kill the guy, that’s the second worst thing that could have happened. You practice for that to prevent the first.

      1. Honestly, I don’t really care about virtue, I care about people’s actions. From my point of view, as an outsider, I just don’t want to see people pounded (other than in self-defence and other extreme situations). I don’t care about the life story and internal monologues about all the people involved; I just want to live in a society where violence isn’t commonplace, so I can spend less time at the barricades and more times painting little figurines.

        1. “I just want to live in a society where violence isn’t commonplace…”

          If you live in the US, then congratulations. You’ve arrived.

    2. Well, that was the false dichotomy, right?

      Or maybe another fantasy vision of “what men do” like the weird perverted description of “leadership” as some weird control freak autocratic top-down dictatorship.

      I’ve always been somewhat impressed by the way that men can sort things out with body language and posturing (another thing that feminists go ape-shit about) because of the way it avoids and limits violence. And if it does come to violence, that is usually limited as well. Possibly because, as Larry mentioned, everyone involved of “skilled” knows how much damage can actually be done.

      Women don’t do that. Be burn the fields and salt them.

      1. Women historically burn the fields and salt them precisely because they are the “weaker” sex. In a way it’s like Ender Wiggin says, they do it so they win all the future fights too.

      2. Women don’t do that. Be burn the fields and salt them.

        There’s a fantasy series I enjoy; one of the female characters, an assassin, gets upset at a male character, thinking that his insisting that she back off is because ‘women are frail and delicate’ and the man retorts that the reason why it’s the man who usually fights is because when a woman gets to the point that she’s pushed to kill, she doesn’t just eliminate the enemy in front of her, but the other ones nearby, and their battle rage burns longer and how they fight is more vicious. (This makes sense, as generally a woman pushed to that point is most often protecting something or someone they care for, which makes them much more terrifying.)

          1. The Black Jewels series.

            I don’t generally recommend it to a lot of people because there’s an epic amount of traumatic events there; (rape is a common one; and sex and age is not a limiter, for example) one of the major villains in the series is a woman who used her children as emotional blackmail.

            I do have fun with it though, one of the reasons being one my favorite characters is Saetan, whose overprotective Dad Instincts are a delight to see. The main female protagonist can do wonderful feats of magic but the simplest things she can’t do. The author’s also got a constant theme of how bad things can get if the balance between sexes gets upset (the female protagonists have very Violently Protective Girlfriend traits; the men are just as bloody if their loved ones are threatened; per my original comment).

            It’s usually referred to as a feminist fantasy but I’m not sure why, since ‘women and men are different but complement each other, and should protect and cherish each other’ is a theme. Come to think of it, practically all the serious bad guys are women.

    3. “Violence should be your last resort, not your most basic tool.”

      No one said it shouldn’t be your last resort. I’m fairly sure Larry covered that.

      *scrolls up*

      Yup, right at the end of section 2. If it’s not one of your basic tools, how are you going to resort to it in need?

      “…then you still shouldn’t punch him.”

      Having a hard time finding where that was what anyone was advocating for. Did I miss it, or are you getting violent with strawmen again?

    4. “Computer programming is a basic skill, and everyone should pick up at least a little of it. Not because you will need to use it in daily life — you probably won’t — but because it gives you valuable insight into the functioning of literally all of our technology. It’s the modern equivalent of knowing how to use a screwdriver…”

      No it isn’t. No they shouldn’t. Not really. And no it’s not.

      1. Sure, you can say “no” four times fast, but that’s not super persuasive. Your phone is a computer. The apps that run on it talk to other computers. Your car has a lot of powerful computers in its entertainment system, but it also has a tiny computer that helps run the engine. Most of your money is stored on computers. Your personal information (financial, medical, etc.) is stored on vast databases on computers. I could keep going like that for a while, but I think you get my drift. Does everyone need to know how to implement virtual memory management from scratch ? No, of course not. Does everyone need to know how computers work, beyound the basic concept of “click here to launch Microsoft Word” ? Absolutely.

        1. I can say “no” with as much authority as your unsubstantiated claims. List as many things as you’d like, but that list doesn’t support your claim. Because your claim is easily refuted by the tens of millions of people who use everything you list without knowing the first thing about “computer programming”.

          Remember when you said that? Not “know how computers work”? Even though that little bit of goalpost shifting still isn’t supported by your claim. Millions of people use apps and programs and check their bank accounts without knowing how computers work.

          So as soon you present something more than “because I said so”, I’ll be happy to say something more than “no”.

          1. Tens of millions of people use faucets without knowing how to fix them, too. Tens of millions of people drive cars without knowing how to change the tires. Tens of millions of people use money without knowing how to balance their checkbook. Yes, you can totally live in our society without knowing how stuff works.

            But if you’re the kind of person who believes that a man should know how to balance a checkbook, change a tire, fix a faucet, and so on; then you should also believe that he should be able to write a simple loop or understand what a “database” is, because it’s the same kind of a basic skill. And yes, it is a requirement for knowing “how computers work”, beyound the allegorical “it’s all ones and zeroes” platitudes. As I said, I’m to claiming that everyone should learn AVR Assembly or anything like that.

            That said, if you deny that a man (well, or anyone really) should strive to learn all of these basic skills, then I would agree that you’re being internally consistent; I still lean toward believing that you’re wrong, but that’s a separate discussion.

        2. What utter garbage. People don’t need to learn coding to learn how a computer works, any more than they need to learn electrical engineering to understand how a light switch works. Knowing how to write code, for the average person, is unnecessary and relatively useless in understanding how a computer works (it skips the whole hardware side of things). If people want to learn code, great. If they don’t, they can use a computer the same way they use a light switch without understanding power ratings and wiring gauges.

          Learning basic terminology for business systems (databases) is not the same as learning the basics of table creation and SQL statements. Even my users (I’m in IT) who regularly use database-based programs don’t know that stuff…that’s why I’m around.

          Take the screwdriver analogy. Learning coding is like learning how to use a lathe to make a screwdriver, not how to use a screwdriver. You don’t need to know how a lathe works to use a screwdriver. You don’t even need to understand how the a screw works in order to use one to fasten two pieces of wood together, and I would argue that understanding the six classic simple machines is more useful (but not necessary) than learning coding.

        3. “Tens of millions of people …”

          I was working on a response to this nonsense when I noticed Kheldar addressed it perfectly. Read his until the flaws in your reasoning sink in.

          The only thing I’d add is that “basic skills” are not things that require entry level academic courses.

        4. Yeah, I’m not going to worry too much about somebody lecturing me how we all need to know more about their area of expertise, unless they know how to pull a calf, raise it, and then butcher it themselves, in order to eat a hamburger. 😀

      2. I don’t know about programming, but I believe it would be helpful for most people to at least understand how to work the background settings of the popular OSes and some of the things that can be done with Run commands in Windows.

        I do hate Powershell, though. It’s not a really personal hate, though, so it’s okay.

    5. Huh? Please point me to the place where Larry said that violence should be anything other than your last resort, because I sure can’t find it.

      1. He didn’t; I was just building upon his post. Larry appears to be saying, “our history is a history of violence, and violence will always be with us, so everyone should know how to use it”. I don’t even disagree with this statement; however, I wanted to point out that the entire history of Western civilization follows the trajectory away from violence. I believe the distinction between “everyone must know how to fight, because humans are violent”, and “everyone must know how to fight, but also how to defuse situations without fighting, so that we can become less violent” is a very important one. It’s the difference between balancing on the edge of the Thunderdome, and living in a cozy house covered with Warhammer figurines.

        1. A.) You really didn’t do a good job in your original comment of making it clear that you weren’t accusing him of expecting violence to be a first resort.

          B.) While I get the semantic distinction between your two statements, I don’t think they are mutually exclusive, and to me Larry’s words clearly express both.

          1. Bugmaster, you are wrong about “…the entire history of Western civilization follows the trajectory away from violence.”
            The only reason the post WWII world is less violent is due to nuclear weapons.
            Up until WWII wars became more total, larger in scope, more violent, more horrific.
            When nukes came along, total wars became untenable, because Mutual Assured Destruction meant neither side would win.
            The human capacity for violence is still there (witness the most recent online lynch mob). It’s just that there’s now an effective deterrent.

        2. For those of you who are new, since Bugmaster is one of our token liberals here, whenever he says “Larry appears to be saying X” what usually comes after is silliness. 🙂

          As an actual student/teacher of Applied Violence Studies, his distinction is utterly meaningless. The more you hone your capacity to do great violence, the better you become at not using it.

          Also, the entire history of western civ isn’t away from violence, but rather that we’ve so greatly honed our capacity to do great violence, that it makes everyone hesitant to fuck with us.

          1. I did correctly predict that Bugmaster would come in defending why he thinks everyone needs to learn coding, so that part didn’t surprise me (even though comparing it to using a screwdriver is more than a little bit ridiculous). However, the part where he completely misunderstood the point of your argument concerning use of violence made my eyes involuntarily roll so far back into my head that I think I saw my brains.

      2. Yep. It’s straw. In fact I specifically talked about how I spent more time teaching avoidance and all the reasons not to shoot someone, but whatever. 😀 (I also didn’t feel the need to write up transcript of an hour’s worth of CCW instruction for this only tangentially related blog post!)

    6. I don’t agree with LC on coding so much as I disagree with Ian about it. Programming is not coding, and it’s not a function of IT, although I’d bet money that Ian thinks it is. I also don’t think that it gives anyone any particular insight on how the Internet works or, well, the functioning of computers for that matter. (I once saw a database administrator insist that you could form an SQL query to select data that was not in the database.)

      I’m saying this as someone who has made good money writing Internet server software before I went back to robotics and embedded systems. Nobody wants anything but HTTPS nowadays, anyway.

      To be honest, if I was going to pick an equivalent 21st century skill analogous to fixing cars or doing home repairs, I wouldn’t pick programming, I would pick system administration. Programming is like building these systems, administration is installing them and fixing them when they break. Only the most enthusiastic enthusiasts will build their own cars, but just about everybody should know how to check their oil and transmission fluid.

      Also, as long as I’m being honest, I think that Ian is dancing around a point, even if he doesn’t quite recognize it. In an interconnected world, and even the International Lord of Hate secure in his fastness relies upon others doing their jobs, more often than not an expert is going to be doing most of the things you need to have done to live your life. As an example, you might be able to hunt for your table, but it works better if you do your job and let others provide most of the food and get it ready to be bought with the money you bring in by doing your job. Specialization might be for ants, but it is far more efficient for people to specialize than for everybody to try to do everything themselves.

      Having said that, I can’t imagine telling someone it’s wrong to gain a skill, even one that’s obsolete. Man does not live by efficiency alone, and a hobby isn’t really a hobby unless someone thinks you’re insane for wanting to do it.

      1. I was thinking something similar about “coding”. Who codes?

        Well, my husband does and has done so as his profession for 30 years. Long enough, in fact, that my mind-space has a place in it that recognizes the difference between machine languages and compilers. What most people do is a level or even two above that. They use applications. They don’t “code”.

        What most people would find useful is very much analogous to working under the hood of your car or changing a tire, which is opening up the physical computer case and adding memory or changing out a broken fan or installing a better graphics card.

        1. For entertainment reasons, I recommend folks here look up ‘LYLE REACTS TO THE VERGE’s PC BUILD VIDEO’ – The guy the Verge hired to do a video on how to build a ‘gaming PC’ has the same self-assured but completely wrong certainty of ‘knowing what they’re doing’ that Ian has about… well, everything.

          I’d link it but I’m not sure if comments allow links any more.

      2. Well said. I do not program or code (that’s what I have oldest son for) but having a minimal knowledge of system administration just makes sense. Fortunately Mrs Tortuga is our sysad as I am not very good at that and the little tortugas run circles around me on the computer.

        1. Speaking as a professional nerd–a server administrator, to be precise–I can also say that getting to joke about causing pain and suffering to users in various ways and enjoying their discomfiture when I can actually say ‘no, you can’t have that’ without being fired can be a fun perk to the job. You don’t want to enjoy it too much or you risk entering BOFH territory, of course…though that also could be fun until they came for you with the torches and pitchforks.

          But then again, I do have guns…hmmmm…note to self: Re-think stance on going from chaotic neutral to lawful evil sometime in the next week…

      3. While specialization is a very handy thing, and makes our civilization very wealthy….

        The point of knowing how to – at least a little bit – do basic tasks is for a measure of self-reliance.

        If you can’t even unplug a basic clogged sink drain, you are totally at the mercy of whomever you call. If you can’t handle yourself (and your loved ones) in a fight, then you’re at the mercy of someone who can, until the policeman (or some other savior) arrives. If you can’t change the oil in your car, then you’re at the mercy of the dealership (heck, you can’t even manage a cost-comparison between the dealership doing it and you buying the stuff at AutoZone).

        Even knowing a little bit gives you a measure of self-reliance. And self-reliance is one of the real measures of being a man. (NOT that you won’t ever need help, but that you’re not at the mercy of others.)

        (As to the arguments about knowing computer skills….
        Most people don’t have ANY real computer skills. Swiping left is not a computer skill. Knowing enough to at least troubleshoot it and narrow down the problem on your own, though, is a valuable skill. Also, know enough to protect your self from the bad electron actors – only people who don’t know the basics are fooled by pop-ups that claim your system is compromised and you should call right now to fix your computer.
        But, coding? Meh.)

    7. Yeah, I’m gonna take some exception to this, because I didn’t say anything even vaguely resembling your last two paragraphs.

      On the coding, sure, understand what it is… But honestly, “coding” (as opposed to basic maintenance) isn’t necessary for most people anymore than they need to know how every part of the internal combustion engine works to drive a car, or they need to know how to raise and butcher a cow to eat a hamburger. You can know how to use a gun without being a gunsmith. You can ride in an airplane without needing to explain the Bernoulli Principle. So on and so forth.

      There’s a basic knowledge of principles, and you are conflating that with an actual knowledge of using those principles. Totally unnecessary. Useful, if you want to learn them, but that’s up to the individual and how much they care.

      Knowing how to fix a leaky faucet doesn’t mean that you need to understand everything about plumbing. And changing a light bulb doesn’t require you to understand everything about electricity.

      Basically there is nothing special about “Coding” other than it is your pet skill. Yes, it is a vital part of our technology now. But if you want to back your argument up to show how silly it is, you should have to learn how to do wiring and electrical work (can’t really code without electricity) BUT WAIT you should also have to learn how to generate power… And if you want to go back even further, you should know how to dig coal.

      Because in fact, if you break down everything in our complicated world, it is impossible for anyone to know how to do everything. A basic knowledge of what’s going on is great. Actually knowing how to do that thing? Unneeded by most who don’t do it. So your point is absurd, and the only thing unique about coding is that it is something that you personally do.

      Your next bit about violence is simply absurd for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost because I very specifically said that it is a last resort, and that professionally I spent more time teaching people how to avoid than I did hurt.

      Also, our path hasn’t gone very far from violence at all. On the contrary, we’ve refined our abilities to the point that we are now far more dangerous, and because of that, more people AVOID it. Because the greatest deterrence to violence is the ability to give violence back. Without that, your “other means of conflict resolution” are often bullshit… And also, other methods existed throughout all of human history too, so your entire statement is a complete misnomer, and borderline childish restatement of human history and human nature, all to try and chide me about a point I never made.

      The rest of that paragraph was some finger shaking scolding against a straw man.

  22. I laughed when I read this article, because on bullets one through four, I had both skills mentioned, and on five through seven, I had neither. Heh.

  23. “You buy a neatly wrapped package of meat from your Upper East Side deli”

    Pffft. There’s no way this guy, if in NYC, lives outside one of Brooklyn’s hipster ghettos.

  24. According to this guy, the skills essential for the production and maintenance of the following are obsolete and/or should be in the hands of others:

    1: Food
    2: Security
    3: Transportation
    4: Shelter
    5: Leadership
    6: Discipline
    7: Self-Control

    I think he’ll find plenty of people who’d love to take him up on his offer to have his food, shelter and security controlled by them.

  25. The interesting thing is that virtually all of his essential skills require REAL MEN who possess the “obsolete” skills to enable them. Thus he subordinates himself to real men.

    1. So isn’t even a beta male, but a gamma, and whines about how those feminist women don’t look at him when he’s become ‘everything they said they wanted in a man.’

      His ‘advice’ serves to 1) sabotage the competition and 2) the part about parenting makes me wonder about what he preys on.

  26. The evil mechanic/boxer at his worst – How do we handle him again? That’s right, by community-organizing all of the flower-fairies into a circle around him and singing “Kumbaya”.

    “Physical fighting literally doesn’t solve anything”. Being ready for it just opens up a lot of options.

    Ian driving a Prius or a Leaf – Speaking as a man who:
    1. Bought a Prius because I’m fond of only filling it up once in a blue moon;
    2. Doesn’t care much about how much its emissions don’t hurt the environment; and
    3. Wouldn’t mind being a hipster;
    I think that if the Prius breaks down and/or needs its oil changed, I want that work done by someone who’s good at it. And if fixing its “basic functionality” is out of the “fixing range of even the handiest of men”, then nobody can fix it, and someone at Toyota needs to do his/her job differently. (Oh, and I think I can change its tires if/when the need arises. It just hasn’t yet.)

    Public transport occasionally breaks down, and that needs to be repaired by a mechanic, too.

    Decorating instead of repairing – is there no such thing as overlap? Painting is useful in both areas.

    “Consider going into therapy”. Yes, Ian, by all means do that. Your therapist will probably tell you to grow up and learn how to be an adult.

    1. Speaking as a happy Prius owner: firstly, make sure you get a full-sized spare for your Prius; I had to browbeat Toyota into giving me one. Secondly, make sure to perform basic maintenance yourself — checking the oil, filling the tires, checking tire wear, filling up all the fluids, etc. I have two Toyota dealerships within reach of my house, and both of them either don’t know how to do any of these things, or they don’t care.

  27. His misguided concept of leadership blows my freaking mind. Clearly no one has taught him that leadership is about helping people. Sometimes that help is in the form of getting them out of their own way but telling them exactly what to do, when and how to do it, and where to do it at. It usually isn’t though. Usually it’s about coming along side people and saying, “You know this but goal we all have? Here’s how you can best contribute to that and here’s some information you didn’t have before because you’re here doing the things that need to be done. You’re doing a great job. Keep it up.”

    It worked for me in the Army and it works for me in network security.

    On the other hand, lots of organizations are moving toward smaller, flatter, more collaborative work places. Those other should he mentions are super valuable to employees.

    Mostly because they help them prepare for leadership where they have to do the exact same things. So in the end I guess this guy is still wrong.

    Lastly, these aren’t “man” skills. These are “adult” skills. I used to say, “Act like a man” a lot until I realized that most of the time I wanted people to do have nothing to do with being a man and everything to do with being a responsible adult that doesn’t blame other people for their own problems. I told my soldiers all the time, “Be an adult.” I still say it. Being responsible for your own food, physical security, freedom of movement, etc, is just good practice no matter what year it is.

    1. Yup. Basic skills come from the whole responsibility angle. If you are meeting your responsibilities, basic stuff is covered.

  28. Ian lost me at “What that means is,” the favorite phrase of liberalsplainers who need to ram their point home due to their own inability to understand subtle speech.

    As for men being men? I am a single woman living alone in a fairly isolated, rural community. Every day, I bemoan the fact that I don’t have a man around to help me deal with manly tasks, like chopping wood (yes, I still burn wood for heat). I’m 5’2″ tall in boots. The axe is bigger than I am and those rounds of wood that have to be chopped are too heavy for me to lift.

    So yes, if I’m going to date someone, he’d better by golly know how to chop the dadgum wood.

    1. Chopping wood is actually sort of relaxing. It’s not hard. It’s pretty routine. You can let your mind wander a bit and think on some problem that’s vexed you, or compile lists of things to do later, or even daydream a bit.

      I miss my woodstove.

  29. Things that were solved by violence*:

    Chris Dorner
    Jeffery Dahmer
    British Tyranny

    *Obvious to anyone who isn’t Miss Ian Stabber, this list is not comprehensive.

  30. “Give one a try and see if it doesn’t come more in handy than learning to replace the alternator.”

    The number of times I’ve needed to replace an alternator in my life is not divisible by the number of times I’ve needed to code.

    I didn’t learn how to replace an alternator because it was the “manly” thing to do. I did it because I wanted to save some fucking money.

    1. Auto repair isn’t really rocket science either. Stuff is usually bolted on, and can be unbolted for replacement. The complicated thing is that it’s either behind something else, filled with some sort of fluid, or both- but that’s hardly new to modern cars.
      Even the fancy electronic stuff usually just tells you where the thing is that needs to be unbolted and replaced.
      Like with cooking, a few simple tools plus a bit of basic knowledge can save people a whole crap ton of money where a vehicle is involved.

      1. …a few simple tools plus a bit of basic knowledge can save people a whole crap ton of money where a vehicle is involved.”

        Same with home improvement. Basic carpentry, plumbing, and wiring ain’t rocket science either, and the money you save is multiplied by the increase in home value. I don’t begrudge anyone calling a professional for any of that, and they shouldn’t begrudge me doing it myself.

      2. The “charging port” (what used to be known as the cigarette lighter) shorted out in my SUV. I bought a $5 pack of fuses and downloaded the manual and spent a half hour figuring out which one to replace. I don’t even want to think about how much that would have cost to get fixed at a garage.

        The air conditioner had also stopped putting out really cold air and the compressor was continuously running. A two minute conversion with my boss, who is a real gearhead, a trip to the auto parts shop, and I had recharged the air conditioner, and it’s fine. A ton more money saved.

        Seriously, a lot of this stuff is not that hard.

        1. A dollar for the ten cent fuse and 120 bucks an hour for the mechanic to download the manual and spend a half hour figuring out which one to replace.

    2. Exactly. I learned to change the brake pads on my car for exactly the same reason I learned to use a thread and needle so I could sew up the holes in my socks. I was poor and needed to save money. Now I can afford to pay someone to fix my car, but I still sew my socks because, why throw out perfectly good socks just because of a little hole? My dad taught me to shoot, gut and clean rabbits and fish, and encouraged me to become a musician. He was a war hero (Silver Star) who wasn’t afraid to apologize to his children when he screwed up. Who said these things were mutually exclusive? Poor Ian doesn’t have a clue.

    1. My understanding is that calling a male a Gillette is becoming a popular insult. Ian comes across as a Gillette.

      I can’t do everything he says not to do, and some of those things he says not to do I can’t do as well or adeptly as might be needed, but I daresay I could learn what I needed to quickly enough to make up for the current lack of knowledge or competency and that I would be willing to do so as needed.

      Ian, I think, not so much. Ian, I think, thus becomes food, albeit probably not very tasty food.

  31. I read this entire article with the voice of the Cinema Sins guy standing in for Larry. If you don’t know what that is, go to youtube and search “Everything Wrong With [insert movie name here]” . Side note, Larry would be great a cinema sins.

    1. If Larry did Cinema Sins, he’d actually make it good instead of lying about the movie in order to pad out the review.

    2. I like Cinema Sins. You might also want to try MauLer (I think that’s how he spells it) for entertaining and in-depth critiques. His runs on the late-model Star Wars attempts, albeit long, are pretty fun to run through if you have time for it.

  32. “Cars are incredibly complicated and compurized…Learn how to program instead!”

    Megasquirt would like a word with you…

  33. I reckon this is a weird tangent, but every time I see an article about “traditional” manly skills, qualities etc. going away, I find myself thinking about guys like Worf on Star Trek: TNG. Y’know, the stoic, fierce warrior honestly concerned with the safety of the crew in a galaxy where every other species is trying to rip them a new one… and nine times out of ten, he got shouted down by the rest of the bridge crew (really, look up “Worf gets denied” sometime), in favor of decisions that sounded exactly like something Ian here would recommend… and got a bunch of people killed almost every time.

    There’s the exact same praise for non-violence – as in, not even preparing for a violent situation that might ensue (and it always did on the show), a collectivist mentality that mostly involves bobble-heading the cool kids rather than actual teamwork, and an overall disdain for discipline and pragmatism, because… well, because when you’re doing a sci-fi show with a bunch of soap opera primadonnas and the occasional Shakespearean thespian, that’s the result you’re gonna get. All while the franchise has its own term for characters pointlessly dying due to poor management.

    Back in the real world, I reckon Ian here is of precisely the same mindset, focusing on things that look good, or feel good – literally advising on being “the coolest guy” – rather than actually *working*. You don’t learn car mechanics to brag about it over a soy latte; you learn so you can breathe at least a spark life into your grandpa’s old clunker when it dies on you 50 miles away from any sign of civilization. And while I’m pretty sure that this sort of skill-set will be supplemented by learning to jail-break your shiny new iCar’s operating system, the reasoning will still be the same – it’s not so much “nice”, as it is *necessary*. Never mind how programmers are now also getting hit with the toxic masculinity line.

    All in all, the slaughterhouse mention is the perfect example – guys like Ian believe that so long as they don’t need to do something, nobody needs to do it; the world outside their ivory tower doesn’t exist, and all that matters is looking good to the rest of the self-righteously smug blowhards in their little clique.

  34. One of the biggest killers of Homo Sapiens in the last century was their own governments.
    Governments love guys like Ian. He just makes it all too easy. When they send a couple of guys to put him on the truck to the camp, off he goes.
    We have plenty like him…. but fewer than people like Ian might expect. He doesn’t know what a micro-minority he’s put himself in.
    Ignore him. Or point and laugh. He’s one of evolution’s dead ends. He’s year in your beer. Pffft.

  35. This article is trying to unteach me everything I’ve learned:

    Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.
    Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.

    If I read Ian right, he’s telling me that nobody fishes anymore. I should be accepting free fish and learning how to decorate?

    1. Purty much, yeah.

      And I’m rather skeptical about his decorating skills as well, given his apparent understanding of how coding works. It’s one thing to know basic IT, at least enough to get a brand new computer, phone or tablet working the way you want it to. But unless you’re going for a career in IT, coding itself is just not a skill you’re likely to need for a practical purpose… unless, like I’ve noted above, your purpose is to brag to your posh pals about how your 1337 h4x0r skillz.

      And again, it’s another field that’s been given the toxic masculinity tag, chiefly because technology is yet another aspect of modern life that doesn’t really care about your feelings, and tends to attract people with the same attitude, men and women alike.

      1. Shouldn’t his advised skill be, rather than coding, computer repair? I know basic HTML and it does me fine, but what really makes a difference in my life is having a decent grasp of how to replace and upgrade the parts in my PC, or how to troubleshoot software problems so that even if I do end up outsourcing the fix, I still know enough of what’s going on to effectively explain it to the expert.

        1. Computer repair is a perfectly fine skill to have, and it definitely saves a ton of time and money in the long run. Thing is, the gist of Ian’s recommendations isn’t that they’re fine skills to have, but that they’re trendy activities to brag about and impress your social circle… I reckon he included coding because he knows as much about it as he does about car mechanics.

          1. Goof point. If his goal is bragging to his silly urbanite friends, I guess my advice for him is to get better friends. He probably ain’t looking for my advice, though.

    2. I’ve always preferred, “Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for an evening. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.” But maybe that’s just me…

  36. While I do not hunt, I have NO issue with those who do. I see it as a three-way win. Or at least 2-point-something way win.

    1. The hunter gets venison (or whatever)
    2. I do not end up crashing my car into the venison (or whatever)
    3. The venison (or whatever) has as quick and clean demise as the hunter can manage, which beats starvation, etc.

    1. How about:

      4. The venison (or whatever) doesn’t become overpopulated due to the lack of natural predators in its environment, therefore averting a major crisis in the local ecosystem.

      I’m not a hunter either, but to me, as long as the hunting is done in a way that does not cause undue suffering on the part of the prey animal, I’m totally fine with it. And every hunter I’ve ever talked to about it says basically that.

      1. Even if you don’t care a lick about the animal suffering, who wants to chase a wounded deer all over heck and gone?

        Though Truth… my dad made a point of being very careful to drop deer where they stood with a shot to the heart because he’s a complete softy. Mom accused him of not wanting to be fed organ meat, which is also true, but it’s not why he did it.

  37. I found this article linked on twitter by a friend. And I am so happy and grateful! It is so great to see someone using actual, intelligent arguments to counter this insipid bullshit!

  38. W00t! I went 7/7 on everything that Ian said to not do!

    Now I can’t wait for Ian to write an article telling the world the things you have to do in order to be a real writer. So I can do the exact opposite!

  39. “Physical fighting literally doesn’t solve anything — it just leaves people angry and bruised, or worse.”

    Pretty sure Lt. Col DuBois (Juan Rico’s high school “History and Moral Philosophy” instructor) nailed the response on this one.

  40. Funny, I read this fisking right before leaving the office to find a completely flat tire on a cold wet night. Good thing I could use my iPhone to whip up some code to change the tire for me. Otherwise, I might have had to get my hands dirty doing one of them obsolete masculine tasks.

  41. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts that Ian doesn’t actually know how to code. In my experience, 90% of the people who use that phrase don’t have the first clue about programming in any language, or about how useful a skill it actually is, because they wouldn’t be handing it out as general life advice if they did.

    The reason being that, like most skills, society only has room for a small percentage of people who engage in programming, even surface-level database management stuff. It’s nice to know, but it’s far more generally valuable to be able to use existing programs like Excel than it is to understand C-family or Ruby or even SQL and Lua.

  42. “you think doing crosswords makes you a “geek”, bitch please, get back to me after you’re the guest of honor at a science fiction convention”

    I haven’t even read the rest of the fisking. That line made my day!

  43. }}} Repair isn’t a manly skill as much as it’s a basic human skill, just far more men tend to do it for a living so they’ve got the knowledge.

    Probably correct, but even there, as with car mechanics, it is both dirty and generally it helps A LOT to be able to do the heavy lifting yourself. Women like having clean nails and probably tend to be more fastidious than men, likely for a number of pre-civ reasons ingrained into their mentality as well as social cues (I recall an advert for something that had a mother and daughter talking about something and it used a “magic word” like “slime” and the screen daughter goes “EWWWW!!!” making it clear to young girls how to respond to “gunk”, regardless of their own natural bent…

  44. “digital devices, some of the basic functionality in your car is now completely out of the fixing range of even the handiest of men.”

    The funniest thing in this article, because it is precisely the opposite of true. More and more, cars will not only tell you exactly what’s wrong, but you can find videos on the Internet telling you how to fix about anything, with forums full of helpful people.

    Been a coder since ’99, and I replaced a MAF sensor a while back, would not have attempted in the pre-Google age. Worked in an engine shop in college in the mid-90s, all the diagrams were on microfiche and you had to keep a library of everything you worked on just to even find part #s. So much easier now. I even tackled replacing a foreign-made faucet last year to save a few hundred bucks — again, would not have attempted without the online video. And I’m not even particularly handy, I manage to put anything possible backwards and generally find this sort of thing so infuriating I let my wife (also a coder since the 90s) do most assemble-this-at-home work.

  45. Note to Ian: please don’t try to learn to code. Coding requires that you understand the concept of something called “logic”, and the process involves someone writing statements in a logical sequence to actually do something useful. Based on this article, if you try to code I’m afraid you’re just going to hurt yourself . At a minimum, wear headphones in case your little pea brain shoots right out of your ear; I’d hate for you to put someone else’s eye out when that happens.

  46. Jesus, Mary and Joseph on a popsicle stick! That is the stupidist thing I read today. Cooking well has been a manly skill for a looong time. My father was a chef of the old school French style, and I’ve been making ladies swoon with my kitchen skills since the 80’s.
    Speaking as a homeowner, fixing shit with power tools is ALWAYS usefull, and way cheaper. And millenials can’t buy a house? Fucking move out of the city, idiot, why do you think suburbs exist? It’s not to move away from minorities (yeah, I’ve actually seen this claimed) it’s because you can afford the price. I could go on, but i hate to type a bunch on a phone.

  47. Complain when white people move to the suburbs because “white flight”; complain when they move to the city because “gentrification”.

    Completely ignore everywhere rural. Unless you can twist it to make everyone there seem backwards and ignorant, in which case go right on ahead.

  48. Anyone who clings to the historically untrue–and thoroughly immoral– doctrine that ‘violence never solves anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The Ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more disputes in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.

    -Robert Heinlein

    1. Maybe just introduce him to the Shaolin Temple, where most of what these IDIOTS call “meditation” was invented.

      Tell a Shaolin monk that ‘violence never solves anything’ and see what he says. After he finishes laughing.

    2. Well planned and executed violence solves a buttload of problems. It fails when you some shitkicker like that !@#$% LBJ who decides to halfass everything and give up before any actual results, and not a whiny report from that original fake news, rat bastard Walter Cronkite.

    3. My dad used to say, “Four days at Gettysburg did more to end slavery than a century’s worth of Socratic dialogue.”

  49. I’ve been seeing clones of this article for a couple of years now. Basically they enumerate all the super awesome and cool things hipsters like, and how that’s the New World and y’all can forget about unpleasant things like… plumbing.

    I love it that this dickweed thinks auto mechanics is for knuckle draggers. More than half of troubleshooting a car in 2019 is software. And not the “build your own website” kind, we’re talking the hardware-interface kind where knowing what voltage the mass-air sensor puts out is where you -start-.

    You called it exactly right, Larry. Elite snobbery of the worst possible sort. May their Teslas freeze overnight. Good luck fixing that door lock, software boi.

  50. As far as Ian’s bitching about men having to be stoic, that doesn’t mean they can’t also be in touch with their feelings. HOWEVER, no women are going to find you attractive if you start crying in public at the drop of a hat. It’s really attractive to have a man willing to entrust his feelings in private with you and not with the rest of the world. If he’s telling his sob-story to everybody, he just comes off as a whiny bitch.

  51. “One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure—and in some cases I have—that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.” – Jeff Cooper

  52. “Fuck your feelings, Ian.”

    So much the high point.

    I’m gonna go shooting and have some moose for Dinner.

    Thank you for yet another wonderful fisking oh International Lord of Hate!

  53. By the way, are Londoners really outright astounded to see a man offering his seat for a woman? Has the Kingdom gone *that bad*? I mean, here in the Balkans, etiquette has gone a bit belly up ever since the nineties, but it still hasn’t come as far as basic politeness causing heads to turn.

    I kinda wonder if Ian’s projections haven’t afflicted most of the urban millennials altogether. Meaning, that their complaints about things like “manspreading” and “toxic masculinity” actually stem from their own limited social circle’s complete lack of manners, or even the very *concept* of what manners are. All while they rush to apply labels like “microagression” or “mansplaining” to anything they dislike, any speech they disagree with.

    (Though my personal favorite has got to be “dogwhistle” – which officially means the supposed code words spoken in public by high-ranking politicians, as messages to their evil extremist supporters… so when you hear the term used for something said in a plain conversation, you know the dumbass who uses it is really just looking for any excuse to willfully misinterpret anything he hears.)

    All in all, I fully expect “Ian” – or whatever pretentious hack uses that pseudonym next – to soon offer more pearls of wisdom as to why offering your seat to a lady is the sign of an antiquated caveman mentality, and instead, the “real” modern act of valor is to proudly wear your designer-label pussyhat, while loudly proclaiming how much of an ally you are to women.

    1. Yep. I’ve told the story before, but multiple times when I gave up my seat on a train to a boarding woman in England, it shocked them. People don’t do that there anymore. And it was explained to me by a British friend that the biggest reason they don’t is that they don’t want to get yelled at by feminists for treating women as weak.

      So I played the big dumb loud American, GLEEFULLY. 😀 And I had a bunch of women remark to my wife about how remarkable that was (which is sad), and then I’d go all Yee Haw, That’s Just How We Do It Where I’m From, Ma’am.

      ‘Cause America.

  54. I love your fisking, but that article is so garbage I couldn’t even finish.

    What a load of garbage. I’d say cry me a river, but I think I figured out the real cause of rising oceans, so will refrain from encouraging him.

  55. Larry, this post made me want to go back and re-read one of your classic fiskings, the HuffPost one, but the link is broken on your site. The last two fisks seem to be unavailable. Can this be fixed?

  56. Larry, I’ll be honest, there’s little chance of me reading their crap. I stopped reading Ian about halfway through and just skimmed to the bold bits.

    It’s thanks to people like Ian that I feel like the Doctors Jones walking into Berlin every time I walk on to campus. Seldom do you ever find a setting more radically intolerant of differences of opinion or culture than a college campus. It’s thanks to their nonstop barrage that I generally don’t talk to people.

    And I’m not even in the liberal arts college, I’m in Engineering.

  57. This therapist I’m supposed to see, is this the same one that keeps bleating on about how “toxic” my masculinity is and how I should be ashamed of myself for being male?


    This article ties in to an observation I made many years ago…a large number of city dwellers would simply die if actually expected to be able to sustain themselves. They are so dependent upon everyone else for…well…everything…that a great many of them have no earthly idea how to perform even the most basic tasks that could sustain them if needed.

    I once rented a room for a few months when I had a temporary job outside of Washington DC. When I rented the room, the door had a broken doorknob. I mentioned that and the owner mumbled something about hiring someone to get it fixed.

    The day I moved in, I brought with me a doorknob from Lowes and changed it in a few minutes. He was astounded. He had no idea this was something that an actual human being without years of building maintenance experience could handle.

    Granted, that’s an extreme case, but the concept is common to different extremes throughout urban life.

    I, like Larry, grew up on a farm. Then I spent 21 years in the military and spent most of my adult life (when not deployed) living in cities. I’ve lived both worlds and, in my humble opinion, urbanites like this only try to downplay the importance of the traditional masculine traits as a defense mechanism…a rationalization of why they don’t exhibit any of them.

    “If I can’t fix my car and effectively defend myself then those must not be necessary skills any more right?”

    1. *dry* We rather wish that we could fix the problems in the house we are renting, if we were allowed to. (In fairness, it’s military housing rental, so we have to abide by the rules set.) That said, even if I’ve never done it before, I’d probably have been able to do a similar job; don’t the doorknobs have ‘how to install’ instruction slips (usually discarded and ignored)?

      Toxic masculinity my arse, I’m female. The whole thing is an excuse to hide the fact that they’re completely hopeless and incompetent at taking care of themselves.

      1. Pretty much. For that matter, I’ll bet dollars to rubles that Ian here is precisely the kind of guy who discards and ignores instruction manuals, so as to maintain his fragile self-image of being smartier than thou.

        To that effect, apart from coding – which plenty of people here covered already – all his recommendations are the kind of show-off activities where the results are matter of subjective opinion and can always be leveraged against any criticism. “See, it’s not *my* souffle that’s soggy and undercooked, it’s *you* who just can’t appreciate my personal recipe.” “It’s not *my* part of the project that’s unfinished (because I spent all night binge-watching The Handmaid’s Tale), it’s everyone else’s fault for rushing me”.

        And yeah, like I mentioned in my weird Star Trek tangent, those are the kinds of people who are just as bad at teamwork as they are on their own – since to them, collaboration simply means endlessly deliberating on what they want to do, then hoping to find a couple of patsies to actually do it, and finally blaming all design errors on them. Now that’s an attitude far more toxic than anything having to do with masculinity.

  58. The hyper urban renteir-serf’s world that Ian describes is like a window into my personal version of Hell.

    Never owning a car. Never owning a house. (Always being a tenant living on some landlord’s sufferance!) Lacking freedom to travel, lacking a tiny corner of space to call your own, lacking the tools and space to accomplish any real work. (Lacking the right to defend yourself from random violence…) I’ve already lived versions of this, when I lived in a shitty megacity, and worked in various undead bureaucracies.

    One evening I read about Calhoun’s rat experiments and understood exactly what was wrong with his suicidal rats. No doubt there is a German word somewhere for this state of being.

    One thing that helped me keep a grip on sanity was the week or three I escaped my open-plan desk into the campus machine shop, hung out with some toxically masculine men, and learned everything I could absorb about manual metalworking. (Well, as much as you can pick up in 3 weeks without obstructing their work.)

    I’d like to be better at the traditionally manly things. (Haven’t had a *lot* of opportunity, but I take the ones that come along.) I’d like to be better at *everything*, really, though time is always a constraint. As long as there are skills to learn, and people who are better at them than you, you can learn from them. (People are absurdly generous and friendly when you are interested in what they do.)

  59. Hmmm. I hunt, I fish, I drive a truck, have a safe full of firearms, have owned three houses which I bought and rehabbed myself, but lost them all in divorce/bankruptcy, I’m paying $600/mo in child support, and I don’t give one flying f#@k what some nancy like Ian thinks about the course I chart for myself.

    Does that make me toxically masculine? ‘Cause I’ve got God-given buxom boobs, a bouncy booty, long brunette hair ( Well, oKAY, brunette and grey… ) and all that goes with it.

    Ian, your logic is faulty.

  60. Oh. My.

    Where to start?

    “Instead, Learn How to Collaborate”

    My WWII era parents thought poorly of collaborators. OTOH, if it’s your life’s ambition to decorate a lamppost….

    “Learn how to talk about your feelings.”

    I have. My Lady had a nervous breakdown in the 1990’s, and if your mate is in the hospital because of suicidal ideation you need therapy yourself. Trust me on this. That said….

    I have lived my adult life listening to drivel about “Men don’t talk about their feelings.” Well, guess what? There’s a reason for that. Little girls are socially and biologically programmed to talk about their feelings with their peers. So they start early and get over the “Are people going to tell me I’m feeling the wrong things” phase early (unless somebody royally screw them up, always a possibility). But when one is beginning to talk about feeling, one talks about them in the abstract or at a little distance. Little girls get through that. Little boys are told that these early trial balloons, usually about sports teams or other heroes, are wrong. Because little boys talk about their feelings of adventure, or power, or other little boy things. And since the feminazis have taught just about everybody that this is “macho bulls*t”, the little boys are told they are feeling the wrong things and they conclude that it is unwise to talk about their feelings.

    See, ladies, if you want to hear about your man’s feelings, you better goddamned be prepared to listen to the feeling he actually HAS as opposed to the ones you WANT him to have.

    Ian, having long ago learned to suppress his feelings to the point that he could pretend that the feelings modern Feminist Women want him to have are the real thing, is a pressure-cooker of suppressed emotions he dare not express to anybody who might tell on him. Doubtless he will eventually explode into a full-blown serial killer.

    1. “See, ladies, if you want to hear about your man’s feelings, you better goddamned be prepared to listen to the feeling he actually HAS as opposed to the ones you WANT him to have.”

      Ain’t that the truth. It’s kinda like how it’s rather difficult to talk about, say – your concerns about starting a new business or developing your career, or getting your kids to a good school where they’d have a better chance in their life – with someone quick to pass judgment for you even *having* such concerns in the first place. (“You’re in the tech industry? Don’t you care about the environment?” or “You’re such a workaholic, you should be more free-spirited like me… when my welfare checks don’t bounce.”) And never mind loftier subjects like science, society, life, the Universe… everything, really.

      Simply put, feelings usually revolve around *values*, and you can’t expect to get someone to open up, when you’ll only drown them in unsubstantiated criticism for it. I’ll bet ya dollars to rubles that if our host decided to share his feelings of joy from painting miniatures, he’d be derided for being too nerdy, and told he should think about the real important issues, like… er, whatever the mainstream media is on about at the moment. I hear wearing a hat while smiling is the currently fashionable transgression of the week.

    2. “Ian, having long ago learned to suppress his feelings to the point that he could pretend that the feelings modern Feminist Women want him to have are the real thing, is a pressure-cooker of suppressed emotions he dare not express to anybody who might tell on him. Doubtless he will eventually explode into a full-blown serial killer.”

      Maybe not quite serial killer, but sexual abuser/assaulter, wannabe rapist…you know, all the shitheel men on the Left that make up the vast majority of scalps the #MeToo movement has been collecting.

      Then again, like a few other commenters, I’m of the opinion that Ian is actually a woman.

  61. I think it’s pretty obvious that Ian couldn’t pour piss out of a boot if the directions on how to do it was written across the heel. I would bet my next pension check that he has his hair in a man-bun as I type this. What a pathetic excuse for a man.

  62. Ian is the reason the NPC meme is a thing.

    Halfway through, and I could just skip what he said, read your response and know EXACTLY what point he was trying to make. It’s like they’re using a script.

  63. So obviously there’s a lot going on here, and I’m not going to share all the thoughts I had, but …

    When he says “men are traditionally expected to do X, but they should get better at being more like women by being better at Y” (or something that sounds a lot like that), he’s stereotyping women as much as he is men.

    Cases in point:

    1. Interior design. I’m a woman. I’ve never given a crap about interior design. My interior design is basically A) fit all my furniture in the most efficient and useful way I can to serve the purposes I need served, even if that means getting rid of stuff or buying new stuff, and then B) plastering every surface I reasonably can with images referencing things I like–meaning movie posters, maps of Middle-earth, pillows/rugs/shower curtains with fan art/cover art on them, etc. I doubt I would match very well with what this fellow considers a woman’s innate interior decorating skills.

    2. Cooperative group work in the office. Nope nope nope. Give me a task and leave me alone to get it done my way, without having to feels-coddle a bunch of other people and waste energy and time validating their bad ideas while trying to explain nicely why my idea is better. Wow, I sure sounded like a man there, didn’t I? Nope. I sounded like an introverted thinking type. This kind of preference/attitude is entirely gender-neutral (as is a preference for cooperation and feeling-coddling).

    Seriously, I hate it when liberals tell me I’m being a woman wrong. Or worse, that not fitting into the narrow definitions of ‘woman’ that society allows makes me something other than a woman. (In reading the questionnaire for my health insurance recently, I seriously thought about ticking the ‘gender nonconforming’ box when it asked for gender, after looking up the definition for that online, but I didn’t want to risk anyone thinking I meant it seriously.)

    1. I completely agree with you. This transgender crap makes me so angry on behalf of the little girls who, like I did, are struggling with their interests (for me, it was sci-fi, epic fantasy, and Legos. Guess what – I’m an engineer) and personality traits not fitting into the Stereotypical Woman block. I’m so glad they weren’t around when I was young, because they might have gotten me. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I really started to feel comfortable with my femininity. I hate to think about the girls who are hearing that they need to become boys instead of being reassured that they are not, in fact, Doing “Woman” Wrong.

      1. Yes, exactly! No wonder there are so many people identifying as something other than what they biologically are. Society is telling them that the stereotypes are true and if they don’t fit the stereotype, they’re something other than what they are.

        Though people on the conservative side can be kind of like this in their own ways, too. Only for them, it tends to be less, “If you’re not like this, you’re not a woman,” and more, “If you’re not like this, you’re sinning and God is displeased with you,” which feels even more damaging (if you believe in God). There are judgmental a-holes all across the political spectrum.

        Honestly, I don’t think I’m even now, as you put it, comfortable with my femininity. Even when you’re consciously aware of the societal BS pressure and mentally reject it, it can get to you. That’s why it means a lot when men make small, gentlemanly gestures that they wouldn’t do for a man. For those of us who don’t fit the “stereotypical female” mold, the acknowledgement that men do in fact view us as women is a welcome counteragent to the societal BS that says we’re not.

        1. I think you’re on to something with the notion that we’re not allowed not to “fit” but…

          There are lots of ways that I don’t “fit” as a woman but we used to be allowed, you know? And manners didn’t really care, and they were clear enough that it was possible to follow the rules. Guys had it worse if they didn’t fit, but there were still a variety of archetypes for both sexes. Girls could be super feminine, or tomboy, or bookish. Boys could be the brawn or the brain, either or both.

          Most people are mixes. Who out there actually fits? But instead of saying that *you’re still a perfectly fine girl” what they’ve started to say was that you aren’t a fine girl at all. Instead of two very large boxes that hold a lot of variety, we’ve got 67 tiny boxes to choose from.

      2. Tell me about it. For all the criticism of “toxic masculinity” or whatever buzzword for androphobia is circulating now, I can’t imagine it’s that much better to always be compared to some arbitrary “inspirational” standard that all women must abide by, whether they want to or not.

        This is something that actually happened back in the Socialist days here in Easter Europe. Sure, women were pretty much equally involved in the workforce as men, but there came a catch – any woman *not* interested in being a highly industrious professional, but instead choosing to focus on family and homemaking, was derided as a lazy and decadent bourgeois housewife, perish the thought she’s not a full-fledged Socialist Renaissance Woman, the very model of a modern matron general.

        And in both cases, such standards are set by precisely the people otherwise least useful to appease – respectively, other men (and I use the term quite loosely in Ian’s case) and other women (likewise for the modern variety of feminist). It’s an almost Jane Austenean atmosphere, where a person has to abide by arbitrary standards of appearance, behavior, skillset etc. – solely to please an unpleasable decaying elitist clique – obsolete nobles in Austen’s case, decrepit party functionaries in the old red days, and mainstream media and urbane hipsters right now. These aren’t skills and manners that help you succeed in life, improve your relationships, or are simply useful to have around; these are badges of virtue signalling to put on your social media profile and brag to your craft beer buddies.

        To that effect – and I’m also saying this in reference to Brits not wanting to get yelled at by angry modern feminists – it’s nice for more people to realize that it’s not women in general who get riled up over acts of old-fashioned chivalry. In my otherwise all-female office, the most frequent complaint in that regard is that “there are no real men left anymore” (and that’s the Balkans, where current social trends are hardly evident altogether; I can’t even imagine how things are further West).

        Instead, most complainers are just that – complainers, regardless of sex, creed or political affiliation. People who’d find something to whine about regardless of what you do, simply to inflate their own self-esteem… instead of, I dunno, learning an actually useful skill like car maintenance or home repair.

  64. In another curious coincidence, I notice the skills Ian decries aren’t simply ones clashing with the mentality of the modern urbane millennial, but such that likely are beyond his means altogether. To that effect, I reckon Ian here:

    – doesn’t have a car, and likely doesn’t even have a licence, but owns an overpriced laptop that he most certainly just uses for real important stuff, like checking his social network profiles while working on his book and sipping a soy latte in the local trendy coffee shop.

    – doesn’t go outside the city, and still can’t tell the difference between a shotgun and a rifle – because none of his beloved anti-gun liberal talking heads can either – but still takes great pride in being able to only slightly overboil the organic veggies he picked up with this month’s food stamps.

    – has never even seen a fight, and believes that all confrontations can be resolved by showcasing his practiced Captain Picard impersonation that makes all his imaginary friends swoon in adoration.

    – lives in a rented apartment his parents pay for, meaning he’s not actually allowed to make any repairs, but can still cover every conceivable surface with fluffy decorative pillows and hand-crafted tchotchkes… that he also bought from the same guy who sold him the organic veggies.

    – won’t be holding any leadership position any time soon (no need to guess why), but believes his bosses should still be listening to him and all the authority of his unfinished liberal arts degree.

    – similarly, doesn’t have kids of his own (and hopefully won’t in the foreseeable future), but considers himself more than qualified to advise those who do, naturally without taking responsibility should anyone actually follow his suggestions.

    – is an overall emotional wreck, but frantically looks for ways to turn this into a badge of honor over all those people who can actually keep their cool when the going gets tough, or rather work things out without much fuss.

    All in all, we’ve all heard of sour grapes, but this is one case where the grapes aren’t just sour, they’re outright evil.

  65. As a single mom of 4 boys, this crap pisses me off. I detest having someone say a man should be more like a woman or he’s some sort of caveman. My sons behave like gentlemen(give up your seat, hold a door open, say ma’am and sir, etc) because they were raised to have manners and because I’d make them regret their womb emancipation otherwise.
    I have a welder, and two in ‘construction’ and the youngest will be joining the USMC in a year. I have encouraged them to learn mechanics, I try to teach them landscaping, I’ve drafted them to help me with remodeling at my brother’s and mom’s houses, plan to teach them to lay tile if they want to learn, how to change a tire, how to perform routine stuff around the house, all the stuff this whiner says is no longer relevant. But according to this asinine woofersniffer they don’t need to know any of that and should instead learn mostly useless shit. Really?! Who the hell does this spineless dickweasel think is gonna do all the ‘bad’ stuff if his brainless ideas are followed? I’d say he’ll definitely need a bike but he’d have to learn how to put air in the tires, be able to oil the chain and use the brakes(his brain didn’t come with any) but I’m sure that stuff falls into the toxic skills category with mechanics. He’d also need to learn how to farm if he wants to eat when his hoped for target audience does what he suggests but wait that shit’s a toxic skill too. I know this from my 5’1″ self slinging 70-80lb bales of hay in 100 degree S Carolina weather because my granddaddy wasn’t the least bit sexist and believed if you could do the work, then you would do the work no matter what chromosomes God gave you.
    No one should ever believe any honest skill/work is beneath them and I’ve tried to instill that value in my sons, and some of the things the moron listed are the very things I hope to have cultivated in my sons.
    I’d suggest that this idiot needs to get the hell out of the pool and go find his damn sign.

  66. This was a masterwork, so naturally I feel the need to pick a bone with the one single paragraph I contest.

    Anybody who thinks riding the subway is better than having the freedom to just go where you want, when you want, in your personally owned vehicle has Stockholm Syndrome.

    On account of being a terrible driver (I can get to Distracted Driving status on internal monologue alone), I take public transport, and it’s got these objective advantages: you can’t read, write, craft, or have spontaneous conversations with strangers while driving to work. (Of course, most bus denizens are engaged by ear buds and smartphones, but that’s their problem.)

  67. You could be the world’s best crossword puzzle solver and be made fun of by a mediocre car mechanic for being a geek.
    It’s not that the skill isn’t one a man should have. A man should have a brain and exercise it regularly. It’s that it’s f*ing useless when it comes to the manly traits – protecting your family, providing for them, etc.

    He can bend heavy duty nails with his bare hands and then write a haiku about it.
    Now, I’m betting he gets a lot of razzing about that combination of talents. And, if he’s a good man, he joins right in and laughs and razzes his friends, and they all get back to doing what they need to do in this world. ‘Cause guys razz each other.

    only more self-righteously smug about it.
    Now, having been on the other end of things, getting harrassed and bullied by the Jocks and Ropers, I have felt the lure of this type of thinking. “I happen to know I’m better than them because…”. And ofttimes that justification was centered on their being Jocks or Ropers. In reality (aside from the self-righteousness) the only thing that made me better than them was that they (some of them, anyway) were jackasses. It wasn’t a high bar to clear, and not justification for any self-righteousness on my part.
    Ian, here, has NOT figured that part out, yet.

    But at the end of the day there’s still some dude covered in blood with a big ass knife chopping up a dead thing.
    Oddly, that’s how many of your novels seem to end up, too. Interesting. 😉

    Physical fighting literally doesn’t solve anything
    I’m surprised you didn’t quote Heinlein on that. 🙂

    But if we start thinking that the real loss isn’t losing (or walking away from) a fight, but rather getting into one in the first place, what would we really lose?
    Sadly, he’s right on this one – for some people. Too many, in fact. But there are a vast number of men who were taught well, and do know when to back away or simply walk off.
    violence exists on a broad and complex spectrum

    Power tools
    Real men can use non-powered tools. Some things require power to do them well, but a real man should be able to at least use a manual pruning saw or make a straight cut with a crosscut saw.
    (Does he know the Home Improvement “More Power” thing was a joke?)

    With most millennials having no real shot at home-ownership
    Well, no, because you live in that city you love so much, with its awful zoning restrictions, rent caps, and subsidized housing.

    Real men think that’s bad ass, because laying tile is a pain.
    Ha! 🙂

    investing in how your space looks, feels, and functions can really change how you feel about the space (and how any potential dates you bring home feel about it)
    Well, I’m gonna sorta agree with him here.
    1) Dude, you can do better than milk crates and 1x4s! Here’s where that tool use comes in: build yourself a bookcase! Or a desk. It’s useful, shows that you have some skills, and you can move the piles of stuff off the living room floor so you have more room for wrasslin’!
    2) The chicks will love that you *built something* with your hands! AND that you have more room on the living room floor for wrasslin’!

    women were expected to stay home and raise children
    It wasn’t patriarchal societies demanding that, Ian. You’ve inverted cause and effect. Women had to take care of the children because the world was very unsafe (no rooms with coloring books to retreat to when the bad Indian tribes mistreated aboriginal family units attacked) and most “outside the home” work required the stronger backs of men. Men were in those positions of leadership outside the home BECAUSE women were needed to take care of the bairns.

    a man will or must be a leader
    expecting to be in control
    See, he’s got a 3-way false choice going on here. He is equating “a man must be a leader” (which is true) with “leaders must be men” and equating “leading” with “in control”. Critical thinking is not one of Ian’s skills.

    The archetypal disciplinary father
    You missed the weasel word there, Larry: “archetypal”. IOW, the stereotype. The key is that there ARE lots of men who were raised that way, because their fathers learned the wrong lessons from the way they were raised. Just like there are men who are “toxic” or “rapey” or whatnot.
    You’re right on about that argument being lazy in the context of this diatribe. Saying “Well, some people are like X, and you match the grouping of those other people in some way, therefore you need to stop being that way” is bogus.

    The key to healthy fatherhood (and motherhood) is understanding that (in general) men tend to be good at teaching independence and toughness, and women tend to be better at teaching tenderness and togetherness. A single parent can try to do both, but it’s a much larger burden.

    Understanding what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and how to handle that feeling
    Somehow I doubt that Ian actually knows what he’s saying here. Because what he’s describing is introspection – which requires critical thinking (and he’s already demonstrated a lack of that). Interestingly, introspection is also a part of that stoicism he condemned earlier.

    If you have the means to, consider going into therapy.
    Or, you know, you could get a friggin’ friend. One that will tell you when you’re being a whiny weasel and will commiserate when your life sucks (even if it’s your fault). One that will sit around a fire with you or at a bar. One that will half-carry your drunk ass a mile to your dorm room, or will check on you when you’re heaving in the club bathroom (and bring you the wet washcloths the nice waitress is providing). One that won’t give up on you even when you’re being a dick.
    Friends are much cheaper (unless bail money is required) than a therapist.

    Sorry I’m a week late to this fisking.

  68. 《Learn how to code》
    Don’t. Especially if you refer it as “to code”. Learn how the technology you’d want to “code” for works, learn to design proper systems and structured programs, learn how to validate and test your code.

    I’m a professional engineer quite tired of working with the fecal matter produced by people who “code”. It’s like saying that to write a book you must learn the grammar of the language you’re writing in: you sure need it and need to know it well, but piecing together a story is an entire different matter. Organizing paragraphs, chapters and volumes, maintaining a consistent style throughout the book, keeping it readable are necessary skills.

    So please, don’t learn “how to code”.

  69. In my opinion, a real man doesn’t constantly get righteously offended about perceived insults from insignificant internet articles.

    (Getting riled up by whiny blog posts from moderately successful SF writers is fine, though)

    1. Unless you are a real man with thousands of regular readers who happen to love and share your posts when you get righteously offended about insignificant articles. … But what do I know? I’m only a “moderately” successful writer who achieved moderate success that way. Thanks for the advice, internet rando!

      As for “moderate success” I make way more annually than the Guardian says the top 1% of all writers get paid, so we got us another one of those petty fucks with a super harsh standard for success. 😀

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