Men, can you do these 75?

Published 11:58 pm Tuesday, May 13, 2008

One of my biggest concerns after my husband passed away was raising three children by myself, specifically raising a son. Fortunately Matthew was already in junior high and a lot of the “guy” lessons had already been taught. He said yes m’am and no m’am, held the door for a lady, could throw a football with a tight spiral and his love of Ole Miss and golf were firmly etched into his DNA.

Luckily for me there were plenty of good dads at Cathedral who included my son when they did things with their sons and passed on life lessons to him also. Coaches became important mentors and to this day Matthew holds Ken Beesley in high esteem and talks about what an impact he had on him. His grandfathers came to every sporting event and Ricky Smith handled the hunting.

So, yes, I have to admit I was feeling a little cocky not long ago. After all, he is 20, halfway through his undergraduate work, making good grades, gainfully employed for the summer, so surely I’ve just about got this whipped. Then I picked up an Esquire magazine a week ago and there on the cover was enough to make my heart stop.

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“Seventy-five skills every man should master.” In black and white someone had made a list of things a man should be able to do. I put the magazine down and scoffed to myself, “Don’t even look, it will be all about dating, women and how to drink beer.” Naturally the evening found me looking for the article online so I could check my personal “son needs to be able to do this list” against theirs. And I have to admit that I was surprised, only two of them were about women and they were two his dad would probably have told him anyway.

Let’s face it there are some things that just make a man attractive besides his looks, the list covers most of them. I know guys may find that weird but women are into a lot more than just looks.

Number 7 — Cook meat somewhere other than the grill. Good one, because there is something inherently attractive about man who can cook. Sorry guys, just because you can grill doesn’t mean you can cook.

10. Show respect without being a suck-up. The list says respect the following, in this order: age, experience, record, reputation and don’t mention any of it.

23. Be loyal. There’s something to be said for a man who will stand by someone or something no matter what. You may not always agree with your friend, coach, team, etc., but stand by them.

28. Play go fish with a kid. There is a technique to playing games with kids or hanging out with them. The list says, “You don’t crush kids. Teach them without once offering a lesson.” Don’t be afraid to laugh with them, lose to them or win occasionally.

41. Speak to a waiter so he will hear. I love this advice because I am one of those old-fashioned girls who would think that in a social setting such as this the man is in charge, however there is a fine line between in charge and overbearing. “You don’t own the restaurant, so don’t act like it. You own the transaction. So don’t speak into the menu. Lift your chin and make eye contact.”

70. Shake hands. Steady, firm, pump, let go. Use the time to make eye contact. There it is —simple and concise and some of the best advice a man can have.

I sent the list to my son with an e-mail that said “Saw this, thought of you, probably not all advice that is appropriate from a mom, but still thought you needed it.”

And you know what, after reading the list again today I’m still glad I sent it.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Democrat. She can be reached at