These are just my opinion, and they reflect my own values and thoughts. Some may seem arbitrary or old-fashioned. They can be espoused regardless of economic or formal educational status (with the possible exception of those that refer to foreign languages. You may agree or disagree: please feel free to add or detract as you see fit.
My thoughts on certain things every man should know how to do and strive for:
1) oil, clean, load and shoot a gun.
2) cook a meal from scratch (without a cook book)
3) shave himself (ideally, with a straight razor, and, if possible, without a mirror)
4) tell a joke … well, that is, elicit some laughs.
5) fold and read a newspaper without getting ink all over himself and others.
6) have a conversation without checking his iPhone repeatedly.
7) tie a tie several ways [(e.g., Windsor knot, etc.) (ideally, a bow-tie)].
8) pleasure a woman.
9) mean what he says and vice-versa
11) shine his shoes
12) complete at least a few clues on the NYTimes Crossword puzzle (Monday’s is acceptable)
13) comfort a cranky infant
14) diffuse a volatile situation
15) choose, cut, light and smoke a cigar
16) brew a perfect cup of coffee or tea
17) prepare a cocktail, even if for someone other than himself
18) if not conversant in a second language, to have some minimal facility in his own (which includes being able to compose, at least, a short series of grammatically correct sentences on any given subject.
19) drive a stick shift (and, ideally, know how to change a tire.)
21) Read an entire book from beginning to end, and be able to explain what he has read
22) play a musical instrument, and, failing that, being able to carry a tune.
23) know at least one or two prayers in their entirety, regardless of his religious convictions, or lack thereof.
24) know how to make a woman happy (distinct, of course, from #8; that is, treat her like a lady, display knowledge of etiquette, and have genuine, if not feigned interest in matters which are important to her, etc.)
25) have knowledge, if not agility, in at least some sport.
26) be able to be a real friend; that is, some one who can keep a secret, is true to his word, in short, demonstrating trust, respect and loyalty
27) have knowledge, however, minimal, of some language other than his mother-tongue: since knowledge of foreign languages is the rule, and one’s native tongue, the exception.
28) be able to defend himself or his friend(s)/girlfriend with his bare hands, if not with a weapon: in short, he must be able to fight, and do so only when absolutely necessary, eschewing violence at all cost.
29) be able to quote from
Scripture or literature apropos to the occasion.
30) know the National
Anthem in its entirety.
31) be able to live without television
32) be skeptical regarding matters he assumes to be true
33) be able to distinguish belief from knowledge
34) know basic arithmetic
35) know how to handle stress without resorting to synthetic means
36) learn to speak without saying things like, “like,” “you know,” “er,” and the like.
37) avoid profanity unless absolutely necessary – which it never is.
38) not read “mens’ magazines.
39) avoid pornography
40) not engage in gossip
41) cultivate kindness and compassion, especially toward those who are in need.
42) practice generosity and giving freely to those who are deserving.
43) learn to distinguish between tolerance and promotion
44) respecting ones own privacy, as well as the privacy of others.
45) avoid the topics of religion or politics in both polite society, as well as within intimate circles.
46) giving the benefit of the doubt even if sometimes undeserving
47) cultivating an attitude of respect for those in authority, such as judges and law-enforcement officials, though we may find them personally loathsome or abhorrent
48) realize that the right to hold opinions does not make them valid or true, but subject for vigorous debate.
49) do not offer unsolicited advice under any circumstances
50) be kind to animals
51) surround yourself with those who enhance you and build you up, and flee from
52) do not exhibit or express contempt for ideas of which you have insufficient familiarity or knowledge
53) consciously avoid superstition and magical thinking.
54) do not attack people whose ideas are different, though equally plausible, to your own; that is, practice tolerance.
55) make an effort to improve yourself: culturally and spiritually however you can.
56) roll a cigarette.
57) listen more than speak.