Sitting at a bar in Asia in my young twenties and next to me is an old Australian traveler. We get to chatting about life, love and more importantly; what the hell I was doing at the “BoogieWalk” in Osaka, Japan. After a plethora of hot sake’s, Orion beers and a bunch of life advice from some old dude that seemed to have been everywhere in the world; he says to me stumbling out “Remember, you’re only truly a man if: you plant a tree, write a book and have a child.” “Damn,” I thought, “I’m only 22. I didn’t know any of this, I’m not on my way to doing any of these things and does it have to be in that order? What else should I know?” By that advice, I was way behind and wasn’t sure I would accomplish any of that.
Well I can honestly say now…have no fear gentleman you have time, we all have time, but while you wait, here are 20 things you should know and be able to do that can get you started on your way to being an all-encompassing, well-rounded, interesting man.
1. Turn a steak one time and one time only. Starting simple, but very important. Don’t get to nervous with your meat by flipping it every 30 seconds. It just makes you look weak. Once you put that steak on the grill have the confidence in turning it just once to create that perfect crust on the outside and just the right cook time inside.
2. How to do simple maintenance. Own a good tool set and know how to use them. Whether it’s being able to fix your own place or help someone else. You need these skills.
3. Write a good Resume and Cover Letter. As much as it can suck, getting a job is part of growing up. Being able to do these two things will be the difference in starting your new job and still waiting for someone to call you about a job.
4. Be a generous tipper. Don’t be that guy, I promise…you will never live it down. Being known as the cheap asshole at your local watering hole is just a major no-no. That extra dollar, two or even three can go a long way. It’s always nice for the bartenders to know you for the right reasons and the ladies you are trying to picking up will think highly of you.
5. Be able to drive a stick. You would be surprised by this one. The amount of men these days that cannot drive a manual transmission is astonishing. It’s reasonable to not always own your own car in your twenties, especially if you’re still on campus. Don’t get caught in a situation where you need to drive your girl around and she owns a stick. It could be quite embarrassing.
6. Cook a great dish. Actually, I would suggest be able to cook 3. A breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most importantly be able to cook a great breakfast. It’s where you will score major points with anyone. Pick something you love and perfect it.
7. Be ok in solitude. In our 20’s we often need many people around to fulfill our time. Don’t get me wrong, appreciating friends and community is important, but don’t forget to spend time alone. Being with yourself is to know thyself.
8. Know how to play Chess. It’s the game of Kings and it doesn’t take a long to learn. It does take a lifetime to be really good though. Knowing how to play will always make you a better man.
9. Play at least three chords on a guitar. This is a great skill that will surely make you stand out when you want to. Can be difficult and time consuming but, it’s worth it.
10. Say no to all those credit card offers. This is a killer in your 20’s and can wreak havoc on you well into your 30’s. They prey on you when you don’t know and suck the life out of you when it’s too late.
11. Have the ability to ask a girl who is way out of your league on a date. This will definitely help when you get older. Build that confidence in yourself now and you will dominate later.
12. Quit drinking cheap alcohol. This one is definitely better learned early. A bit more expensive but will surely reduce the hangover. You may only be able to have 5 drinks instead of 10 but, you will also be in more control when landing the hotty in the room
13. Know how to tie a full Windsor knot. Always the sharper looking man who has a full Windsor. Clothes do make the man and the girls will notice every single time. Even if they don’t mention it.
14. Know how to fillet a fish. This is just a man’s must. A life skill each man should know and acquire over time. Might as well do it early. It’s what will set you apart in this world.
15. Drink Scotch. Never less than 12 years old. Always know the difference between single-malt and blended. Again, never less than 12 years. Otherwise, as they say in the Scotch business, “you have committed Scotch pedophilia.”
16. Be able to make a perfect drink, just for your lady. Have this simple skill and you’ll never be alone. No matter what you will always be able to take the edge off in any situation. It’s just part of knowing how to please your woman and in your 20’s there will be many.
17. Secure a table in a restaurant. There are a few methods you can use when they tell you the place is full, but showing your face is usually the best. Perfect your story, be confident and let them know how important the night is. It’s good to look for the nicest face in the room when asking.
18. Navigate your way in unfamiliar places. This is a skill well learned early. If you want to be a traveler as life goes on. You need this now. There is no harm in getting lost, it’s sometimes the most fun thing that can happen, but when the time comes that you need to get where you are going. It is always good to know North, South, East & West no matter where you are.
19. Be able to give a compliment. This one can take you a long way. Giving someone a compliment is an art form and can be perfected over time. Always be specific and most importantly sincere; when handing these out. It is also important to not discount the timing and situation in which you choose.
20. Lastly, Be able to tell a great story. It doesn’t even have to actually even be true but, it needs mesmerize and captivate. Being a great story teller can make you the center of attention anytime and anywhere you want it.
You’re in your 20’s, be a man of action. Learn a few things; put a few things into practice. Test yourself and see how far you can get. Push the limits sometimes, break a few rules and know a few things that can set you apart from the herd. It’s kinda cool to live on the edge a bit; otherwise you’re just taking up too much space. Be well.
[Image via ShutterStock]