Men need advice. We need to be told, preferably early in life, what we should do, what we shouldn’t do, and how to tell the difference. If we don’t receive such advice we live our lives by trial-and-error—a much less effective strategy. The reason emergency rooms, warning labels, and scar tissue exist is because some man did not receive—or did not heed—sound advice.
A couple of weeks ago we discussed “50 Things a Man Should Be Able To Do.” Such lists are useful, but even more helpful are lists of things we should never do. The “never do” list is nearly infinite, so I’ll narrow it down to 35 of the most essential things:
1. Get a “mani-pedi”—There may be situations in which a man is warranted in getting a manicure. There may also be situations where a man’s toenails get so out of control that a wife-mandated pedicure is a condition of staying married. But there are few legitimate reasons for getting both at the same time. And even if you do, there is no excuse for referring to the procedures as a “mani-pedi.” There just isn’t.
2. Wear an item of clothing simply because it’s “ironic.”
3. Cheat on your wife, taxes, or golf scorecard.
4. Ask a woman, “Why can’t you be more like ____________?”
5. Tell anyone about the time your buddy broke down and cried.
6. Tug on Superman’s cape. Spit into the wind. Pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger. Mess around with Jim.
7. Leer creepily.
8. Punch a woman for any reason other than to prevent her from causing another human being serious bodily harm.
9. Punch an animal for any reason other than to prevent them from causing another human being serious bodily harm.
10. Punch a kitten for any reason.
11. Admit to watching any movie on the Lifetime channel.
12. Know the complete lyrics to a Lady Gaga song.
13. Criticize another man’s wife in front of him.
14. Pierce any part of your body.
15. Care about fashion. (It’s okay to care about style, but not fashion. There’s a difference.)
16. Be drunk in public.
17. Post drunken pictures—of yourself or anyone else—on Facebook.
18. Spend more than three hours a week playing video games.
19. Expect praise for doing what you’re supposed to do (e.g., take care of your kids, clean up your own messes, work for a living).
20. Show fear in front of a dog or small child.
21. Sit while a pregnant woman has to stand.
22. Forget where you came from or who helped you to get where you are.
23. Invest your life savings in a company whose business model you don’t understand.
24. Attempt to impress a girl by joining any group that requires a serious commitment (the Marines, the Peace Corps, Orthodox Judaism).
25. Eat fried Twinkies any place outside a State Fair.
26. Use the bathroom in front of any woman that isn’t a nurse (including your wife).
27. Refer to oneself as a “playa.”
28. Lie to a kid by telling them they can be anything they want to be. (Most likely, they can’t.)
29. Give yourself a haircut.
30. Correct someone’s grammar unless (a) you are asked to do so, or (b) getting paid to do so, (c) the person is both under the age of eighteen and your own kid.
31. Embarrass a father in front of his children.
32. Cry while watching any movie other than Old Yeller, Brian’s Song, or Rudy.
33. Go more than a year without reading a book.
34. Take cues about sex, marriage, fatherhood, or masculinity from watching popular movies and television shows.
35. Stop and ask for directions when a woman is in the car.