If, like the author, you are incredibly rugged and manly but just choose to express it in more non-conventional ways like having a real soft spot for peonies or not being afraid of a scented candle every once in a while then this guide has been specially designed to help you blend in with basically all the other men you will ever come in to contact with. And when I say ‘contact’ I don’t mean that in any kind of a gay way before you all start.
I have the soft supple hands of a man who in all honesty is more comfortable applying a rejuvenating face mask than sanding down a wall. I can’t grow a beard to save my life, the only real shaving I do is shavings of pecorino on my bucatini all’amatriciana.
‘Oh but pecorino is just a cheap alternative to parmesan’ I hear you luddites cry. Go fuck yourselves.
This is exactly the sort of behaviour that is met with scorn and derision by ‘real men’ like for example my dad who is fond of saying things like, ‘Richard’s never done a proper day’s work in his life.’ Well de-pilling all of my cashmere and merino jumpers wasn’t exactly a fucking walk in the park old man let me tell you.
My brother is certainly more manly than I am. When we were kids he got kicked out of his rugby team for beating the shit out of a bigger boy on his own team and has been my old man’s favourite ever since then. I was busy practicing my one man show, experimenting with using Sun-In on my side parting and wrestling with the typical dilemmas of any young man such as ‘does the colour purple really suit me or am I just lying to myself?’ I’m still undecided.
Inevitably, when I first got a girlfriend my dad made the typical dad quip, ‘well we were worried he was gay for a while.’ Only I don’t think he was actually joking, in any way.
So if any of this rings a bell (not in a gay way, you understand) and you need to learn how to successfully integrate with real men and when I say ‘integrate’ oh fuck it here’s the list…
#1 KNOW YOUR MOTORWAYS
This is a really useful tip, you should now commit this image to memory because whenever you drive anywhere there is always likely to be a real man at the end of your trip, your new girlfriend’s dad for example who will immediately ask you what route you took.
I struggle to navigate my way out of my own house and just obey what my Sat Nav tells me to do without question. I’m not even very good at doing what it tells me and I certainly have no idea what any of the roads are actually called. This is not the manly way to go. Real men do not need a Sat Nav, they know every possible route to every possible destination off by heart and they will ask you about it, straight away.
‘Which way did you come? M6, M40, M5?’
‘Yeah.’ Best to just agree, but there’s always a chance it could be a trap…
‘Come off at junction 9?’
‘That’s right, junction 9.’
‘There is no junction 9, I just made it up. Get the fuck out of my house.’
If you’re feeling like you want to play in the big leagues then what you should do is study your route beforehand and pick an obscure road to follow to your destination, make sure it’s real though or you’ll be found out but you’ll get awesome man points when you drop it in to your first conversation.
‘Actually I came off at junction 15 and took the B9000 via Chichester. Saved us about 17 minutes.’
‘Welcome to my family, you ever need anything you come to me.’
So simple, only requires years to perfect and completely pointless due to modern technology but so, so worth it for man points. Next….
#2 BEER. YOU WANT A BEER
Remember, if you’re in the company of real men and someone asks you what you want to drink, you want a pint of non-specific beer. If you are asked to further elaborate on this you should have some stock answers to hand such as ‘Stella’ (real men call it ‘Wife Beater’), ‘Carling’ or ‘Fosters’ actually I think that last one might even be slightly frowned upon. You definitely can’t go wrong with a pint of wife beater though so stick to that. I think Peroni might be OK but it’s not on tap everywhere so there’s always the danger that they don’t have it and then you’ve singled yourself out as the effeminate metrosexual who wanted a Peroni because he can’t drink Stella. Then if you’re ever in the company of these extended family members/work colleagues/girlfriend’s friends boyfriends again they’ll always ask you if you want a Peroni and laugh at the hilarious time you made a tit out of yourself by requesting a Peroni, you fucking nonce.
Just don’t draw attention to yourself, go with the herd. Whatever you do don’t order a dry martini (not dry as a bone dry, but dry) and then change your mind when you find out they’ve got no grapefruits for the twist. And don’t then order a glass of Pinot Grigio but send it back because it’s not cold enough and just say to the bewildered waitress, ‘Just bring me a glass of the coldest white wine you have, as long as it’s not Chardonnay.’
I didn’t do both of those things at once by the way, I’m not that bad. It was two separate incidents.
#3 DON’T URINATE, EVER.
Not really sure why but real men retain water like fucking camels. And when I say water I of course mean Stella. They’ll down 8 pints in the airport and make it all the way to the hotel in Benidorm without even a twinge in the bladder.
Train yourself, God knows how, you figure it out.
#4 DON’T ASK QUESTIONS WHEN ORDERING FOOD
Steak. Medium. That’s what you want. You’re not this fucking clown off the telly so don’t start trying to show off.
Regular readers will know that this is a particularly problematic area for the author. I just can’t help being a dick in these situations anyway but with a group of proper lads it is never going to end well. If you’re with a group of real men then just order the exact same steak as the guy next to you, which he wanted medium, no doubt. If you must have a sauce then peppercorn is acceptable but you’re better off just asking for some ketchup. Don’t start faffing around asking if the gnocchi is homemade on the premises that day or if the chef leaves the roe on the scallop. Don’t be that guy. And don’t, for the love of God start trying to change bits and bobs off the menu, giving it all;
‘Yeah can I have that with linguine instead of rigatoni, I just feel like I’m in more of a twirley mood?’
The only questions you should ask are pervy, creepy ones like ‘What time do you knock off love, we’re hitting Vodka Rev’s later?’ or better yet don’t ask questions at all as these could illicit a stinging erudite response. Just stick to vaguely offensive comments like, ‘pop your phone number on the bill darling.’ or ‘I bet you enjoy a nice healthy portion don’t you sweetheart?’ Then just eat your dull overcooked steak in absolute silence, occasionally looking up and shouting ‘Oi. Pal. Ketchup’ at that fucking poof of a waiter and that’s pretty much dining out all covered.
You can always go back the following week on your own if needs be so that you can finally enjoy those gnocchi that were described as ‘little heavenly pillows’ on Trip Advisor, man they sounded good. Nice Chablis Grand Cru to wash it down, good lad.
#5 GET YOURSELF SOME TOOLS
Any proper man’s man knows how to handle a big tool (not in a gay way). You will need to invest in at least a basic set. If you move in with your sweet lady and need some minor repairs doing around the house then the inevitable moment will arrive when she invites her dad over to carry out the job and the first thing he’ll say is, ‘I bet you haven’t even got a spanner have you lad?’ with a condescending laugh. ‘No but I’ve got a pasta rolling machine and a fucking potato ricer so whether you want tortellini or gnocchi I’ve got us well covered you old fuck’ is not a suitable comeback.
Just out tool the old prick. Get a fucking angle grinder out to chop down that dodgy shower rail. Put up that generic Ikea print using a pneumatic drill, it doesn’t really matter seeing as no one really knows how to use tools anyway it’s all just posturing and everything can be solved by giving it a good whack on the end with a hammer (totally not gay). Plus, the older man will always take responsibility for any DIY jobs, that’s just hard-wired in to real men so as long as you have some tools you’ll probably never be called upon to use them, until you get old and have to condescend to some poor young fool as if that was never you to begin with. That’s the circle of life my good friends, Hakuna Matata.