Monday, June 16, 2008

The Manly Arts

Yesterday was Father’s Day. The one day of the year to celebrate dad, and to focus on the masculine side of home life and parenting. So let’s see how well the FTF scores on the first (and last) ever Father’s Day Manliness Test.

Answer each question honestly. A correct answer is worth two points. A total of 8 points are needed to be considered “Manly.”

Question: Do you drink beer?
Answer: Yes! I like Corona with lime, though I should probably come clean here; for most of my adult life I hated beer. Let’s face it, the stuff tastes bad. (Wheat juice just isn’t a good idea.) I only developed a taste for beer three years ago, when I was giving myself a 40th birthday present of a solo hiking trip in the Scottish Highlands. I trained like a mad man for the trip, going on 10 mile hikes a few times a week and spending hours on the elliptical trainer at the gym. I also trained by learning to drink beer. I was pretty sure that if I tried to order a Pinot Grigio in some rural bar nestled in the rough and tumble Highlands, I would get beat up. So I bought a six pack of Killian’s and drank a little bit every night. By the end of one week, I was exactly what America needed: another 40-something beer guzzler. But I did escape Scotland unscathed.
Score: 1 point (In light of my late blooming beeriness, I don’t think I deserve full credit.)

Question: Are you good at home repair?

  • A screwdriver is first made with orange juice and vodka, and second a tool for, um, screwing;
  • An old saw is first common piece of folksy wisdom, and second the rusty blade in my basement;
  • Getting hammered is first what happens when I drink too much beer (see above), and second what happens to my thumb next to any nail;
  • Wrench is first what I do to my (choose all that apply) knee, elbow, thumb, wrist, hip, shoulder when attempting to fix anything, and second the tool in my hand at the moment of injury.

So no, I’m not good at home repair. Recently, the FTM asked me to put up some crown moulding. After listening to me curse, scream, and finally injure myself, the ceiling, and the wood, she apologized to me. “I’m sorry,” she said very earnestly, “I really didn’t know just how bad at this you were.” (We called a professional to finish the job.) I keep thinking the problem might be that I don’t have the right tools, and I’m truly grateful to my in-laws for buying me a very nice set of power tools for Father’s Day, but let’s face it, a circular saw in my hands is a lethal weapon. Even the pets hide when they see me pull out the tool box.
Score: -2 points.

Question: Do you like sports?
Answer: Yes! I bleed orange and blue for my New York Mets; I’m a New York Rangers fan; I used to be a huge fan of thoroughbred horse racing; and I casually follow most other sports. I’ve even been in the same fantasy baseball league for a decade. I stink, but I play.
Score: 2 points!

Question: Do you play sports?
Answer: Three weeks after that last time I played golf, the United States Golf Association sent me a complimentary membership in the United States Tennis Association. (The USTA has since punted me to the Curling Association. I have to wait until winter to equally offend the curlers.) But tough luck on the USGA, because golf is my game of choice, and by hook or by crook, I’m going to get better. I did try an online golf lesson once, but I don’t think it helped:

Knowing this, for Father’s Day the FTM got me one third of a group golf lesson at a nearby course. The other two thirds of the lesson were the two dads who live across the street. (They’re not two dads in the sense of two dads in one household – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but rather, they each received the same gift from their spouses). Our spouses also got us a round of golf in the afternoon with another dad. The three dads are very nice guys, and it was a really pleasant way to spend Father’s Day. It was capped off by watching the U.S. Open with my own dad.
Score: 1 point (While I enjoy playing most sports, I really do stink at athletics. Plus, my golf instructor was a woman, which, when you think about it, is pretty unmanly.)

Question: Are you a babe magnet?
Answer: Well, uh, no.
Score: 0 points.

If I’m counting right, my total score is 2 points; decidedly unmanly. But wait…there’s a bonus question!

Question: Are you a father?
Answer: Hell yes! My boys can swim!
Score: 5 point bonus!

That means I have a total of 7 points!!! Yay!!!!

Oh, wait. 7 points still falls just short of being manly. But you know what? That’s okay. I’m pretty comfortable with who I am, and generally speaking, none of my friends would score much better on this test. I’ll still teach my kid all about baseball and girls and beer. But I’ll also teach him how to use a telephone call the plumber, carpenter, and electrician. Because if I've learned one thing in life, it's that we have to play to our strengths.


Cocotte said...

Don't feel bad, FTF. We tried to do crown molding once and it was a nightmare. No matter how much we measured and cut, it still didn't work out right. We looked at each other and said, "Three college degrees and this baffles us?? Scary!"

Manager Mom said...

The crown molding thing made me laugh... after I figured out what crown molding actually was.

Does that Mr. Met always look so terrified?

Happy FFD (First Father's Day), FTF!

Always Home and Uncool said...

MM - That's Mr. Mets' 2008 look. Quite fitting.

Thanks for including me in the golf outing. My power tools are your power tools.