Lessons on Manhood


PETER (20, skinny, hasn’t quite made the transition from bum fluff to proper facial hair) holds a note pad and pen as he stands in the great outdoors, paddocks stream out behind him. Peter watches as JACK (41, broad, the kind of person people would refer to as ‘salt of the earth’) chops wood.

Jack, this is stupid, none of what you’ve said has taught me what it is to be a man, and I’ve been watching you chop wood for almost an hour now. Jack continues to chop wood as he responds.

Read back some of what you’ve written down.

Peter sighs but does so.

Meat you’ve killed yourself always tastes sweeter.


True. Continue.

You said you’re favourite meat was meat? Not really sure what that means. Is it a collection of different meats minced together?

That is correct.

Next was; You should drink a glass of double malt scotch whisky on every day of the week that finishes with a Y. See, now that specification seems unnecessary. You could have just said drink a glass of whisky everyday.

It adds more poetry that way.

Okay, well the next one just says; More chest hair. That seems like something that’s out of my control.

A real man wouldn’t say that. He would know that you can force out a thick mane of chest fuzz through sheer willpower.

Noted. Next you said; You can never have too much bacon.

Also correct.

This is dumb, none of this is telling me how to be a man. It mostly just seems like a list of dietary advice. How do I be tough? How do I get strong?

Jack stops chopping wood and looks up at Peter.

You really want to know what it means to be a man?

Yes, I really do.

Alright. First of all forget all that stuff about needing to be tough and strong, that has nothing to do with being a man. You can also forget all that other stuff I told you, that was just me messing with you, although it is still good advice. If you want to be a man, the kind who attracts woman and draws respect from other men, you only have to do one thing. Be a good guy. Be a good guy when the sun is shining and, perhaps more importantly, after you’ve had the worst day of your life. Give others respect and they’ll respect you back, and if they don’t, at least you’ll be able to respect yourself. Do nice things for others not because you want something in return but because it’s the right thing to do. The basic rule of how to be a man is simply don’t be an asshole. You should write that down.

Peter hurriedly does so.

Oh. And you should learn to chop wood.

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