The Maxims of Manhood by Jeff Wilser

Maxims of Manhood smI am not usually one to go in for books like  The Maxims of Manhood: 100 Rules Every Real Man Must Live By.  I don’t read many pop culture lists, or what you might call gimmick type material, but this one came in the mail and I started flipping through it to see what it was all about.  I ended up putting it in the “office” – come on, you know you do the same thing – and my wife and I both ended up reading through the rules.

It turned out to be a pretty funny collection of mini-essays.  Wilser breaks the Maxims down into the following areas: General Behavior, Sports, Women, Health and Food, Style, Work, Entertainment, Buddies, Women Revisited, And Don’t Forget.

Many of them are the sort of stereotypical male things you would expect: guys don’t talk on chit chat on the phone, know anything about colors or flowers, don’t share their emotions, etc.  But the writing is lively enough and sense of humor good enough that it works surprisingly well.  I will admit t regular chuckling and a few times where I laughed out loud.

One of the interesting things is how the book attempts to balance the obvious politically incorrect nature of much of the writing with an effort not to offend.  Wilser pulls it off for the most part by arguing that men can be men without being jerks.  But at times it seems like he is rounding off the edges so to avoid coming off as to crass.  It is not always and easy line to draw.

A few of my favorite examples below.

Here is one of my favorites to give you a flavor:

#8 Use the Diaper Bag Only for Diapers

ITS UNAVOIDABLE. When you spawn a child, you’ll be obligated to wipe her poop, clean her vomit, and scrape her mucus from the remote control.  Which is fine.  That goes with the territory.  But something else awaits you, something far more troubling: the diaper bag.

You’re allowed to wear a diaper bag.  Don’t let anyone knock it.  Sure, maybe it looks a little sissy, but it’s the ultimate symbol of your virility – triumphant proof of the power of your loins.  You did it. You impregnated a woman.  On purpose, even! So you wear that diaper bag, and you wear it with honor.

Yet you must avoid the following temptation.  That diaper bag will have several pouches.  One of the pockets is just the perfect size for your cell phone.  It could also fit your wallet.  Maybe , even, it could hold your car keys.  A pack of gum, Your iPod.

Don’t do it.  This is a line you must not cross.  The second you put your cell phone in the pocket, it sops becoming a diaper bag and starts becoming a purse. You’re no longer the proud father – you’re a dud carrying a purse.  The diaper bag may contain one thing and one thing only: diapers.

Here are a few more of my favorites:

  • Know How To Make a Killer Breakfast
  • Spend More on Beer Than on Haircuts
  • Dress Your Age
  • Your Contacts Are Irritated; Those Aren’t Tears
  • No Poking on Facebook
  • Hate the Fondler Not the Phone
  • Your Dog Must Be Larger Than a Toaster
  • Find a Closer Spot (parking)

As I said, this is not something I would seek out but it is a quirky, funny, and easy read (if you want to call it that).

So if you are looking for something to get the men in your life but you don’t want it to be too serious The Maxims of Manhood might fit the bill.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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