Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: 25 Things you need to be a man

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  • Rich Lock,

    Oh, and the best thing about torque wrenches is that they usually have an enormously long shaft.....

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2358 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I find a lot of the actual items on the Popular Mechanics list annoying - the baseline assumption that to be a man, you must be a driver, for instance.

    Hear hear!

    But let's not quibble about the individual points: what they're basically getting at is the idea that you should be able to do stuff for yourself if you have to - that you shouldn't necessarily be dependent on someone else to get stuff done for you.

    And why should that not apply equally to women?

    But I think what they're stabbing at is that, in your own environment, you should be able to do stuff for yourself if you need to. And even for the most dedicated urban dandy, there are going to be times that you need to jury-rig something until you can get the professionals in.

    Oh, of course. I've been known to improvise a cocktail shaker from old Maraschino cherry jars, add a fur collar to my dressing gown or translate the occasional passage of Rimbaud, just to make do in the absence of a professional bartender, tailor or Francophone.

    Of course, three things are always manly:
    1) Beards
    2) Scars
    3) Tattoos

    The third usually counts, unless it's of flowers and Art Nouveau ladies in flowing dresses. Ahem.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Something I'm detecting about this thread. Might we be getting confused about what it is to be a towny? rather than urban manly.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2601 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    I think Tom might be about to cross the line between fop and rake.

    And 'tis but a small step from a rake to a roué ..

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 653 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    I find a lot of the actual items on the Popular Mechanics list annoying - the baseline assumption that to be a man, you must be a driver, for instance.

    Isn't that in the original post? ah yes it is:

    In fact, can the Popular Mechanics' version of a man (even the new provider/protector version) exist in urban settings where owning a car isn't an asset but knowing the best place for cheap Thai food is?

    And I knew I shouldn't have edited them out but the first draft had " " around every "man".

    Tom B's Urban Male overlaps the Traditional Man from PopMech in the ideas of being a strong survivor in their relative environments. I purposefully removed any skills that were about creation/creativity. As someone said much earlier the Traditional Man skills are about "doing things", which I put at the opposite end of the spectrum to "creating things".

    Actually, given the references to escaping from outraged husbands and general debauchery, I think Tom might be about to cross the line between fop and rake.

    Yeah but did you ever kill a rat with a rake?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Also I didn't want anything in the list about sexual prowess because, quite frankly, it's a good thing if both (all?) participants have teh bedroom skillz.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Try it like this: Placemakers and Miter10 are gentleman-shop for Ladies.

    I'm not entirely sure where your analogy is going. There's still the underlying assumption that if you're a man, you're interested in carpentry and suchlike, and that is an assumption that I reject. Quite apart from the fact that such barns of blokiness are normally situated in godawful suburbs, the only real reason that a gentleman need visit such a place is for picture hooks.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Something I'm detecting about this thread. Might we be getting confused about what it is to be a towny? rather than urban manly.

    Well, exactly. The whole Popular Mechanics assumption is based upon a rural/suburban lifestyle, which Hadyn has countered by suggesting that urban survival is based upon negotiating a landscape of social interactions, cultural symbolism and economic interdependence rather than a world of nuts and bolts. But somehow, the thread went quickly back to power tools.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    that you shouldn't necessarily be dependent on someone else to get stuff done for you.

    And why should that not apply equally to women?

    Indeed. I think it'd have been better phrased as "stuff you should be able to do", but then they wouldn't have been able to bring the masculinity lure in.

    Personally, I'm just astonished that basic cooking isn't on the list. I mean, how often do you actually bleed your brakes, versus how often you eat dinner? Surely the ability to cook dinner is more useful day-to-day than the ability to cackhandedly perform a mechanical repair with serious safety consequences?

    As someone said much earlier the Traditional Man skills are about "doing things", which I put at the opposite end of the spectrum to "creating things".

    I'm going out on a limb here, and I'm going to say that cooking bacon and eggs is much more about "doing" than "creating". Cooking can, and should, be creative, but it can also be about robotically following a recipe in order to achieve an edible result. You don't have to be creative to be a good cook; you just have to have a particular skill set associated with the preparation of food.

    But that's back into quibbling about items, and as mentioned above, I don't think that's the point. It's more about the spirit of the list, man. The spirit. Yeah.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    a landscape of social interactions, cultural symbolism and economic interdependence

    Because none of that happens in the suburbs where all we rubes live?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3628 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Should "make your own spirits" be on the list then? :)

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 791 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I'm going out on a limb here, and I'm going to say that cooking bacon and eggs is much more about "doing" than "creating".

    I would describe cooking bacon and eggs in the same subject category of the ephemeral arts.

    Meet Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The ephemeral artists.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2601 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Hadyn, your thread seems to have denegrated into a hundred posts of "this popular mechanic man-thing doesn't reflect what PAS thinks of men-things". Which I suspect we all knew to start with.

    I find a lot of the actual items on the Popular Mechanics list annoying - the baseline assumption that to be a man, you must be a driver, for instance.

    I don't think that everyone should be a driver. I think that everyone should know how to drive, even if you never plan to. One accident or health emergency affecting someone else and knowing which end of the knobs and pedals work is going to suddenly become important.

    Along with swimming.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    *hopes I haven't just derailed this into a discussion about arts vs crafts*

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Should "make your own spirits" be on the list then? :)

    I doesn't put hair on your chest, and it will interfere with your sense of direction, so...

    Since Nov 2006 • 2601 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    *hopes I haven't just derailed this into a discussion about arts vs crafts*

    "Applied arts" more better than craft:)

    Since Nov 2006 • 2601 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Because none of that happens in the suburbs where all we rubes live?

    I'm tempted to agree, but ... what I'm saying is that the emphasis of the suburban/rural Poular Mechanics model of handymanliness is on self-reliance and hands-on interaction with the physical world, rather than on interdependence and navigating the socioeconomic world: filleting a fish and painting the walls rather than knowing which restaurant has the freshest fish and choosing an artwork to decorate your home.

    In fact, much of suburban life is (I am told) just as enmeshed in the globalised economy of specialised products and services as is urban life, and yet it often persists with a myth of rugged independence. Many people will happily call a tradesperson or order Pizza Hut, while occasionally proving their "real kiwi" credentials by having a barbecue or building a deck. The PopMech idealists perhaps share something with the "Good Life" strand of green lifestylers, tut-tutting over the modern softies who have to (gasp!) rely on other people for certain tasks rather than bleeding their own brakes or raising chooks.

    Urban life doesn't give you the option: I'm hardly going to start growing potatoes in my sink, and if I tried to knock a wall through I'd get a stern letter from the body corporate. But I don't feel any less of a "man" for that, and I don't feel any pressure from ads for Supercheap Auto or Mitre 10 to confirm to some DIY mythology.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    filleting a fish and painting the walls rather than knowing which restaurant has the freshest fish and choosing an artwork to decorate your home.

    Fish fins in Newtown, Wellington (order the Tarakihi when the wind blows from the westerly quarter)

    Maori contemporary art. Say how about a Hemi Mcgregor, early stylistic in oils.

    Do I get the girl?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2601 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm hardly going to start growing potatoes in my sink

    Nonono. You clean them in the sink. You grow them in buckets. Or decent bags.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    much of suburban life is (I am told)

    I kinda wish that someone would spill the beans on you by saying that you grew up in Levin or something. Heh. :)

    I understand what you're saying about the 'ideal form' of suburbanism (I think I just invented a word), but I think it's reductive to assume that there's some kind of oppositional groupthink involved. There are plenty of suburbanites who get people to do things for them. I like my house, but I don't know how to fix anything in it, and I'm not planning to learn; I like cut grass, but I pay someone else to mow the lawn; I decorate using picture hooks, not paint. I don't think apartment living gives you the monopoly on DIY uselessness, or usefulness in other areas of life. It's an oddly impermeable line you're drawing there. I get that you're creating this Urban Sophisticate persona, and it's all very entertaining, but... yeah. I dunno. I'm probably overthinking this.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3628 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I kinda wish that someone would spill the beans on you by saying that you grew up in Levin or something. Heh. :)

    I didn't grow up, I sprung fully-formed from an attic above Lock & Co Hatters in St James', the result of an occult experiment involving a fez, a first edition of Les Fleurs du Mal and a quart of Tanqueray.

    suburbanism (I think I just invented a word)

    I prefer "suburbanality" myself.

    I think it's reductive to assume that there's some kind of oppositional groupthink involved. There are plenty of suburbanites who get people to do things for them.

    Oh of course, and I said as much in my last comment. My point is that for suburbanites the cult of DIY is an option, and one strongly encourage by New Zild culture (and other new world cultures), whereas for urbanites it is much more limited and much less expected. If you don't have a car or an outdoors, if a property manager looks after your apartment, and if you don't feel the need to rush off to the country and kill things every weekend, then virtually everything on PopMech's list is irrelevant to being "a man".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Nonono. You clean them in the sink. You grow them in buckets. Or decent bags.

    I neither grow nor clean potatoes. I order them as a side dish in the form of rosemary roast potatoes at Floriditas or pommes puree at Duke Carvell's No. 6 Swan Lane Emporium.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1039 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    @ Danielle. I usually ask the Librarian for help, to find my books about dyslexia, or how to compress hydrogen, with out needing to obtain resource consent.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2601 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Looking over them again. Those lists are almost camp, so brash (not Don of course) as if to say "Wham bam I am a Man".

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1145 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I didn't grow up, I sprung fully-formed from an attic above Lock & Co Hatters in St James', the result of an occult experiment involving a fez, a first edition of Les Fleurs du Mal and a quart of Tanqueray.

    I'm a fan.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

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