52 Essential Skills for the Modern Man

From crowdfunding to foam rollers to tasteful sexting

January 8, 2018 9:00 am

It’s hard to talk about man skills without conjuring the kind of cartoonish images you might find on Don Draper’s cutting room floor.

Grilled T-bones. Straight-razor shaves. Tousling Junior’s hair after a brisk game of catch.

But the world has changed in recent years, and with it, the skills a gent requires for survival.

Hence: our list of 52 essential competencies for the modern man.

That’s one for each week of 2018, from using a foam roller to successfully crowdfunding a project to giving the missus a damn good massage. 

Just don’t forget to check on those T-bones.

For Taking Better Care of Your Body and Mind …

Throw around a Kettlebell
Swinging one properly will help you open your hips, strengthen your core and wage war against abysmal office posture.

Deep breathe
Revolutionary Dutch athlete Wim Hof once trekked up Everest in a bathing suit. His secret? A breathing method that might just change the way you work out.

Bike to work without sweating through your outfit
Save the environment. Save your coworkers the breadcrumb trail of perspiration you left behind last time.

Tell your friend he’s getting fat
Don’t: make lame jokes or talk behind his back. Do: scope some hikes and start hitting the gym together.

Eat healthy on the road
Working from the road often translates to 2,000-calorie meals and weeklong upset stomachs. There’s a better way.

Cure a hangover
Spicy Korean soup, morning jogs, McGriddles, charcoal capsules … we’ve got a full list of methods for beating the morning after.

Vanquish insomnia
Lifehacker Tim Ferriss delivers some savvy tips for getting some much-needed sleep in a digital world (spoiler: turn off your damn phone).

Use a foam roller
Staring at a screen all day isn’t doing your spine any favors. Enter the majesty of the foam roller.

Make a killer açaí bowl
The only post-workout superfood you need starts here. 

Examine your balls — for longevity
As told by Dr. Oz and a healthy array of spherical fruits and veggies.

For Actually Using That Room in Your House Known as the “Kitchen” …

Assemble a charcuterie board
A tutorial from our friends at Eataly on salumi, salami and the all-important meat-to-cheese ratio.

Make grilled chicken that doesn’t suck
For most of us, eating healthy means eating a lot of chicken. Use this recipe from Chicago’s The Publican to make that bird a delicacy.

Cold-brew your own coffee
Gone are the days of chucking a couple ice cubes into yesterday’s room-temp blend. Cold-brewing is the only way to drink iced coffee.

Mix the perfect martini
London’s leading cocktail expert on how to make (and order) a head-turning martini.

Throw a dinner party
Your boss, your in-laws and your boss’s in-laws are gonna be discussing this shindig long after it’s over. Here’s how to make sure their talking points are complimentary.

Make your kids a delicious grilled cheese
Your childhood staple, reimagined. The key? Butter. Lots of it.

Make bacon at home
Few things are better than bacon. But homemade bacon is definitely one of them.

For Wilderness Survival …

Take great travel photos on an iPhone
Don’t just slap “X-Pro II” on your photo of the Colosseum and call it a day.

Float downriver like a seasoned local
River-tubing is a religion in some parts of the world. Here’s to drifting like a god.

Cliff-jump like Jack Sparrow
Keep your limbs tight. Feet first if it’s over 30 feet. Definitely no rum beforehand.

Build a perfect campfire
Unless you’re planning to spend the rest of your life in a plush living room with voice-activated thermostats.

Survive a fall through ice
Keep in mind that Harry Bailey dies when George isn’t there to save him. Read closely.

Off-road like a pro
A five-step guide to achieving four-wheeling greatness. 

For Making, Saving and Spending Bank …

Crowdfund something — successfully
Kickstarter darlings solve obvious, everyday problems (some pressing to humanity, some not) and other tips from some of the platform’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Maximize your tax refund
The first time you might thank that bad back of yours … $35,000 swimming pool as a medical deduction, anyone?

Buy some gold
The rest of the room can talk Bitcoin all they want. Buying bars of Au 79 will still protect your wealth for posterity.

Invest in cannabis
Publicly traded marijuana commodity firms? Here’s how to get in on the Green Rush, people.

Buy a private island
Be the enigmatic uncle who invites the family to his island every Thanksgiving — without breaking the bank.

Open a brewery
Put the game on. Make sure the kitchen’s churning out tasty bar bites. And care about the craft.

For Proving That You’re Housebroken …

Organize all those f*cking cords
You can scour the globe for far-flung objects to decorate your pad all you want … that massive tangle of cords will still look like garbage.

Clean your grill
All great meat-flippers know these three definitive hacks for executing a toxin-free grill scrub.

Build a backyard theater
Netflix and … stargaze?

Drought-proof your lawn
Avoid being the neighborhood’s resident yellow-lawn guy … and save some water for the fish while you’re at it.  

Light up a room
Enlighten yourself with the finer points of illuminating a room, from floor lamps to chandeliers.

Organize your garage
“Cleaning the garage” shouldn’t need to be a 12-hour event every April. Do this once and you’ll be prepared for life.

Grow food indoors
Sure, succulents are great. But here’s to putting that green thumb of yours to practical use.

For Being Better at Sex, Dating and General Interactions With the Fairer Gender

Shake a woman’s hand
Or: how to shake any human being’s hand.

Sext better
Zoom out, ditch the mirror and always, always remember the life and lies of one Anthony Weiner.

Give a damn good massage
For Valentine’s Day, her birthday, or just plain old Wednesday. Meet her kneads.

Approach the sexiest woman in the room
Enough swiping. Rediscover the art of conversation. 

Buy lingerie for your lady
Necessary wisdom imparted by lingerie models. Wearing lingerie. 

For Being a Generally Polished and Well-Adjusted Man

Learn a name the first time you hear it
It is preposterously easy to meet six people in a row and not absorb a single name. Here are some hacks for remembering at least half of them.

Tie a bow tie
An oldie but goodie. Because clip-ons are for heathens.

Maintain a classic auto
Treat your classic car the way you’d treat yourself on a hike in the desert: fluids, fluids and more fluids.

Stay cool in high heat
On those days when your forearm makes a squelching sound when it leaves the desk, you need a plan of attack.

Don’t be a jerk
Make eye contact in conversation. Treat the service industry with respect. And don’t eat egg salad on public transport.

Speed through airport security
Real gents not only handle delays, they know how to avoid them.

Navigate an art opening
Just because the wine is free doesn’t mean you need to drink all of it.

Safeguard your identity online
In the Equifax era, identity protection is more important than ever.

Make more thoughtful playlists
There are few more satisfying compliments than a guest asking, “Who is this?” when you’re on the tunes.

Speak with eloquence
Use descriptors, not superlatives. And watch history’s greatest speeches: MLK, Lincoln, Aragorn.

Look like you know your way around a pool table
Whether you can actually shoot is a different question.

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