Be a man! (Non-toxic edition)

Driving to pick up my child from high school the other day, I was thinking, as most parents are right now, about the recent school shooting in Florida. Which made me think of the previous school shooting, and the one before that, and the one before that, and that got me to worrying about the next one. That lead me to consider masculinity, and frankly, maleness. Most specifically, straight, white, masculinity. What is it, exactly? What does it even mean these days? And how did it get to be so fragile that some guys think the only way to embody maleness is through violent force?

It just so happened that this was the day after a big ice storm in our town, and on my drive to pick up my child — which is short — I noticed no fewer than three pickup trucks with snow plows affixed to the front of them. That, I thought. That could be the simple fix to transforming masculinity from toxic to positive. Here, then, is a list of things straight guys can purchase or participate in that are super manly, won’t cause mass death, and might even help someone else:

A truck plow

If you’re the kinda guy who might consider purchasing a semi-automatic weapon, then I figure you’re also the kind of guy who might also already be driving a pickup truck. And dude, if you’re driving a pickup truck, then you need to trick that sucker out with a very manly snow plow. What the hell are you even waiting for? Snow plows run the gamut in price from about five hundred bucks to six thousand dollars, depending on how fancy you want to get. For such a small investment, you will be a straight-up HERO in the wintertime. For real. Old people and single mothers will worship you.

Bonus: Make a few bucks on the side.

Boxing Lessons

This is for those guys who feel like they have aggression to release and have nowhere to put it. How cool would it be to just beat the crap out of some other sweaty guy a couple times a week? And what real man couldn’t use the occasional black eye as an amazing accessory? That’s some tough-looking shit.

Bonus: Acts as an exercise program.

A motorcycle

Is there any more masculine vehicle than a Harley? Okay, maybe an F-16. You’re not getting an F-16. But you could get a Harley. First off, in order to even get on a Harley, you must be wearing some sort of honking man-boots, whether they be steel-toed, hiking or cowboy. It also helps if you’re wearing the requisite leather jacket.

Bonus: You get to date chicks that dig motorcycles.

A crossbow

I don’t care who you are, crossbows are fucking badass. Crossbows are another item that range widely in cost and provide not only personal protection, but recreation. Lest you think that a crossbow is not a powerful weapon, the truth is that a crossbow is deadly for large game from as far away as 30 to 60 yards.

Bonus: Kill free meat.

A chainsaw

In addition to frightening people, chainsaws serve double-duty by being a useful tool not everyone owns. Picture the scene: There’s been a storm. A bad one. We’re talking a hundred-years kinda thing. You emerge from your house to find that the neighbor’s elm is down. How cool would it be to mosey over and be like, “Hey, man. Looks like you need some help. Why don’t I go get my chainsaw?”

Bonus: Use it to do home landscaping, and also say cool things to your friends like: “I got a chainsaw you can borrow, Bruh.”

A nail gun

A nail gun is another one of those manly items that serves several manly purposes. Not only can you protect your family with it, you can build stuff with it. Nail guns are powerful, easy to operate and responsible for about 37,000 emergency room visits each year.

Bonus: Has the word “gun” in the name!

A trebuchet

Hear me out. This is one is for physics geeks, and guys who like to work with their hands. The trebuchet is one of man’s earliest weapons of mass destruction, versatile in ways that can be highly entertaining. Consider the variety of projectiles trebuchets are capable of firing:

- big rocks

- dog poop from your back yard

- old washing machines

- dead bodies full of disease

- pumpkins

Bonus: It’s not just a weapon, but a construction project! (Use your new nail gun!)

A still

A still is a manly option for the guy who’s into math, chemistry and mechanics. Once you’ve got the basics of distillation down, you can fine-tune your skills and experiment with various liquors, digestifs and brandies. Stills can also act as artistic expressions of self and can look as hillbilly, steampunk or elegant as you wish. Impress your friends!

Bonus: Running a still, no matter how small, is illegal in the U.S., you bad, bad boy!

Writer, Kansan, wife, mom, essayist, journalist, reproductive rights activist, Jayhawk, dork. Support me on Patreon! amberfraley. com @KSAbortionFund

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