Being a man is hard. Around every corner in our modern world, there are things designed to undermine men and transform the very concept of manhood. Stuff like Japanese food, yoga, romantic comedies, and tropical beverages are threatening the structure of what it means to be a man.
When I think about what has happened to men throughout history, including men just like me, I’m tempted to cry in to my beer. I consider my father one of the more tragic examples: he goes for walks now. He drinks decaf.
Luckily for those of us struggling with our fading manhood, Jeff Wilser is here to help. The Maxims of Manhood: 100 Rules Every Real Man Must Live By provides just the kick in the ass men need in this day and age of moisturizing hand-soaps, bottled water, and diminishing urinal confidentiality.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t all be Jack Bauer (believe me, I’ve tried). Thanks to Wilser’s book, however, we can at least be Steven Seagal.
Wilser organizes his book simply, like a man should, into categories that help define his rules and put them where they belong. Like a beautifully-organized tool shelf, he divides his Maxims of Manhood into areas like “Sports,” “Work,” “Buddies,” “Women,” and “Women Revisited.” This useful approach makes it easy to peruse his book without spilling any Coors Light on the sofa.
Wilser, a former USMC Reserves squad leader, knows the struggles of men all too well. When he was six-years-old, he cried at E.T. and has never been the same since. The Maxims of Manhood is, in many ways, his reparation for breaking the rules. He recognizes that the world has evolved but that the ideologies of manhood never quite caught up.
When it comes to women, today’s modern man certainly needs coaching. It is no longer acceptable, like it was in the '80s, to club a woman and drag her back to the ol’ cave. Nowadays, the average woman is more intelligent and usually doesn’t fall for the “look over there” trick.
Wilser’s advice comes in particularly handy when he picks apart moments of social terror in order to prevent catastrophe.
Take his advice to “End the Call First,” for instance. While acknowledging the power of the telephone to help us order pizza, Wilser also notes the danger it can bring. By ending a call with a female first, men gain the upper hand by not being the “blabberer.” That’s the woman’s job.
In other areas, Wilser is just as supportive. His advice to order food that is larger than the woman’s is staggeringly understandable, while his recommendation to “slap his ass” during sporting encounters finally clears up a turbulent and often treacherous concern between men not hiding in public restroom stalls.
With The Maxims of Manhood, Jeff Wilser rescues the subjugated with simple language and easy-to-read verbal flourish. His maxims are explicable and entertaining, creating the ultimate manual for men who feel they’ve lost their place in this kinder, gentler cosmos.