No man is born with any of these skills – but all should spend their life acquiring them (in no particular order):
Cook (not just grill) – Start simple guys; learn how to make eggs four different ways.
Buy Clothing – Specifically, learn how to look good in a suit. Be aware of how you look and what it is you like/dislike. Be secure enough in your manliness with feeling fabric. If it feels like a burlap sack it will wear like one. Always get fitted. When in doubt, look for the best dressed associate in the store… and have him help you!
Sew a Button / Iron Your Shirt – Because, at some point, one of your dress shirts (see previous skill) will require mending… and there is no reason to ask your wife to do something so simple.
Shave – I’m not talking about lathering up with some pressurized gel and swiping it off with a quintuple-bladded razor. Any boy can learn to do that. Teach yourself to use a straight razor; or at the very least a safety razor.
Properly Tie a Necktie – Whether it’s a bowtie, a standard necktie, or (my preference) both… learn to look good.
Console a crying Woman – Being a gentleman doesn’t mean you have to carry a handkerchief – but offering a clean tissue will certainly help. If she doesn’t tell you to go away ask her how you might be able to help. Don’t get all bent out of shape, her feelings are legitimate. Proceed, according to her wishes, until she says she’s okay.
Parallel Park – The first step is admitting you have a problem.
Basic Home Repair – Learn to swing a hammer (and sucessfully drive a ten-penny nail into a 2×4). One rule applies in basic plumbing and electrical wiring: turn off the main!
Carve a Turkey – Let Alton Brown show you how it’s done. Not only does he carve a mean turkey, he also regularly wears bow ties. Bonus.
Prepare a Drink – Whether you’re mixing a martini or brewing a cup of coffee – do it with excellence. It’s never as simple as just combining the correct ingredients. Put some care and attention into what you’re doing.
Very Basic Automotive – Jump-start a car (with zero drama). Change your oil, plugs, and air filter (at least once). Fix a flat tire (safely).
Shine Your Own Shoes – Chance are, unless you join the military, you’ll never be punished for not having a pair of well-shined shoes. Nonetheless, it’s an essential man-skill. Not only does it look good… it also maintains your shoes and lengthens their lifespan.
Read and Write – Guys, please. The sports page does NOT count. Pick a book that matters and then set a goal (example: 8 books this year). Guaranteed, your grammar skills will increase and so will your writing ability. You’re never going to be Ernest Hemingway… but making a habit to write some Thank You notes wouldn’t kill you.
Throw a Punch – Swing with your shoulders, not your arm. Step in close (long punches rarely land squarely). Follow through; don’t pop and pull back. Trust me, you don’t have a roundhouse or a haymaker – don’t try it. Final caveat: every man should master this skill while secretly hoping he never has to use it.
Show Respect – In the following order: Age, Experience, Record, Reputation. Oh, and never mention any of it.
Talk to a Woman – You know that one guy at church or work that you really admire? He does his job with a quiet confidence. He doesn’t feel the need to tell stupid jokes. He doesn’t eye you up. He knows things you don’t but doesn’t talk about them endlessly. He never apologizes for his status or his job or the way he’s dressed. You know how wildly inviting that seems? Be that guy.
Order at a Restaurant – Lift your chin and don’t talk into the menu. Make eye contact with your waiter. You don’t own the restaurant, so don’t act like it. You own the transaction.
Build a Campfire – Light the tinder, feed on the kindling, lay on the fuel wood. Be patient.
Shake a Man’s Hand – Shaking someone’s hand is simple: steady, firm, pump, let go. Make eye contact. It’s not like holding a woman’s hand (but some of you guys need to work on that, too).
Ask for Help – It’s simple and it doesn’t mean you’re weak. Guys who refuse to ask for help are the most cursed of all men.