10 Things Every Man Need to Know by 30
Being a man in the modern world is a tricky exercise. You’re expected to know and understand more than generations before, and the balance between confident manliness and toxic masculinity feels like a precarious balancing act. The trick to it all is that you don’t have to perfect adulthood overnight. Instead, you can set some benchmarks. These are all pretty easy to hit by 30.
1. How to Fix a Car
You don’t need to be a certified mechanic, but you should be able to service your own fluids, filters, spark plugs and belts. That doesn’t make it wrong to still pay someone else to do it, but understanding these basics are essential to avoiding repair scams and being useful when friends or family get stranded on the side of the road. In the same vein, you should be comfortable with a socket set and be able to assemble furniture.
2. How to Dress
It’s ok if you can’t name famous designers and aren’t perfectly up to date on the hottest trends. It’s even ok to keep your old pair of immensely comfortable basketball shorts. What isn’t ok is to be 30 and not have a tailored suit. You need to know how to pair shoes, your tailored dimensions and more than one way to tie a tie.
3. A Few Good Drinks
No one is into every type of alcohol. Still, you need to know if you prefer ales or stouts, basic types of wine and the differences between bourbon, Scotch and whiskey (it starts with where they’re made). It’s also important to note your knowledge gaps. Everyone has a choice drink they would love to introduce to you, so let them.
4. How to Cook
Yeah, you have that one pasta dish you can make that isn’t too shabby. No one is impressed. If you can’t get around a kitchen and keep up when someone explains one of their favorite dishes, you have an embarrassing knowledge gap. It’s ok to forgo advanced French techniques, but you should be able to identify and use every utensil in a stock kitchen.
5. How Much You Can Drink
If your team wins a national championship or you are going through a messy divorce, then it might be excusable to get sloppy drunk. Otherwise, a 30-year-old man has no excuse being carried home. Know your limits, and know how much of a hangover you will have from what you’re drinking now. This is particularly important because weddings will have you drinking from brunch until past midnight with no real breaks in between. If you don’t know your pace, you won’t make it to the end.
6. How to Talk Dirty
This is the adult version of knowing how to ask out a girl. It’s hard to avoid awkwardness unless you actually get to know your partner a little before you get to the bedroom. Even in the pursuit of a short-term hookup, an adult knows how to enjoy romancing. If you pay attention at all and don’t rush headlong towards the bed, you’ll get a good feel for your partner and be able to perform effective dirty talk. It certainly takes your game to the next level.
7. How to Keep it Clean
Stained toilets and dirty sinks are inexcusable. So are unkempt floors, unmade beds (at least if you’re expecting company), unmanaged facial hair and wildly untamed body hair. Your body, your home and your mode of transportation reflect the care you show to yourself and others. It sounds old fashioned, but maintaining yourself really is a sign of respect to the people around you.
8. How to Take Criticism
You’re old enough now to be honest with your general fallibility. You’ll never be perfect at anything, and that’s ok. It’s still not an excuse to forgo self-improvement. Even in the face of the most vicious, unreasonable internet trolling is a nugget of truth. Read between the lines and search for an actionable way to be or do better next time. It’s a surprisingly positive outlook and will take the sting out of the most hateful words.
9. How to Give a Compliment
Cheesy pickup lines have their place in the world. This is something different. It is said that the key to asking is to respect the other party’s right to say no. Similarly, the key to a proper compliment is to expect nothing back. It’s easy. The next time you catch yourself pleasantly surprised, speak up. Just don’t center the words around yourself. The difference between “I’m surprised you can make something so delicious” and “this tastes better than I could have even hoped” is few in words and vast in meaning. The former emphasizes your expectations while the latter emphasizes the impressiveness at hand.
10. The Difference Between a 401K and an IRA
No one is expecting you to outshine Warren Buffett. In fact, you don’t have to be a financial expert at all. What is necessary is knowing enough of the basics to recognize good and bad advice for what they are. More importantly, by 30, you should have the discipline to make and stick to a realistic budget.
Even if you’re past 30, it’s never too late. If you find yourself a little short in an area, get to work!