Challenge Update #1

As I pass the first checkpoint, I feel like I’ve learned so much already, but I really haven’t scratched the surface of my manly syllabus.  Today, I’m taking a step back and reviewing what I’ve accomplished and, more importantly, what I’ve retained.  So I’m taking a stroll through the first ten challenges to see which manly activities I’m still pursuing, and what’s fallen by the wayside.

Week 1: Tie a Tie

I reviewed this skill during the suit challenge, but I haven’t had much opportunity or reason to wear a tie otherwise.  During the suit challenge, I did have to look up the Pratt knot online, but I’m proud that I remembered how to tie a bowtie without resorting to Google.  Or tears.

Week 2: Shave with a Safety Razor

Of course, the Friday morning after I posted this challenge, in which I mocked the Shaving Gods for allowing me to shave without further injury, I nicked my chin and bled all over our bathroom sink.  Since then, I’ve used the safety razor a couple times, but I usually default to my old razor because it’s just a whole lot quicker.  At least that’s the excuse I give.

Week 3: Drink Scotch

Yeah, I’m doing okay on this one.  (Taking suggestions for my next bottle…)

Week 4: Fix a Flat

I don’t have a car in New York, so unfortunately I don’t have an opportunity to practice this particular manly skill.  However, in an upcoming multi-part challenge, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m forced to apply what I’ve learned in the real world (as opposed to the fantasy manly world I live in on Fridays). 

Week 5: Shoot a Gun

I haven’t had the desire to go back to the range, though I’m not diametrically opposed to another visit.  I’m currently mulling over some other weapons I could give a go – here’s hoping the next Hunger Games movie in November will provide some inspiration…

Week 6: Smoke a Pipe

After the challenge, the only other time I smoked didn’t last long because it was still winter and I’m a wimp when it comes to cold.  I’m looking forward to bringing the pipe out for special occasions now that spring has sprung, though I may have to refill my stash, seeing as my current pipe tobacco has the consistency and texture of damp Big League Chew.

Week 7: Drive a Stick Shift

I readily admitted that I don’t deserve the gold star for this challenge, since I don’t believe I’ve reached competency yet.  Again, New York prevents me from practicing more, but I think I’ll have at least one opportunity this summer to revisit the dreaded stick shift.  I’ll be sure to post an update when I do.

Week 8: Wear a Suit Everyday

I think this challenge functioned more as a wake up call to take more care in my appearance than in the literal sense of wearing a suit everyday.  I’m happy to say I’ve been taking those lessons to heart.  It’s only been a short while since this challenge, but I’ve already been to the tailor to hem some pants, bought some new clothes that weren’t hoodies or tees, and threw out several pairs of socks with holes in them.  I’m not at my GQ destination, but I’ve at least turned on the GPS.

Week 9: Eat Like a Man

No to more raw eggs, thank you very much.  And when I return to Kenka, I’ll stick to the hot sake and the cotton candy they serve for dessert.  As for the hot peppers, the comments I received on the post lead me to believe that this particular challenge is saddled with an asterisk, due to the faulty habaneros we used.  One awfully kind commenter (emphasis on awful) offered one of his Ghost Peppers as a follow-up challenge.  I’m not sure where I stand on reentering the ring of pepper pain, but something tells me I haven’t seen the last of this challenge.  Though I may be seeing the last of my taste buds. 

Week 10: Fall Without Fear

I would do the actual jumping again in a second and would even consider jumping from higher, though the instructors made it clear we couldn’t fall from above 30 feet without more training.  In terms of the actual lesson of the challenge, letting go of control and putting an end to overthinking, avid readers will know that this is what I struggle with nearly every week.  It’s going to take several more challenges before I can rule it a success or a failure.

And that’s the first ten weeks.  I haven’t noticed any major psychological or physical transformations (still seem to have the same amount of chest hair), but I’m hoping those manly vibes are working their way into my subconscious.  In any case, I’m not done by a long shot – there’s still plenty of bull penis to eat.  Figurative bull penis, of course.  One literal one was enough.