Gifts for Men 2010: Ideas to Improve Our Manliness

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art of manliness gift guide

What I love most about gear and equipment is not the gear and equipment - I love the gear and equipment that has some style and that lasts a long time. I'm not much of a sucker for the latest thing (That's you, Vibram Five Fingers). I'm a sucker for time tested stuff that's reliable, trustworthy. I'm at that age in which I realize I'm quite finished with buying things based on looks and price because I'm tired of being disappointed in my money spent - and, if I must say it, I'd like to feel like I have a sense of class and style. Form follows function right to the winner's circle. Example: while you'll still hear lines in songs about 1968 Mustangs, in 40 years we will likely never hear another peep about the Chevrolet Chevette except in a punch line.

This is why I wholly approve of Art of Manliness' Holiday Gift Guide (external link).  They say, "We try to hunt down and share the kind of products an Art of Manliness Man would want to find under the Christmas tree: manly, useful, and classic. The sort of stuff you’d find in Grandpa’s house."

Yeah, Grandpa's house. You know why I want to have stuff that I'd find at Grandpa's house?  Because, one day, I'd like to have some grand kids poking around my shed, telling each other lies, and getting totally lost in my old, timeless gear. Then I'll tell them a bunch of my stories, entirely embellished if not totally falsified, but surely to keep them slackjawed.  And they'll love me. And they, too, will believe that gear ought to be rugged, stylish, high quality, and hand made crafted when ever possible.

So that's the thing, good people.  A new coffee mug is nice, yes.  Lord knows I gave my own father a whole cabinetful over the course of 18 years. But more than anything, I think, we young 21st Century outdoorsmen want to grow up to be revered old men - gifts like the ones on this list is how you help us do that.

See the list:

My Personal Favs:

vintage cocktails

Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie 100 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind Them

"Can I fix ya a drink, neighbor?" Offering your neighbor a drink ranks as a top manly gesture.  Sure, a beer works, but ratchet up the offering with something specially made with a bit of history to it. It'd put a lousy Coors Light in a can to pitiful shame.

Snow and Nealley Hickory Handled Ax

Frankly, axes should have hickory handles, because it's a beautiful earthy from-whence-it-came kind of deal. I will admit, too, that I don't even own an ax.  Sure, I've peeked at the synthetic handled versions at my neighborhood Home Depot; bright yellow handles. I don't know.  They lacked - forgive me for saying it like this - they lacked soul. Anyway, that's why this is on my list to the guy at the North Pole.

beautiful Saddleback Leather bag

Saddleback Briefcase

In case you ever wondered, Saddleback leather goods have the right amount of "silent, strong type" and rugged subtlety - exactly the briefcase a man should have to make the statement.  Not some $25 nylon thing imported from China.

wood tote

Duluth Trading Wood Tote

I couldn't even use a wood tote because I live in the Sonoran Desert, but if my dreams of being a cowboy ranch owner in Montana come to fruition one day, I'll need one.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain's Autobiography

Apparently, it was Twain's wish that his autobiography be published 100 years after his death; guess when he died? Arguably, he was the definition of the American male. Samuel Clemens (nom de plum Mark Twain) was well traveled, he knew how to earn a living with manual labor, wrote with boundless wit and the laser-like capacity to call bullshit when he saw it. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in 1885, held the throne as the Great American Novel until Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby came around in, oh, 1925.

I'd like to mix a drink from the vintage cocktails book above, and toast Twain.  Right here and now.


+3 / 0
# nathan 2010-12-20 01:35
Dude, you so need this book:
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