The Manual

1. Buy a shiny new axe from a hardware store, try Lowes.  This is not to be confused with Axe Body Spray.  Real men do not cloak their native scent.  There is nothing more pansy than Dark Temptation Chocolate Body Spray.

2. When standing in line purchasing this axe, look to your left to the mama’s boy holding the fertilizer and gardening tools, and repeat the following: “(Grunt)  Ah see you’s got a leash on yo neck like you was a puppy.  Tell me sport, do she make ya carry her purse too or, you gotchur own?”  Then proceed to laugh heartily, until you pay for your axe, then leave the store.

3. When driving in your baby blue Prius, stop by the neighborhood car dealer.  Listen carefully.  You are going to drive your Prius into the large pole supporting the revolving Mini Cooper.  While the staff is distracted and running towards you, run to the opposite side of the dealership and hop on the boss’s Harley Davidson motorcycle.  He was stupid enough to leave the keys in the ignition, who is going to steal his motorcycle when they are shopping for Mini Coopers?  That is what he thought before he met you.  A real man.  While driving away, do a poppa-wheelie to display your dominance.

4. Turn on the radio.  Set the station to 103.7, the Band.  Rock and Roll is as manly as it gets.  “Big Balls” by ACDC is playing in your honor, stud.  No one can see your eyes underneath your aviator/cop sunglasses.  You can stare at all the tits and asses you want, they’ll never be able to tell.  If you don’t have a mustache, grow one.  If you can’t grow one, you’re not a man and you should give up all hope now.

5. Pull out a cigar and light it when you reach the first red light.  Blow out as much smoke as possible, to create the illusion that “you’re so hot you’re on fire.” Chicks dig it.  Really.  If anyone gives you a dirty look, hawk a loogie onto their windshield and drive off, your acceleration as loud and raspy as possible.  Mutter the words, “Damn pussies” and snicker without coughing from all the smoke you inhaled.

6. Drive to “Blazin’ Guns Tattoo Parlor.”  Real men don’t get lost, they go on detours, so if you can’t find the place, there is no need to ask for directions.  When you walk in the wall will say, “IF YOUR TATTOOS ARE NOT BECOMING TO YOU… THEN DON’T BE COMING TO ME.”  Notice it.  Now grin using the left half of your mouth.  A leather-clad man with tear tattoos will approach you.  His name is Bullet.  If you want a penis tattooed to your forehead, ask him how he got his name.  On your right bicep, you’re going to get a tattoo of a naked woman begging on her knees.  Slap down two hundred dollars in cash on the front desk.  Don’t flinch, and if so much as one tear falls from your eye, you’ll have to do a thousand pull-ups to make up for it. Weakling.

7. Now that you have your tattoo, rip the sleeves off your shirt, so everyone can see it.  Chicks will be throwing their lacy panties at you, left and right.  A real man is never too tired to fuck, but we’re on a mission here.  Walk past them and into the bar.  Insult the yellow belly in the corner’s tattoo.  Yours is far manlier.  When he strikes, pick up a bar stool with one arm and smash it into his wimpy skull.  Then sit down like nothing happened, take out a cigarette, light it, and blow it into the voluptuous bartender’s breasts while repeating the following: “I like my women like I like my steak—tender, well-done, and smothered in A-1 sauce.  How ‘bout a whiskey for a real man?”  Now throw a fifty dollar bill over the counter.  Smack her ass when she bends down to pick it up.  Say, “Keep the change, sweet-heart.”  Walk back to the man-cycle and speed off into the approaching night.

8. Now having displayed your ultimate man-ity in front of the town, it’s time to interact with nature: Man’s favorite enemy.  Remember that axe you purchased at Lowes?  Drive to the wilderness and bring nothing but your axe with you.  Let the moonlight guide you as you hike deep into the forest.  Take a hack at a little bit of everything, until you find the tree.  Yes, the tree that will determine just how much of a man you are in comparison to your creator.  Once you find that tree, start hacking away.  Use the same passion you use when making love to a woman.  Since you have so much experience, this should not be hard.

9. When the tree falls, you may finally eat your dinner.  Unlike a poser, you are going to live off the land.  A furry little bunny passes you while you sit on your stump.  Kill it.  Now start a fire using nothing but sticks and stones.  It has been done before, but only by the manliest of men, so if you don’t succeed, it’s alright, you’re just not as man as you thought you were.  The scent of your skinned bunny attracts Big Foot.  This is inevitable.  Dig a hole and hide the bunny in it.  Now paint your face with mud, so as to camouflage yourself.  Big Foot will not fight with an axe, so you will not fight with an axe.  You’re going to jump on his back and strangle him with your bare hands.  Big Foot is immortal, he will not die, but he will be unconscious.

10. Now dig out your bunny and roast it over the fire.  Use the skin to make a hat for yourself.  This will prevent hypothermia. Return to your man-cycle and drive back to town to bask in the aroma of your unmistakable labors of masculinity.  If you come across a man with bloody, tattooed arms, stubble, and a fur hat, show him some respect.  He’s a real man.


Jessica Barrog is a senior in the Creative Writing Department at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts High School.  Her work has been published in the school’s literary journal, Umlaut, Spirit Magazine, 826 Valencia’s SFUSD Project, and  She aspires to make people laugh because humor is often forgotten in times as difficult as these.

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