A nautical adage: “In olden times, ships were made of wood, and men were made of iron. In these times, ships are made of iron, and men are made of wood.” Is this true? Are we in the era of metro men made of wood and plastic? Are you a metro man or a True Man, a man of iron?
Certainly a True Man is not the wimpy adult male portrayed on TV—a slouchy goof splayed on a couch with his buddies in a man cave drinking beer and watching football on a giant screen while playing video games. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). Or the GQ guy in the fancy Mercedes with bling hanging from his ears, an Android in his hand, and sporting a fat stock portfolio. So what are the attributes of a modern man of iron? I have pondered this for some time and have developed a 20-item test with representative male-centered items which indicate the extent of a guy’s True Man status. Are you willing to take the test? If not, please click off this essay right now, and you won’t be offended.
If you are 18 or over and willing to take the test, get out a piece of paper and a pencil, write out a column of numbers from 1 to 20, and simply answer YES or NO to the 20 statements below. After you have finished, score yourself and see where you stand. Note that some items have multiple parts—you must meet everything on that item to indicate YES. Also, some items will ask if you have done something once that you have done a thousand times—just say YES. Please read each item carefully, and think whether the statement is true about you. Here we go:
The True Man Test
1-In the wilderness, I have started a fire from scratch and have built a comfortable shelter from found materials (e.g., driftwood, rocks, snow, sand, clay).
2-I have camped alone in the wilderness (not a campground) for 3 or more nights on a single outing.
3-I have walked, or paddled, or ridden a horse over 150 miles in a single journey.
4-I have both won and lost fights—and avoid them when possible.
5-I have shot a bow and arrow, hand gun, shotgun, and a rifle.
6-I have hunted down an animal, killed it, cleaned it, cooked it, and eaten it.
7-I have participated in dangerous outdoor physical activities (e.g., whitewater kayaking, bull riding, climbing, hang gliding, cliff diving, rugby).
8-I have driven a vehicle over 120 mph, and have driven across difficult 4-wheel drive terrain.
9-I can effectively wield bladed weapons (e.g., knives, tomahawks, swords, spears), and I have practiced martial arts (e.g., boxing, jujitsu, karate).
10-I have served honorably in the military and/or as a policeman, EMT, or fireman of some sort.
11-I have worked all day for days on end in a hard physical job (e.g., logger, cowboy, farmer, steelworker, miner, roofer, ditch digger).
12-I have been in top physical shape at least once in my life, and I can walk 15 miles non-stop right now.
13-I can build and fix most things around the house.
14-I have fathered and raised a child.
15-I am gentle and kind to women, children and the weak, and I protect them from the wolves of society.
16-I speak truth to myself and others, and have taken a stand against the powerful who do grievous wrong.
17-I keep my word, pay my debts, make my own way in life, and do not take from others.
18-I wear my physical, mental, and emotional scars with dignity.
19-I have gotten falling down drunk but am not dependent on alcohol or any drug.
20-I do not fear death and hope that when I die, people will say I lived with honor.
Scoring the True Man Test
Count up all your YES answers and multiply that number by 5. That will give you your base score on a scale of 0-100. Look again at the questions on which you answered NO; give yourself 1 point for each item you almost said YES to (up to 10 points total). (Example: you walked 135 not 150 miles on item #3, so give yourself 1 extra point). Write down your final True Man score.
If you are over 18 and scored less than 35 points, you are not and may never be a True Man. You should examine your life to see what major changes you can make in the time you have left to live. If you are young (18-21) and scored between 40-55, you are on the path to becoming a True Man, so keep it up. If you are over 22 and scored below 60, you are not a True Man at this time. You may become one in the future, as an older and more mature man, but you need to act now to prove your mettle.
If you scored 60 or above, you are a True Man. You may have a ways to go to become a 100% True Man, but your life to this point has shown that you are made of iron, and not wood. It would be an honor and a privilege to meet you. Though it is unlikely that many of us will ever reach 100%, we can stay on the path of manhood and do our best for the rest of our lives. That’s what True Men do.
What was your score? How did taking the True Man Test make you feel? Will you be making changes in your life? What came to your mind as you read each item? Why do you think I included each item in the list? Which items would you add, or delete? Feel free to ask any questions about any item or the test itself. Just post your comment or question below.
My next post will be on January 2nd, 2012. Enjoy the holidays and resolve in 2012 to walk the path of the True Man.