The smudge looked suspicious. The doctor confirmed: "That's the baby's penis!" Joel's reaction? Pure panic. "I pictured having to go camping and fix a car and use a hammer and throw a football and watch professionals throw footballs and figure out whether to be sad or happy about the results of said football throwing." And so begins Joel's quest to confront his effete nature whether he likes it or not (he doesn't), by doing a 24-hour shift with LA firefighters, going hunting, rebuilding a house, enduring three days of basic training with the Marine Corps, and going into the ring with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.
Seeking help from a panel of experts, including his manly father-in-law, a racecar driver, Boy Scouts, former NFL star Warren Sapp, and some celebrities, he expects to learn that masculinity is not defined by the size of his muscles but by the size of his heart. This is not at all what he learns.
"This is much more than a funny book, though it is that too. Beneath the humor is a wonderfully poignant exploration of the role of manliness for the 21st century urban guy. It's also a Father's Day love letter disguised as a set of adventure tales. Joel looks lovingly at both his crusty old dad and trusting infant son to reflect deeply on the lessons that we pass along from generation to generation. It made me laugh, and think, a lot." (Walter Isaacson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Steve Jobs)
"Many of us men in the Western world struggle with this "forced manliness"- there is a lot of pressure. For some, it is a real struggle. I have seen Joel try to chew tobacco in an attempt to prove that estrogen does not imprison his body. Looking down at his lap and bashfully wiping the remnants of spilled tobacco off his J. Crew slacks did not help his cause. The fact that he laughed at it, though, did. He caught himself trying to be manly and laughed. That is a true man." (Zach Galifianakis)
"I am the father only of daughters, and so didn't suffer any existential midlife panic about discovering and demonstrating my latent manliness. But I am happy Joel did, because his infant son inspired him to report and write this rare and splendid thing: an open-minded, open-hearted, bracingly honest, laugh-out-loud-funny memoir that takes life just seriously enough." (Kurt Andersen, New York Times bestselling author of Heyday)
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A Hilarious Journey to "Manhood"
The wry humor combined with the authors own narration.
Anything by A.J. Jacobs - they share an interest in expanding their horizons while limited by their own foibles.
The resolved intonation of his delivery and the admiration I felt at his willingness to poke fun at himself.
Joel: For man's sake, give dogs another chance!
Terrific read for the car!
I am always looking for something to listen to in the car when driving my teenage son around (because then we don't argue about the music playing on the radio) and this book certainly kept the peace for a good many days. I think it was also helpful for my son to hear about someone who is a dad who is even goofier than his own dad. The story certainly had us laughing out loud and it was terrific to hear the book read by the author. We stopped the recording more than a few times to have discussions about the different things he tried in order to "find his manliness." Other than the "blue" language, I would recommend this book for anyone with a male in their household. After the book was done, my son recommended that his dad hear it next.