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The Manual to Manhood: How to Cook the Perfect Steak, Change a Tire, Impress a Girl & 97 Other Skills You Need to Survive

The Manual to Manhood: How to Cook the Perfect Steak, Change a Tire, Impress a Girl & 97 Other Skills You Need to Survive

by Jonathan Catherman

Learn More | Meet Jonathan Catherman


Welcome to manhood. Well . . . almost. This “coming of-age” stage in your life is guaranteed to introduce many highly anticipated opportunities you’ve been looking forward to. And much of what you are about to experience will put your manhood to the test—daily.

Speaking man-to-man, I can tell you that every guy wants the same two things. Do you know what they are? Before you laugh and say women and food, try thinking a bit differently. Here’s the deal. At his core every man wants to gain respect and avoid embarrassment. The best of men know how to do both. And yes, learning to do each will benefit you, your relationships, and your BBQ skills.

Only you know how you got your hands on this manual. Maybe your mom gave it to you hoping it would teach you how to start shaving, grilling, or dating. Or maybe you picked it up yourself to avoid having your mom try to teach you to shave, show you how to grill, or put you through the embarrassment of her introducing you to a girl she thinks is “perfect” for you. Whatever the reason, remember this. Becoming a man requires practice—and despite what some people say, practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice does make better, and you will become a better man for practicing what is captured on the pages of this Manual to Manhood.

First things first: take what you read in this book like a man. Start by not assuming you already know how to do everything. World-class experts were consulted about the best ways to do this stuff, and they were quick to admit that their way works but may not be the only way.

You may know a different way to light a charcoal grill or iron a shirt. Good. Every man needs to develop his own style. No matter what your level of independence is, everybody needs to practice the life skills in this book—and for many readers, this will be an introduction to what every guy should learn and master. Second, remember that performing the tasks of life with con- fidence and humility is done best when paired with a mature character.

The top-shelf men consulted for this book recognize that becoming a man has little to do with age, size of muscles, or if a dude can grow a mustache or not. The world is populated by lots of guys with “manly” hairy chests who still act like immature boys. You have to earn the transformation from boyhood to manhood. And in doing so, you mature and secure without a doubt your title of “Man.” There is no room for entitlement or false claims of maturity in the character of an authentic man. You have to work for it.

How a boy earns his manhood has changed over time and varies by location. Way back in the day, young Vikings joined their fathers in raiding parties. If a boy survived the raid, plundered the enemy, and shed blood, he proved himself and was from then on considered a man. On the South Pacific Island of Vanuatu, boys today still climb 100 feet up a tower, tie vines to their ankles, and dive headfirst bungee-style toward the ground.

If a boy’s leap is timed and measured correctly, he won’t hit the dirt and his tribe will call him a man. In the “modern civilized” world, many guys act like chugging beast-sized power drinks, eating processed meat sticks, and killing each other virtually online is the magic formula needed to win their manliness. They are wrong.

Real men live by different standards, higher standards. Real men don’t believe that the kind of car they drive, how much they drink, or the number of girls they get are what make them a man. Real men know that personal maturity transforms boys into men. Maturity is a practiced skill and is best demonstrated when a man knows how to do the right thing, the right way, at the right time, for the right reason. Even when nobody is looking.

Are you this kind of man? You can be.

Your coming-of-age starts with a call to practice and master the solid life skills and mature character possessed by only the best of men. Consider this book your invitation . . .


Women. We men discover few things in the world that capture our attention quite like women. With so many men having the same focus, it’s a good thing that about 50% of the planet’s population is female. That means the odds are pretty good that you will run into a few ladies along the way who captivate you at levels you will find difficult to understand, let alone explain.

Though men and women share 99.7% of the same genes, it’s the other 0.3% that makes the difference between our genders such a great mystery. Add to this intrigue the mix of emotions, hormones, and the coded way some girls talk, and it’s no wonder most guys feel totally confused about how to interact successfully with women. One minute it feels impossible to live with them and the next it’s impossible to live without them. You can’t stop thinking about her yet you have no idea what she is thinking! What’s a guy supposed to do?

According to Dr. Les Parrott, who just so happens to be one of the world’s leading relationship experts, there is a three-part process every man needs to practice if he wants to better understand how to be in a good relationship with a woman.

1. Be self-aware. “If you want to have healthy relationships with anyone, especially women, you need to bring health to the relationship. Are you the best man you can be physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually?” asks Dr. Parrott. “Your relationships can only be as healthy as you are. This means you must first be aware of your own emotions, needs, and goals in life.”

2. Be aware of her. “The most important thing you can do to build a healthy relationship is practice the skill of empathy. Empathy is key to a strong relationship because it is the act of setting aside your own selfish agenda to consider her needs. What are her feelings, thoughts, or attitude? What are her hopes and dreams? What are her concerns and fears? What are her goals in life?” Dr. Parrott goes on, “Empathy is not an easy skill to master because the way men’s and women’s brains think is so different. Our heads are hardwired in ways that lead us to naturally think and act differently. Correctly imagining her perspective will take time and practice, but the results include greater levels of trust and understanding. This strengthens the relationship, which makes practicing empathy well worth the effort.”

3. Bring the two together. To emphasize the point, Dr. Parrott instructs, “Men who can connect their self-awareness with a skill of empathy possess the twin engines and maturity needed to drive strong, healthy relationships.”

Dr. Parrott is right. Guys can find a way to better understand and interact with women. Good thing too. Men and women were created to be perfect partners and lifelong companions. Learn what you can, yet keep in mind, not everything in life is meant to be understood. Some things are best valued when they retain a healthy level of mystery. Women included.

Meet Les Parrott III, PhD Dr. Parrott is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and psychologist. Along with his wife, Leslie, he’s authored books on love and marriage, selling more than 2 million copies in 30 different languages.

An expert in relationship development, Dr. Parrott’s groundbreaking work dedicated to teaching the basics of good relationships has led him to speak before hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

How To Talk with a Girl You Like

What would men be without women? Scarce, sir . . . mighty scarce.

—Mark Twain


  • A girl you like
  • Courage
  • Fresh breath (see “How to Freshen Bad Breath”)

  • It will take as long as it takes.
There she is. This is your chance. Go over and say something! If you don’t, some other guy will. He who hesitates loses and you’re not a loser. So don’t hesitate. You can talk to that girl, and here is how you’re going to do it.

STEP 1 Breathe.
Before you take a step in her direction, take control of your breathing. You need breath to make words, so be sure to breathe normally. Hyperventilate and you’ll talk too fast and get a brain buzz. Forget to breathe and you’ll run out of the air needed to speak. The last thing you want is to lose your words before the end of your opening sentence.

STEP 2 Check your breath.
First impressions are important and you want this one to be fresh in her mind for a long time.

STEP 3 Approach her with confidence.
Stand tall with your shoulders back and your head held high. No slouching.

STEP 4 Say something nice.
Start with a simple, “Hi, I’m [your name here].” Don’t drop some witty pickup line that you read on a friend’s status update. They don’t work. Stick with what you know . . . like your name.

STEP 5 Give her a genuine compliment.
This requires you to really mean what you say and say what you mean. If you fake this part, she will know. Don’t ask how, girls just seem to know when guys are not being authentic. Try giving her a compliment like one of these, if appropriate:

  • “I went to your volleyball game yesterday. You really did well.”
  • “Good work in class today. You made answering those lab questions look so easy.”
  • “Your new hairstyle looks good. I like it.”
STEP 6 Talk with her, not to her.
This means you are both talking, in a conversation. Your best bet to get the conversation started is to ask her questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer. Look for a conversation topic she would be interested in talking about. Keep asking thoughtful questions and practice being a good listener. If she is into the conversation, she will also ask you questions. When she does, don’t brag, go off topic, or talk about yourself too much. Keep the conversation light and focused on her.

STEP 7 End the conversation well.
Wrap things up with a positive statement like, “It was good talking with you. I look forward to seeing you again soon.” Now is a good time to ask her for her cell number.

Did You Know?

Men’s brains release “feel-good” chemicals when playing video games, laughing, and engaging in physical activity. Women’s brains do the same, but theirs release these feel-good chemicals when engaging in a meaningful conversation. So go talk with her, and her brain will love it.

How To Invite a Girl on a First Date

  • A girl you want to ask on a date
  • Confidence
  • Fresh breath (see “How to Freshen Bad Breath”)


  • It may seem longer than it actually takes.
Prepare yourself. What you are about to attempt may end up ranking in the top 10 most memorable moments of your life. The first date invite story will be told for years to come and from two perspectives, yours and hers. How you plan and undertake this asking determines if the story told will be epic or horrific.

STEP 1 Choose carefully.
A date is about getting to know somebody better. Dating will help you learn what type of girl you are interested in and what type of girl is interested in you.

STEP 2 Pick an event.
She is more likely to say yes to a date if you have a specific event in mind. Think of something she would be interested in doing with you.

STEP 3 Plan your transportation.
Avoid long rides, as they are not usually first-date friendly.

STEP 4 Plan your ask.
Give her at least two or three days between asking and when you plan on going out. If you want the date to be on Friday, ask her on Tuesday or Wednesday. She may need to ask her parents, and anticipation is half the fun of a good first date.

STEP 5 Ask her out.
Timing and approach is everything. With confidence describe your plans and ask if she would like to join you. Always ask her in person! Never ask a girl out with a text.

Wise Guy

There is no guarantee she will say yes to a date with you. What is guaranteed is if you never ask, she will never say yes.

How To Plan a Date

  • A girl who said yes to a date with you
  • Confidence
  • Cash
  • Transportation TIME REQUIRED:

  • 1 hour of planning
Guys who are mature enough to start dating know the following truth: girls like a man with a plan. So what’s your plan, man? If you want a date to go great, you will need to put some thought and energy in before you go out. The best way to assure she text-brags to her friends that she’s “hagt” (having a good time) is to dedicate some T.I.M.E. to planning and preparing the date. Here’s how.

STEP 1 Think it.
Try to think about the date from her perspective. What would she like to do? What do you have in common?

STEP 2 Ink it.
Write down your date ideas on a piece of paper. Brainstorming is a creative way to test an idea, see potential conflicts, and identify your best options. Consider costs, transportation, timing, and perhaps even getting her/your parents’ permission.

STEP 3 Map it.
Once you have your best idea written down, map out your plan.

  • When is the date?—Day, evening, night?
  • When does the date begin?—She needs a specific time to expect your arrival.
  • What is your budget?—A date can get expensive, so set a budget and stick to it.
  • Who is paying?—Going “dutch” is good if you want to keep things simple. (See “How to Decide Who Pays on a Date”)
  • Where are you going?—Be specific. For example, plan for dinner at [fill in the location] vs. finding a place.
  • How will you get there?—Will you meet her there? Will you pick her up? Will you be driving?
  • When does the date end?—Have her home on time. Be specific and honor your commitment. This is one way you will gain her favor and the trust of her parents.
STEP 4 Earn it.
Girls like a man with a plan and a man who can take action. So lead the way and have a fun date. Hopefully she will appreciate the effort.

Did You Know?

Many states have laws for new drivers restricting unrelated passengers and driving during certain hours of the night. If you will be driving, know the laws before a police officer explains them to you, in front of your date.

How To Decide Who Pays on a Date

  • A planned date

  • 1-minute Conversation
Dating etiquette established over a century ago is becoming ancient history. Back in the day, the guy paid for everything on a date. Today’s modern man is challenged to make the change as the modern woman often wants to pay for some or even all of a date. So who picks up the tab? He? She? We? Here is a simple and respectful way to determine who opens their wallet without opening a can of controversy.

STEP 1 Who asked who?
If you ask her, you need to make a good first impression. Gentlemen’s rule: Always pay on the first date. No matter the circumstances. If she asked you, and you said yes, still offer to follow the gentlemen’s rule.

STEP 2 Second date.
If she extends the invitation to pay for something, consider it. She may want to show she doesn’t expect you to go broke and that she can contribute some cash too. This is a good sign. She may be a keeper.

STEP 3 Dates three and beyond.
Sounds like you may be on your way to having an official girlfriend. If you are not sure yet, wait a few more dates, then think about having the D.T.R. talk (see “How to Talk Like a Man”). Once you have determined that, yep, she’s your girlfriend, keep the money spending lines of communication open. The word girlfriend is a compound word uniting “girl” with “friend.” True friends complement each other in all areas, including money. Talk about it and work together to spend and pay appropriately while dating.

Man Fact or Fiction:
I can’t afford to date.

Fiction. The fact is, you can’t put a price on love, but you can on a date. You don’t have to spend big CA$H to show a girl you’re creative, considerate, and worth going on date #2 with next week. Dates should be fun, not defunding.

How To Meet a Girl’s Parents for the First Time

  • Solid handshake
  • Clean clothes
  • Smile
  • Manners


  • 1–5 minutes
Few things will scare you more than meeting a girl’s parents for the first time. This first impression can set their expectation of whether or not you can be trusted with their little girl. Get this introduction right and you will be one step closer to gaining her parents’ trust.

STEP 1 Make eye contact.
When greeting her parents, look them in the eyes. Comfortable eye contact is 4–5 seconds, pause by briefly looking away, and then make eye contact again.

STEP 2 Smile.
An authentic smile conveys optimism and high levels of confidence.

STEP 3 Speak with confidence.
Starting with her mom, say something simple yet polite, like, “Nice to meet you, Mrs. [last name] and Mr. [last name].”

STEP 4 Shake hands.
Follow the “How to Shake Hands” steps. By extending a friendly and traditional greeting, you show them you are respectful and know how to interact with adults.

STEP 5 Compliment their daughter.
Say something nice about their daughter that has nothing to do with the way she looks or how excited you are to be going out with her.

STEP 6 Use your manners.
Say “please,” “thank you,” “yes” rather than “yeah,” “no” rather than “nah,” and “excuse me?” rather than “huh?” Open doors for others, chew with your mouth closed, don’t talk about yourself too much, and by all means, control your bodily functions.

More Info
A good dad protects his daughter. Any guys trying to date his daughter can be seen as public enemy #1. The trick to gaining Dad’s approval is to treat his daughter with the respect he wants for his little girl. Think of it like Dad is watching, at all times. This will keep you off his “Most Deadly” list and increase the odds of you gaining an elevated spot on his daughter’s “Most Wanted” list.

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