1. When someone wants to talk to him while he’s using the restroom.
Every man has at some point run into someone in a public restroom who for some reason enjoys making small talk when one or both parties have a hand on their manhoods. One may never understand the reason, but the consequence is quite clear. A general feeling of awkwardness and inappropriateness. He stares at the wall a foot in front of his face and tries to burn a hole in it with his ire.
“How was your weekend?”
“Not bad. Now please just let me piss in peace.”
There are also men who will make small talk across two stalls when both parties have their pants around their ankles, and are possibly grimacing in concentration.
“So Bob, how’s the wife?”
“She’s great. Now please let me focus, you goddam fool.”
A restroom is a great place for a man to display the amount of tact he lives with. It is always a tactful decision not to talk to other men when their penises or rear ends are completely exposed to the air. This is not Ancient Rome. We live in a specialized society where water cooler talk should be reserved for the water cooler. A general rule of thumb could be, “If my privates are out, please wait to ask me a question until they are safely back in my pants.”
2. When he fails to accomplish a routine “masculine” task.
“Hey, can you give me the monkey wrench?”
“Sure, here you go.”
“This is a screwdriver.”
Oh the plight of the man who did not learn such basic masculine activities. It is often not his fault. Most boys do not grow up consciously thinking, “I would like to embarrass myself one day in front of my girlfriend’s father or my own mother.” Some boys simply miss the boat when it comes to learning about cars, or throwing a football, or building a wooden birdhouse. A man can lead a perfectly successful life without knowing how to do such things, but at certain moments in his life he will be made to feel inadequate for not being able to do them.
“Hey babe, can you please open this pickle jar for me?” Asks his girlfriend.
“I would, but I haven’t worked out since I was 7.”
“Hey man, you should go talk to her.”
“Because talking to a pretty woman makes me feel like I’m dying.”
“Is that your pickup truck?”
“No, but that’s my Prius behind it.”
Such little moments can affect both men’s and women’s opinion of the victim. He may be passed over for promotions, or a second date, or for anything else that requires a man rather than something like one. If you are a man like this, you should fake it until you make it, unless of course you’re faking changing someone’s tire; you could someone that way.
3. When he is completely dominated by another man.
A man will inevitably come across another man who will make him feel completely inferior in almost every way. The man will be funnier, better looking, taller, richer, possessing a better quaff, etc. While this is to be expected, it cannot alter the fact that the inferior man will feel completely horrible about the experience and spend the next week to twenty years questioning what the hell happened.
“Stacy and I were deeply in love, but then that prick came along and that was that. He stole her from me in about twelve seconds.”
What is the inferior man to feel in these situations? He can blame his own father, or himself, or his genes that blessed him with an abnormally weak upper body. He can drink the pain away. Or he can cry, but preferably not in front of the man who bested him. Unfortunately, none of these responses will change the events of the past.
The worst part in these situations is explaining to peers how the better man bested him.
“He just…looked at me and I couldn’t be myself anymore. I don’t know what happened. I told him he could replace all of my tires.”
“But you only went to the shop for an oil change! And…why can’t you change your own oil?”
Defenses for these highly awkward experiences include puffing out one’s chest, offending others before others can offend oneself, and pretending not to speak English when one is aware they may soon be made to look like a small man-child.
4. When he has “The Talk” before he’s ready.
Men are good at many things, but typically not spontaneous handlings of highly sensitive relations with women. A man can master The Talk with a woman, but only after years of careful preparation and analysis. Improvisation should be reserved for the improvisation stage. Otherwise terrible results can occur.
“Where is all of this going?” She asks.
“What? This? What is this?” Grasps for something to hold onto. “This is a banana. It’s going in my mouth.”
“In my mouth.”
“I heard that. What the hell are you talking about?”
A man can turn into a bumbling idiot when presented with a well-timed question from a woman. He can feel his lunch turn over in his stomach when he hasn’t memorized enough non-sports-related terms to properly handle an emotional talk he isn’t ready for.
“Babe, I just want to know. We’ve been together for six months. What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking of slipping softly into death” is what he may want to say. But instead he says, “I think we should just keep doing what we’re doing!” and slaps her on the ass like an enthusiastic football coach.
No, my friend, that is wrong. Men used to be eloquent, able to deliver loving words on command to their loved ones. You should be able to do this, or one day a superior man may steal her away in twelve seconds. We all know someone it’s happened to. And it’s awkward for everyone involved.
5. When he looks into another man’s eyes for a fraction too long.
Some men have really nice eyes. Sometimes another man happens to notice this and looks into them for three seconds instead of one, like he’s appreciating a beautiful field at sunset or a wave breaking over rocks. The man with the nice eyes notices this and realizes he has power over the other man, both because his eyes are better and because he’s caught the man in an awkward situation. He may smile suggestively — he might even wink — to heighten the level of discomfort. The other man ducks his head and mutters “Oh god,” texts his girlfriend, tells her he loves her and that she has the most beautiful eyes he’s ever seen.
“I would definitely never look at a man’s eyes lovingly like I look at yours,” he adds.
“That’s the weirdest text you’ve ever sent me.”
“I know. In a strange mood. Can you pick me up? My Prius’ battery died again.”