Proust Questionnaire Number Five

Marcel Proust Quote:
“Like many intellectuals, he was incapable of saying a simple thing in a simple way.”

Confessions Question:
Your favorite qualities in a man.

Confidences Question:
The quality that I desire in a man.

Proust’s Answer:
Feminine charms.

Proust and I diverge quite a bit on this answer. (Did I mention that he was gay?) I don’t hold extremely strict regimental standards for the genders, but I do have a few thoughts on the matter. If my arm was twisted to give an answer that surpasses the answer I usually give to the question: “What attracts you?” That answer is “creativity”.

Understand that I was raised by women, so my views might seem skewed.

There are a few things that I think a man should do:

Shark Week

Not only should a man watch Shark Week, he should have a favorite shark and he should know exactly when Shark Week is being held. If you don’t know what Shark Week is, then you are not a man. Period.

I would add that a man should hold a secret wish, deep in his heart (a man’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets), to wrestle an alligator someday.

Guy Time

This is more advice than a standard. A guy should have at least one night where he can get together with other guys and do guy stuff and talk about guy things and re-charge the testosterone. A guy needs a weekly dinner club with other guys. A guy needs a weekly basketball game. A guy needs a weekly bowling night.

If a man doesn’t get guy time he starts having opinions on things like slip covers or dining sets. Before you know it, he is getting invited to Pampered Chef parties.


A guy should have a favorite. It is okay for a woman to not be able to pick between Godzilla and King Kong, but a man has to take a stand. Maybe before their epic confrontation in 1962 a man could straddle the fence between giant lizard and giant ape, but those days are over. A man has to pick a side. King Kong or Godzilla. You can root for them both when they aren’t fighting each other, but when they are fighting each other you have to pick a side.


A man doesn’t necessarily have to be able to use logic, but he should at least be able to point out the logical fallacies in a woman’s argument. If a man doesn’t know the difference between Ad Hominem and a Red Herring, I think he should lose his Man Card.

Outdoor Skills

A man should possess at least some basic outdoor skills. No, falling through ice into a stream is not a basic outdoor skill but that doesn’t mean it isn’t manly. If he doesn’t run back to the car whimpering like a little girl. But I digress. A man should be able to start a fire, set up a tent, tell direction based on the position of the sun and make basic taxonomic identifications.


A man should have opinions. Not on everything, but just about everything. A man should have an opinion on where you can find the best tenderloin (BK’s), club sandwich (West Street Deli) or nachos (Skip’s). A man should have an opinion on religion, politics and current events. A man should also be able to back up these opinions without having to use the phrase “I feel”.

Unicorn Blood

A man knows that unicorn blood is silver.

There are also a couple of things that I would like to point out that it is okay for a man to do, that aren’t normally considered manly:

Crying at the Movies

It is okay for a man to cry at the movies. It shows a sensitive soul and the ability to show empathy. Plus when a boy has to shoot a dog that saved his life several times because the dog contracted hydrophobia while saving that boy’s life, that is really, really sad. When the Tin Man says, “Now I know I have a heart, because it’s breaking.” That is really, really sad. I don’t care what set of reproductive organs you are lugging around this planet.

Scented Candles

It is also okay for a man to decorate his domicile with scented candles. There is nothing wrong with wanting your place to smell good.

However, there are a few things that a man should never do.

Bad Weather Punkout

A man should never changer or alter his plans because of bad weather. A man doesn’t leave work early or skip work because there is a little snow on the ground. A man never calls another man and says, “Do you still think we should go to the game? It is pretty nasty out there.” A man can call another man and say, “We might need to leave a little early for the game. Probably going to be some morons out on the road tonight.”

Early Departure

A man doesn’t leave a game early. I don’t care if it is freezing cold and your team is losing by 56 points. A man stays until the last bitter second ticks off the game clock.

Sweater Vest

I personally don’t wear sweaters at all, but I concede that there is a purpose for sweaters. However, a man should never wear a sweater vest unless they are doing it in an ironic way. Even then, the man most likely won’t get the benefit of the doubt from me.


A man owns a manly animal. Cats do not qualify in any way shape or form. Okay, if you owned a tiger or a puma, that would be manly, but your ordinary house cat does not qualify. With a tail or without a tail. Doesn’t matter. A man doesn’t own a cat. He owns a dog or a rat or fish that eat other fish.

Above all things, a man doesn’t carry around pictures of his cat on his cell phone to show the waitress at Okoboji Grill!


There is a reason that when I was looking for a foot to match the hand, my choice wasn’t a man. (There are other reasons than that, but for the sake of this diatribe let us pretend that there was only one reason.) The man’s foot is not pretty. It isn’t even “funny”. It is gross. I don’t want to see it. Cover it up boys.

And don’t give me that “Jesus wore sandals” hogwash either. He wore shoes that were consistent with the historical period in which he lived. I know that the Son of Man could bring the dead back to life, cure lepers, return sight to the blind and walk on water. I concede that he could have made a nice pair of LeBron AirMax VII shoes appear out of thin air. But do you really think Jesus would have endorsed a product that was surely made by small children in a Vietnamese sweatshop for a penny and a beating a day? No he wouldn’t. He would be too busy feeding the multitude with five loaves and two fish.

Not to mention, how distracting would it have been? He would be trying to teach people the Lord’s Prayer and they would just be staring at Jesus’ future shoes.

5 thoughts on “Proust Questionnaire Number Five”

  1. What about those sandals where the leather strips cover the toes? They're breathable, yet mostly cover the toes. Kind of like the El Camino of shoes.

  2. Nope. I don't want to be able to smell a nasty guy's feet either. Nor do I want to see any flesh at all. I want me to wear the burka of shoes.

    I am troubled that I forgot to mention that a man never uses emoticons. That might be the #1 way I judge a man and I forgot it.

  3. Snow shoes for men. Women can wear whatever shoes they want. Well, not all women get that privilege.

    I can excuse multiple colored fonts in the following circumstances:

    If they are all near the gray/black color spectrum. Sometimes when you copy and paste, it will change what you copied and pasted to a different font and color.

    A signature can be a different color font.

    Sometimes when you are responding to an email, rather than type up a response you will just put your response on top of the old email in red. That is also allowed. That is about it though.

  4. I am totally on-board with all of those reasons for different colored fonts. I'll even allow for if you want to set apart a quoted item that is particularly lengthy (a paragraph, let's say). I usually prefer to italicize the quotation, but I can see putting it in a slightly different-colored font.

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