Ten Skills Every Grown-Ass Man Should Have

What is a “grown-ass man?”

I’m glad you asked.

First of all, the hyphen, and its placement is very important. There is a difference between a grown ass man (A male who loves large, fully developed bootys) and a grown-ass man.

The definition varies according to location, perspective and individual perception. Some people feel that a grown-ass man (G.A.M.) should have his own car, his own house, a job and all the other things DJ Kool begs women to make some noise for. For others, it is much simpler: The G.A.M. is the direct opposite of a fuckboy. He is the antidote for BitchNigga. NegusWhoRead defines it differently. For us, the ultimate definition of a G.A.M. is a mature, evolved man who is prepared for the responsibilities of life. Whenever you see a grown-ass man, you know it.

Because Fuckboys multiply like Zika virus mosquitos, we decided to provide the men who are on the fence a handy guide before you are initiated into the cult of BitchNigga-ism. Once they jump you in, you’re a Fuckboy for life. In an effort to raise the standards of Black men as a whole, we assembled a motley crew of writers, frustrated women, researchers and niggas waiting on haircuts to list a few things every man should know how to do. After three fistfights, a spirited game of Rock/Paper/Scissors and a few text messages in which I may or may not have been called a “stupid muhfucka,” we finally whittled the list down to ten skills every grown-ass man should have, or ten things every man should know how to do. We now present to you the NegusWhoRead Guide For Grown-Ass Men.

1. Dress If you are over 22 and don’t own a suit, I blame your mama. However, if you are over 25, can’t tie a tie and the only suit you own has 19 buttons and looks like one of Hillary Clinton’s outfits from the campaign trail (I still contend her suits were from the Steve Harvey collection) then you are a loser. A grown-ass man should own at least two suits. One can be a muted gray (even with understated pinstripes if you must) that you can freak any way you like. You can wear it out in Vegas with a t-shirt. You can wear the jacket with jeans. The other must be Black. That’s called your “go-to” suit. You can wear it to formal events with a tie and the right shirt. You can wear it to funerals when you know you are going to see the cute girl who curved you in college. That suit should be tailored. We live in an age where you can measure yourself, log into an account and companies like Indochino will make a custom-fit suit for you for $350. That’s less than what fuckboys pay for the Yeezy Boosts.

And trust me, youngblood, a man in a custom fit suit will moisten waaay more panties than a pair of Jordans.

2. Shut the fuck up Grown ass men don’t talk like that.

No intelligent, mature woman or man never respects a guy who gossips. They’ll listen–but they won’t respect him. I have assembled a group of friends over a lifetime who I can converse with for hours without oversharing or gossiping. Aside from my married friends, or the ones in long-term relationship, I have no idea who anyone is fucking, nor do I care. Plus, you know what they say: “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds talk about people. Stupid minds talk about sugar on grits.”

Sometimes they leave that last part out.

3. Fix some shit Ladies, here is the quickest way to suss out whether a guy is a G.A.M. or not: If you ever visit his house, ask him for a pair of needle nose pliers. Every man worth his salt should have a pair. Unfortunately, men don’t know how to fix shit anymore, which is crazy because all you need are a few tools and you can find out how to fix anything on YouTube (This saddens me, because as we raise a generation of men who don’t know how to use tools or build things, the possibility of a time machine gets slimmer and slimmer. Sigh. Until we get one, the Red Zone Channel will remain the greatest invention of our time).

Before they let you  vote, drink or have sex,  every grown man should be required to know how to do the following:

  • Change a tire
  • Fix a running toilet
  • Patch a hole in sheetrock
  • Change the oil in his car
  • Find a stud in the wall

I was going to add “drive a manual shift car” but I realized that technically isn’t “fixing some shit.” Plus, if you don’t know how to drive a stick shift…

you don’t know how to drive.

4. Give head I know there is a stereotype that says Black men don’t perform cunnilingus, but I don’t believe it. People still do that? Learn how to do it, and do it well. You’re a grown ass man for God’s sake!

You can always look it up on Youtube.

5. Be vulnerable The easiest way to spot a fuckboy is to notice the mean-mugging nigga whose masculinity serves as his reality deflector shield. If you don’t open yourself up to the frightening possibilities of heartbreak, disappointment or failure it is impossible to be great. Trust your vision. Embrace your frailties and make them your strengths. Cry. Dream. Don’t be a slave to your ego. Fuck what other people think. I bet the scariest thing in the entire universe is the moment when a baby bird is perched on the edge of the nest, looking down over the expanse knowing she is going to have to jump.

Just flap your wings, nigga.

6. Put family first Period.

7.  Handle your shit Whenever anything negative happened in my life–whether it was spilled Kool-Aid, a bad grade or I was fired from a job, my mother always asked me the same thing:

“Whose fault is it?”

 Responsibility is the hallmark of a grown-ass man. You have to be able to handle your shit. A grown ass man can smoke as much weed as he wants, but if he is rolling a blunt knowing his job could drug test him, he’s doing fuckboy shit. I don’t believe it ever works out, but if you want to sleep with multiple women at a time, just make sure your condom game is strong, you don’t catch feelings, you have the right creams and ointment for STDs and a good auto body repair shop… because somebody is going to key your car.

And there is nothing worse than a grown ass man who can’t handle his liquor. If it makes you belligerent, blacks you out or gives you the bubbleguts, maybe you should move to Colorado and take up another vice. A grown ass man should be able to handle  whatever mess he gets himself into–whether it’s tequila, a traffic ticket, or a threesome (which only happens when there is tequila). Whatever happens, just suck it up. Don’t be one of those guys. You all know who I’m talking about: The guy you work with who comes in 3 minutes late once a week, is always looking for the easy way, but thinks the boss is always out to get him. The dude who says he failed a class because “the teacher doesn’t like him.” They guy from your neighborhood who begins every sentence with, “It’s not my fault because…”  Whiny dudes who blame their misfortunes on others are burgeoning bitch niggas.

My answer to my mom was always the same:

“It’s my fault.”

8. Let shit go If you still have the same friends, clothes and goals from high school, you probably haven’t gone anywhere. How can you have room for new shit if your closet is filled with old stuff? Expand your horizons. Take that job across the country. End that miserable, unfulfilling relationship you’ve been holding on to just because it is comfortable. Stop hanging with the same bum ass niggas who aren’t going anywhere. Make friends with people you never thought you would. Try a different restaurant. Take a class. Date a White girl. We are the sum total of our experiences and growth requires that we expand our boundaries. But first you have to rid yourself of the stakes that tether you to the ground.  A grown ass man shouldn’t be afraid of change.

Oh, and I’m just kidding about the White girl part.

You still gotta brush up on #4 first.

9. Love Black women Every man thinks he loves women, but not really. For the most part we have retreated to our separate corners and only meet in the middle of the ring to fight or fuck.

But now you’re a grown ass man, and as such you’re supposed to know how to love a Black woman. It doesn’t take bubble baths, flowers and mushy shit like that (I mean… sometimes it does, but that’s your call). All it takes is for a grown-ass man to unconditionally be there. Showing up is half the battle. Fuckboys will “ride for their niggas” and brag about how they fought an entire crew of gangstas but we allow our homeboys, random people and society in general to drag Black women like they’re roadkill caught in a fender. The divide between us stems from a system that ripped babies from mothers wombs and rendered Black men mute, emasculated and unable to protect his family for most of our existence in America. But it is now a slow poison that we are feeding ourselves without any prompting or assistance. Do not drink it.

Bruh, we’re all we got!

10. ______________ Insert yours here. (Or better yet, in the comments section). Everyone has different criterion for what it takes to be a grown-ass man. This is not a list meant to down men, because there are a few areas where men have lately surpassed women (the ability to cook, get an $8 lap dance and cover both the pass and the run from the middle linebacker position, to name a few). The final one is up to you.


About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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