Dear Men, It’s Time We Had A Conversation

Gather around, those who identify as menly mens.

We need to have a talk.

A number of of you are doing some things very badly. You’ve gone awry, you poor fools.

(And already I know there’s some suppurating human blister out there about to hop on social media and call me Cuck Wendig, but trust me, if “cuck” is your go-to-insult of choice, we all know you’re a greasy, blubbering shit-baby who still lives with his parents.)

Let’s highlight some areas of improvement, gents. Because you’re getting to be a problem.

What Did You Do To The Restroom, You Animal

Merciful Jesus, what the fuck did you do to that public restroom?

I go into the rooms where men are supposed to take out the biological garbage, and fucking god how are we fucking this up? There is piss everywhere. How is that happening? Are you whizzing into the Dyson Airblade with the hopes of misting the entire room with your urine? At each urinal, there is a small pond — nay, a lake — of pee underneath. I go to the airport restroom with the express purpose of sterilizing my suitcase’s caster wheels in the collective urine of a thousand men. Urinals aren’t thimbles. It’s not a difficult carnival game. Each urinal is very generously sized for the meager stream of Mountain Dew that will exit your body. Point yourself at the welcoming porcelain and hold steady. How is that much urine getting outside the urinal? I’ve literally seen urine on top of urinals. As if you thought the goal was to hit the wall and then drizzle it downwards into the urinal’s mouth. (I’ve also seen poop in a urinal. Which, y’know, I guess I’m happy it was in it and not outside of it.)

I once, while waiting for a urinal, watched a guy piss all over his own shoes because — and this is just a guess — he was afraid to look down at his own dong or accidentally grab a glimpse of a neighboring dong. Instilled with sheer dick fear, he chose instead to just wee all over his feet instead of casting his gaze south to see how the whole “peeing in a urinal” business was going.

Don’t even think about looking in the stalls. The stalls are practically sweating with urine.

Then there’s the sink area. Oh my god, that’s wet, too. Moistness, moistness, everywhere. Granted, some bathrooms suffer from poor design (WASH HANDS HERE, WALK 100 YARDS TO A TOWEL DISPENSER THAT DOESN’T WORK), but even still, why is everything so wet? Are we in that much of a hurry? If we could collect all the wasted water in a men’s restroom, we could save California from drying up and going full dustbowl.

Men, get better. Control yourself in the bathroom. Fix your business.

Enough With The Fucking Cologne

Ye Gods, some of you smell. And not in the way where it’s like you’ve been digging ditches in a hot swamp. No, the odor is like you took a shower underneath a nozzle that dispenses only CK-1. You smell like bug spray and fraternity hazing. You stink like you just took a dunk in the same tank of noxious chemicals that birthed the Joker.

Listen, I get it, you think, UGH, MY MALODOROUS SWEAT, and guys are sort of inundated early on with this sense that we’re not supposed to have any kind of smell beyond that which we choose to apply to our bodies. Puberty hits and suddenly it’s like, HEY NOW YOU LEAK AND STINK, SO HURRY UP AND ELIMINATE YOUR NASTY HUMAN MIASMA LEST THE WORLD RECOGNIZE YOU FOR THE NERVOUS, OOZING PIG THAT YOU ARE. And we have a wide range of deodorants and anti-perspirants and colognes and shampoos and other pesticidal stench-fighting unguents to help us combat that human miasma.

But here’s the thing.

First, your sweat probably smells better than you’ve been told. Okay, it’s one thing if you’ve been pickling in your own manbrine with no interest in actually showering. But as long as it hasn’t been a protracted amount of time, you probably smell, well, normal.

Second, if you do wish to apply some kind of chemical scent to your body, more power to you. Just don’t use an amount equivalent to what it would take to drown a human toddler. A mist here, a spritz there, okay. Fsst, fsst, psshhh, done. Stop there. Put down the can, the tube, the mister, the hose, and walk the fuck away. If you’re going through more than one bottle of cologne every, say, ten years, you’re almost certainly overdoing it.

Third, soap is actually a nice smell. Just soap. Regular soap. A little bit of it. Soap.

I was at the beach this summer, and so many men there who gave off a mephitic, eye-blistering wave of horror — this corpse-sweet frat-boy rape-culture Windex smell that summarily overtook the normal beach smells of sand, salt, suntan lotion. And they were at breakfast, too — you’d try to take a bite of sausage and with it you’d inhale a mouthful of Axe Body Spray so thick it had weight and texture. A stink you can chew.

Just, god, fuck, stop punishing yourself and the rest of us us with your unholy sheen of venom. Wash your body from time to time. Use soap. That’s it. Cool it with the nerve toxins, you’re killing birds and frogs and other nearby wildlife.

Go To The Doctor Already

Men don’t like to go to the doctor.

It’s some combination of I WAS TOLD THAT TOUGH GUYS DON’T GO TO THE DOCTOR I CAN FIX IT MYSELF and ALSO SECRETLY I’M AFRAID TO GO AND I DON’T WANT PEOPLE TO SEE THAT I’M AFRAID SO INSTEAD I’LL JUST PRETEND I’M MISTER BULLETPROOF. Add in the fact that the occasional doctor’s visit requires the doctor to:

a) handle your privates, whatever they may be

b) stick a finger or probing device up your no-no-hole

And suddenly guys are all stoic and cocky about it, until of course their prostate swells up to the size of a cantaloupe — but ha ha, at least nobody ever shoved a finger up your butt, big guy.

Seriously. Get your shit checked out. Go to the doctor. Get your health dealt with, you coward. Your manliness is not in danger. Your manliness has nothing to do with it. Your manliness isn’t even a thing. Be a person who gives a shit about themselves and about the people around them and get your business handled. I got my prostate checked out by a big-fingered doc who said my sphincter had “nice snap.” It was not my most dignified moment but the silver lining was, hey, I don’t have prostate cancer and also, I will accept any compliments about my sphincter, that’s fine, that’s very nice, thank you, large-knuckled doctor. Don’t be Mister Tough Guy who dies because he’s too tough or because he’s homophobic.

You Can’t Fix Everything

Put. That toolbox. Down.

Toolboxes are for closers only.

You can’t always fix that thing you think you can fix. And that’s okay! I can hang a shelf. I can maybe replace a ceiling fan or a light fixture. But good goddamn, you have to know your limits. Buying a house becomes an exercise of, HEY, I WONDER WHAT JOE-BRO OWNER “FIXED” WHEN HE OWNED THE HOUSE LAST. You get an actual repairman in there and they open the walls and suddenly it’s all, “The last owner tried fixing everything with duct tape and lamp-cord. This pipe over here is just a Pringles can and chewing gum. You were about ten minutes from everything exploding.” I recognize the need to be frugal, and I also recognize that it is perfectly wise to try to develop the skill-sets necessary to perform certain kinds of repairs within a certain purview. But you know, sometimes you have to call in the expert. They’re the ones who can save you from spending more money to fix the thing you just fucked up when trying to fix the thing. They’re the ones who can prevent you from injuring yourself or from burning your dumb house down because your Amateur Hour Electrician status jolly well won’t cut it.

To repeat: KNOW YOUR LIMITS. You can’t fix everything. And you don’t have to. We need to as men stop judging other men who aren’t handy with tools or who can’t fix every last machine in the house. (My wife is actually the one who fixes shit, for the record. I do the cooking, and she does the home repair. I have no problems with this arrangement.)

Hitting On Women, Catcalling, And Other Shitty Shittiness

*sighs*

*pinches bridge of nose*

I once watched a guy try to hit on a blind woman in a grocery store.

It was gross.

Yesterday, an article went boomeranging around social media from a PUA MRA knob (some fuck-man named “Dan Bacon,” if you can believe that, god help us), and this ‘article’ was about how to properly engage (read: “hit on”) a woman who is wearing headphones. Which is asinine because of course a woman has headphones on because she doesn’t want to talk to you — either actively or passively, it doesn’t matter. She’s busy. She doesn’t need or want your shit up in her shit. I said on Twitter that the best way to talk to a woman wearing headphones is:

a) punch yourself in the face

b) when she looks up and removes her headphones, apologize for thinking she owes you her time

I would then add c) run home and stare at your bloody face in the mirror and think about what you’ve done, you belligerent cankermonkey, and also be thankful she did not open her mouth and consume you in a howling vortex of spiders.

Women don’t owe you anything. They don’t owe you a smile. They don’t owe you kindness. They don’t owe you a single moment of their time, much less any kind of romantic or sexual gratification. They aren’t animals who temporarily escaped their fence and it’s your job to convince them with cooing noises or a cracking whip to come back to their stable. Don’t catcall them. Don’t hit on them. Don’t touch them if they don’t ask to be touched. Get enthusiastic consent in every possible interaction. They have power equal to yours. Yours does not eclipse theirs. Your manliness is so not a thing.

We have these outmoded ideas of manliness that replace confidence with aggressiveness, that exchanges basic human strength of character with dominance and ownership. Get shut of all that. Your idea of masculinity is brittle, over-worked steel — it is fragile because it simply cannot support itself. It’s toxic because it’s off-gassing centuries worth of bad ideas about how men must conquer and compete and control. You need to do better. You need to be better. You need to stop giving the rest of us a bad name, damnit. Stop giving into the bullshit.

P.S. nobody wants unsolicited dick pics

P.P.S. seriously the dick is the least-most interesting thing about you and probably the least-most interesting thing in the whole world, put that thing away, you’re upsetting everybody

140 comments

  • The Women’s bathroom at my previous workplace was referred to as “The Cesspit”
    I once exercised my mad Photoshop Skillz to produce an “Idiot’s Guide to Pooing in the Bowl.” because on more than one occasion there were ungodly screeches of rage and disgust coming from the restroom (explain that sound to a customer on the phone…), when some poor unsuspecting woman opened a stall and found that the previous occupant-ress had, in fact, left an almighty turd — on the floor. Often in a puddle of pee. (The floor slightly sloped toward the bathroom door. It was not a good thing…)
    This was at WORK, not a public restroom. (The Men’s restroom was no better, apparently)
    Now, I understand that different cultures have different ways of dealing with the toilet thing. But I don’t think there is *any* culture where they tell you to ignore the toilet bowl and do your business on the floor instead.
    So if you hear primal screams coming from women’s bathrooms…that’s why.

    • The Women’s are usually worse then the men’s room at any given location. At least that is what I have seen in my work.

      If anyone does try to repair their own plumbing, please attempt it early on a weekday. I Charge much more to come out Sunday night to fix something, even if you only called because your wife threatened divorce if she had no working shower on Monday morning.

      • I’m a transgender man. I’ve had the dubious pleasure of sampling quite a few men’s washrooms and women’s washrooms over the years. I sometimes think that the worst part of the men’s side of the coin is the filthy public washrooms. Sure, we’ve got shorter lines at events, but the men’s rooms are definitely nastier overall.

        • I have worked in jobs that required me to clean both bathrooms, and I agree with Leo. The mens’ room is usually worse. I’ve had to clean up diarrhea that was smeared all over the walls. I keep hearing this myth that the women’s room is worse, and I have no idea where it’s coming from. Is this an American thing? Is it because I live in Canada?

    • Sounds like we worked at the same place. Although my boss didn’t like having to replace our clothing. Mere signage didn’t work so we had to do the half hour check. Opening the door most times would leave you wondering if a troop of camels just walked through and left their trail of fecal matter.

  • So. Effing. Funny. And sadly, so true. Wish I could print this out and post it wherever men behave badly (so, maybe designing wallpaper would be the way to go?) Thank you, Chuck! Now, off to send this link to my college freshman son…

  • The world of dating is fraught with danger, there is nothing more terrifying than trying to tell someone that you think they are special to you. You may no way of knowing that they feel the same way back, and they may like you (enough to be friends) but not enough for anything beyond this.
    This applies to both men and women. Men do have the reputation for being boorish and degrading to women and therefore we are told to back off and leave women alone, but to stereotype all men with this attitude is not helpful.
    The opposite also applies, that just because a woman likes a man she too must recognise that her approaching of a guy is also not appreciated.
    So an impasse is reached, both sexes claim that they want to be approached, providing that the person approaching them is some one they want to approach them and that it is done in the correct manner. The only trouble is how do you know how to approach someone in the manner they like without offending them?

    • There is a time and a place for everything. When a woman (or anyone) is wearing headphones, or they’re just out in public enjoying their day, then don’t hit on them. It’s that simple. If you replace them with a man in your mind, and you wouldn’t engage the man in their position, then don’t engage the woman. If that’s what it takes to make people see women as “people” and treat them with the same amount of respect they’d treat a dude, then for the love of fuck, do that.

      There is a time and a place for everything. If you’re at a social event, where people are expected to you know, be social (a bar, a club, a party, whatever) then that is the time to HAVE A CONVERSATION with someone. Because, holy shit, that’s a SOCIABLE time.

      But if you see a woman walking alone wearing headphones, or on public transit, with or without headphones, or going about her daily life, do not approach her out of the blue, or try to tell her how beautiful she is or any of that boorish bullshit nonsense. She doesn’t owe you that time, but she WILL feel she has a social obligation to talk to you or be polite because she doesn’t want you to rape her or kill her. Which, sure, not all men do, but we have to protect ourselves against the ones who do and that unfortunately makes all men look like rapists and killers, especially when they approach us randomly on the street, or when we’re wearing headphones, or in other situations where the point of existing in that place isn’t to socialize.

      • Good comment overall but saying think of a man in that situation and if you wouldn’t approach him don’t approach her may be a bad way of thinking. A lot of men are more comfortable approaching other men than approaching women. I for example was raised basically entirely by women and have moved constantly throughout my life and as a result am pretty comfortable talking to strangers of any gender in any situation (I also happen to be attracted to both genders in various ways) so would you say it’s ok if I talk to a man with headphones on? Because I personally do wear headphones when I walk around to keep myself entertained; however, for the most part I would be happy if someone motined for me to take them off and started a conversation. (Although it’s maybe only once or twice a year that I have someone who hits on me in public, rather than daily).

        Anyway, it’s worth considering leaving that out and just saying don’t talk to women in public unless you have a good reason to do so. And leaving out the pretend like she’s a man part… Because people tend to hear what they want.

    • In your first paragraph, are you thinking of someone you saw for the first time today, on a bus, wearing headphones? Because I think Chuck is directing his critique at: A) people who utilize pick-up artist techniques and other carny bullshit to try to engage a total stranger; and B) people who, on the basis of a casual acquaintance (workplace, met at a party, whatever), send photos of their engorged member to a woman who did not request such photos.

      Yeah, talking and relating and being vulnerable and ALL THAT is hard. Finding a life partner (or crap, a steady boyfriend or girlfriend) is hard. Using rhetorical gamesmanship to get a girl (gotta catch em all! says Dan Bacon) does not advance the cause in any way, shape, or form.

      I can express lament for the state of my finances but that doesn’t justify my decision to mug people.

    • 1. If they’re wearing headphones, you don’t. Period. They are not your shot at One True Love, you are not Fated To Be Together, and if you *are*, then you’ll meet again when she’s not wearing headphones.
      2. A “tingle in your Special Place* is not a reason to approach someone unless you are in a singles bar or other location specifically designated for hookups… Tinder, maybe. Are they reading a book by your favourite author and you’re wondering if it’s good? Are they wearing a tshirt from your fandom? Do they seem to know how to choose the right avocado in the grocery store? You may approach *to discuss that topic only*. If you’re half as thrilling as you think you are, she’ll express an interest in extending the conversation to other topics, or start asking you questions to get to know you as another human being.
      Note: as another *human being*, not as a set of body parts. It is never appropriate to reference body parts or what you’d like to do with them in your first conversation, even if that conversation lasts for your entire commute home.
      3. The only time it’s appropriate to ask for a photo is never. The only time it’s appropriate to send a photo without being asked is never. You can take a selfie together on your first date, but other than that, just don’t.

      It’s not difficult. Seriously. You’ll have far more “success” meeting possible romantic prospects by treating them as human beings with personalities and thoughts and feelings than you ever will by taking advice from “pick up experts” or idiots like Dan. Women don’t want a guy who’s “confidant” enough to be irritating by pestering them while they’re wearing headphones. They want a guy who’s confidant enough to treat them as equals (pro tip: because they *are* equals) with their own rights, opinions, and personal space.

    • Talking to someone like a human being not an object is the key. You don’t come on strong when you meet someone man OR woman. Give respect its not a conquest and I don’t feel this is a stereotype it’s a reality.

    • September 1, 2016 at 7:54 AM // Reply

      It’s called social cues. Reading a book or wearing headphones is a very clear cue that the person wants to be left alone. This isn’t complicated. Men are perfectly capable of reading social cues from other men. That doesn’t fly out the window because there’s a vagina in the vicinity.

      • Please don’t talk down to people. For some people, like myself, it IS that complicated. I can’t speak for others, but for me personally navigating the social cues behind flirting, dating, and romance, particularly with the opposite sex, is such a nightmare that I’ve pretty much resigned myself to never dating again, and pretty much keeping my mouth shut at all times, even in places where socialization is expected (and no, I’m not ace, nor am I on the autism spectrum, as far as I know–just socially awkward).

        • No downtalk:

          Please learn to recognize a soft no. A soft no is body language indicating that a woman is disinterested or uncomfortable. Women use this because we have been socialized to never actually SAY no because (at best) we’d be committing the cardinal sin of perceived rudeness by non-availability, or (at worst) the man we are rejecting will fucking murder us.

          1. Eye contact! If she’s avoiding your eyes, Leave. Her. Alone. It doesn’t matter if she smiles at you; smiling is an appeasement tactic in the hope that giving the strange man a measure of attention will get him to go away. Smile + looking away immediately = not interested. Smile + direct eye contact = maybe try a polite hello.

          2. Posture! Hunched shoulders, folded arms, angling away from you, trying to look physically smaller, burying herself into her book, phone, or other convenient distraction are the warning signs to look for here.

          3. Non-committal conversation! If you are having a conversation and find that you’re doing all the talking, with her making short replies in answer to direct questions without offering any follow-up or other signs of engagement, then it is time to move on.

          • I realize in retrospect that I probably came on too strong in my first comment (you wouldn’t believe how much time I spent obsessing over whether I should’ve said anything at all and wishing for a feature that allowed me to delete it–or maybe you would, but that’s neither here nor there), but something about the phrase, “this isn’t complicated,” combined with the antagonistic tone of the comment I was replying too just rubbed me the wrong way.

            But I do appreciate your response. Simple and direct, without being condescending, inflammatory, or hostile, while including useful information that showed that my comment wasn’t stupid and deserved an answer. So thanks, Droewyn, I really appreciate that.

    • Simple. Be friends first. Why do you assume you must date total strangers only? Meet nice people of whatever sex you’re attracted to. Get to know and be friends with them (i.e., in a non sexual context). Have them be part of your circle of friends. Become part of their circle of friends. Put in the time it takes to become someone they know. THEN you can ask them out with full knowledge of what kind of person they are, what their likes and dislikes are, and you won’t be this scary stranger.

      Note that this doesn’t work if you’re just trying to get in their pants. Pretending friendship just to finagle your way into someone’s bed is creepy and gross and you’ll be spotted a mile away. Just get to know people, make new friends, and see which of those relationships have the potential to blossom into something more.

  • Speaking as a male, WELL SAID AND WELL WRITTEN. I particularly like the bit about hitting on women. I think if a woman were to do that to a man, he would probably be intimidated, and you know how fragile our egoes really are. I am glad to say that I have been married to a lovely lady for over 40 years and as well as a healthy married lifestyle, we are great friends too. I would not change her for anything or anyone and I actually love making cups of tea, cooking breakfast and massaging her feet.

  • Well, Ed… firstly it’s probably not going to be at the grocery store. Or when she’s jogging. Or on the bus. Those are the places where the only ones doing the approaching are strangers. Women are both quite rightly wary of strangers, and generally uninterested in being hit on while otherwise occupied.

    If she is interested in making this an exception, she will let you know. She will look at you, smile, then look away. She may do this more than once.

    If she looks at you and looks away WITHOUT smiling, do not approach. If her smile more closely resembles a grimace of discomfort, do not approach. No matter how many times she looks at you, then looks away. If she is not giving you an actual friendly smile, she is not flirting. She is trying to determine whether you are a threat. If you see a woman threat-evaluating, then be kind. Step away if practical. Look away if not. Angle your body away from her as best you can.

    Most importantly, if she indicates in any way (through word, body language, carrier pigeon, semaphore, smoke signals, Morse code, or interpretive dance) that she’s not interested, then just bugger off.

  • Thanks Chuck! As a former recipient of said unsolicited dick pics, I thank you for acknowledging the truth – nobody wants that! And definitely not unexpectedly, when you’re just glancing at your phone in an ad break for Great British Bake-Off.

  • Chuck, you genius you! Only quibble, now that tears of laughter have stopped, move the part about women to the TOP. Men need daily reminders, it seems. Overall, brilliant post! I haven’t laughed so hard since your takedown of the tiny house people.

    • He started with relatable toilet humour and put the feminism stuff at the bottom so that the men who actually need to read it would get pulled in by humour, and due to having read four-fifths of the article and found it real and funny, might then actually read the rest.

      If he’d started with the feminism part, those men would have dismissed it immediately and not read it. He was being very careful as a craftsman/writer. I would even hazard a guess that the entire rest of the article existed only to get men to read the final point.

  • Oh, thank you for your rant about bathrooms.

    I lived with a man who flat-out refused to contain his urine within the confines of the toilet bowl. There’s nothing that will kill a relationship faster than having to take a sponge and follow the trail of bad aim down the curve of the front of the toilet and floor every few days. You see, “It’s not me, the toilet leaks” or “It’s not me, you did it” somehow excused him from cleaning the toilet. He’d cheerfully scrub the sink and tub, but apparently his territory was so thoroughly marked that even HE wouldn’t get too close. Buh-bye.

    And don’t even get me started on men who feel the line to the toilet is too long and decide that watering the landscape is an option.

  • HAHA you have a new one to addd to this article and I swear on my life it happened. I went on a date on Sunday it was our first date. The guy had no manners, and we got lost at the wrong resturants meaning i was at one down the road and him at another. He went and bought his own dinner first, and almost did not buy mine. Even went on to ask how much it would cost! NO joke…no joke! So the whole time as I’m trying to eat what he did buy me and he takes part of it for whatever reason……he’s leaning in and keeping on trying to touch me in anyway he can and it feels the entire date like he’s trying to get me to kiss him! I’m on a fucking first date you fucker I don’t want to kiss. Why do men do that? Not everyone wants to kiss or touch on the first date I”m feeling you out to see if you are ok and safe enough and someone I cna talk to Not someone I can make out with first date.

    Then the fucker goes 10 feet away (maybe) …..pulls out his penis and starts to fuckign piss on the tree……no shit……I”m like O_O I mean he was all I should just do it here I don’t think you mind attitude caus ehe’ stoo fucking lazy to drive downt hte mfuckr road? Seriously? HE PIEED ON THE TREE INFRONT OF ME! WHAT THE HELL!?

    I’m not …….sure how else to sum up the suckiness of his dating technique but he was worst than tha loseer who hits on blind women etc. He was a prime example of what not to do to be a man.

  • I wear earphones to listen to music AND because I’m not interested in talking to anyone. A lot of people wear earphones for those two main reasons, I imagine. But oh the bathroom! High school and college men’s room! Public men’s room! I pass by and am surprised that I haven’t fainted at the smell. I didn’t really know that it looked worse than it stank though. ::sigh::

  • Vivid and hilarious, which is the best way to have an impact. At least if the sink is icky and wet, it represents the guys who actually washed their hands. Many don’t, according to a guy who was revolted by seeing them handle their penises, walk straight out the door, and proceed to shake hands with the next unsuspecting acquaintance. Ugh.

  • Something I read on the cubicle wall in the ladies at my uni (years ago): Pissy Missy! Clean up after yourself! Somehow, it got written into the collective female experience that toilet seats are ooky, and hovering is the Way to Go.

    It’s not. If you’re icked, use one of those little sheets, but don’t hover, perch on the seat, whatever it is you’re doing that caused that note to be written.

  • I’ll add one more. YOU CAN SHARE. I know, shocker, but you actually can take up ONE seat on the train, auditorium, movie seat, etc. Shut your legs you’re not carrying the grand canyon between them, and no one is impressed. You actually CAN walk down the sidewalk without blocking everyone coming toward you. When you refuse to, you actually can notice the person walked right into you because you left them no alternative. Every infraction doesn’t need to result in puffing out your chest and showing everyone your fabulous ego problem.

  • Well said, and it pleases me that I found this on the Facebook page of my son. Yeah, I managed to raise a cool feminist man! AND. Ed has a point. A good friend spent some years in Santa Barbara, and complained about the lack of sexual opportunity, what with all the guys being terrified of approaching a woman, lest they be thought sexist.

  • That was great! Some advice on the home repair stuff (and this often goes for car repair as well): if you are going to go for it, 1) make sure you watch at least 3 different YouTube videos (long ones, all the way through) about what you intend to do, 2) buy the right tools and materials, all of them, no skimping, 3) have a trusted friend or family member who has done the work there with you, or at least ready to clean up the mess, and 4) do not rush, spend time stepping back, evaluating and planning. If you do these steps every time, in 10-15 years you will have the tools and mental capacity to better evaluate whether or not you can handle the next job. Paradoxically, you will often have more money at that point in your career to possibly afford to pay someone else to do it! :)

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