Manning: You’re Doing it Wrong

Image of older man looking disgusted, saying "You're Manning wrong."
July 21, 2019  
Categories: Assorted Ramblings
Tags: WTAF

I’m old. I don’t go to Denny’s at 5 PM for the early bird special, wear pants with elastic waistbands or watch “Matlock” and ” Murder She Wrote” reruns. However, being forty-nine, I don’t consider myself “middle-aged”; more like— “closer to death than birth.” But times change. What defines a man today is obviously different than what “Manning” meant when I was younger. That being said, some constants should apply. Here’s how I see it.

Just a Few Guidelines for “Manning”


Soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and something you can buy at CVS to style your hair. If you are using a series of pomades, gels, and sprays to “style” your hair, you are wrong! Go beat your face!

Soap doubles as shampoo. No exfoliants, skin cleansers, moisturizers. If the skin on your hands is cracked and peeling, congratulations! You’re doing, “manning” right.

Manning: Image of working man's hands

Image source: Fine Art America


Once the provenance of bikers, veterans, parolees, and strippers. Now everyone has one, even your mom.

If you’re going to get one, keep it manly. Coy fish and lotus flowers may make a Yakuza gangster look tough but it makes you look like Adam Levine.

If you want to cover your body in ink, here’s some suggestions: images of machine guns, knives, unit crests, skulls, scantily clad members of the opposite sex, but no nude women tats on your back though, ask a cop or parolee why ( Here’s a hint, it gives bigger, more dominant inmates something to look at when they are behind smaller, submissive ones… )

And please, no tribal bands.


Allowed when a loved one passes away


You suffer serious injury or mutilation to your genitalia. Also, on the anniversary of the date that your twig and/or berries were mangled, to mourn your loss.

That’s it. No crying when watching Old Yeller, Blackhawk Down, Saving Private Ryan, End of Watch, dancing with the stars, and so on..


Wearing pajama bottoms in public is unacceptable, period. That includes long trips on airplanes. It used to be people dressed up for air travel, not down. If you are going to wear jammies go for the full effect and put on a diaper. Then you won’t have to get up during the flight to use the potty. Go suck on a pacifier while you’re at it.

Flip flops: Acceptable if you are a Navy Seal in the Mekong Delta, wearing a do-rag, tiny UDT shorts and sporting a Stoner machine gun, a dive knife between your teeth and Rolex. Or, in the shower (that’s why they call them shower- shoes).

And never wear the official uniform of Frat Boys everywhere, backward baseball hat, white t-shirt, khaki shorts, and flip flops.

Don’t wear the “vet costume” either. From top to bottom. Subdued color hat (options include coyote tan, ranger green) with Velcro patch in front for morale patches saying any of the following: Zero F*cks, given, suck meter, 1*. Range glasses resting on the brim of said hat. Beard, (usually paired up with Coy Pond tattoos), Ranger Up, Under Armor, Affliction t-shirt, rigger’s belt, pants with lots of pockets, tactical sneakers (or the dreaded flip-flop).

Folks can tell you served by the way you carry yourself, not what you wear. Those who can’t, don’t matter.

Buy a new hat and wear it in yourself. Don’t purchase a pre-faded one with a torn bill courtesy of some 13-year-old in a sweatshop in Malaysia who has access to a belt sander. What’s next— hats with fake sweat rings?


If you're "manning" right, your beer doesn't come in a fruit cup.

Budweiser’s Super Bowl 50 ad. Image source:

God created Budweiser, Coors, Miller, and PBR for a reason—so men don’t have to spend time thinking, which cuts into drinking time. If your favorite microbrew is only available in one bar and has just a hint of chocolate in it that resonates in your mouth, its time to drink wine. Go tie a sweater around your Ralph Lauren shirt and go wine tasting.


On the 6th day, God created beer, on the 7th, Whiskey. Wild Turkey, Jack Daniels are both good. I’ll allow Jameson’s since it tastes like “light whiskey” to me and would be a nice compliment to a light beer, especially in a boilermaker (AKA a man-cocktail).

Vodka is good too (millions of Russians can’t be wrong). Rum is okay, but only if you are a pirate.


Alcohol+non-alcoholic addition, that’s it. Whiskey and water, Jack and Coke, beer and whiskey shot (the boilermaker). No splash of grenadine, lemon peels, or fruit chunks. Nothing that gets mixed in a blender with a little umbrella in it. I’ll let the Martini slide since James Bond drank it but nothing else in the “-tini” category (appletini, chocolatetini, FriedGreenTomatotini, etc.)


Black or, if used for an actual tactical purpose, camo. Two-toned guns are the acid-washed jeans of the gun world, don’t accessorize with them. Gold or silver plated guns are for pimps, gangsters and drug dealers. Stainless only if you are on a boat and saltwater corrosion is a real issue.

Chuck Norris Manning Done Right - no two-toned blitzy guns

Ever see Norris with a blitzed out gun? Yeah, me neither.


Nothing battery powered. If it has only two seats it needs to be a truck or sports car, not a mini-cooper or some other, “sneaker on wheels”. If you drive a Prius, stop reading my article! You’re not worthy to partake in it! Start the manning up process again by repeatedly punching yourself in the face until I say stop!

If you are a parent and must drive a minivan, do it with the doors open with “Flight of The Valkyrie” playing at 300 decibels. Drive like your hair is on fire when going to pick up your kids at school. Don’t stop, just drive by real fast, yelling out the window, “THIS LZ IS TOO HOT!!! I’LL COME BACK AROUND FOR A GUN RUN!!!!!”

Image: manning done right: real men drive minivans

Real men drive minivans.

So that how I see it. If you don’t like it, go wax your beard in your safe space.

More about manliness.

Nick Perna: See the rest of his articles on Breach Bang Clear.

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Nick Perna

Nick Perna

About the Author

Nicholas Perna is a former Army officer from the 82nd Airborne turned Army Reservist and police officer who has (among other awards) been decorated for valor in the line of duty and a recipient of the Officer of the Year Award in his department. An EMT and current street crimes supervisor, Perna has worked detectives, patrol, street crime suppression, counter-gang, counter-narcotics, SWAT and in numerous other billets. As a police officer he's worked collateral assignments as a SWAT Team Leader, Firearms Instructor and Terrorism Liaison Officer; while active duty he served as an airborne medical platoon leader, company commander, battalion intelligence officer and battalion OPSO. A combat veteran, while serving in Iraq in '03 he led a team of SOF soldiers conducting psychological operations as part of Joint Special Operations Task Force Arabian Peninsula. Perna has previously been published in SWAT Magazine, Soldier of Fortune, Havok Journal, Police One, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, Counter Terrorist Magazine, the NTOA's Tactical Edge, the CATO Quarterly journal, the Homeland Security First Responder Network and other places. We don't know him well enough to make fun of him yet, but it certainly seems like he's a candidate for grumpy old man jokes like Hernandez and Reeder, and you can rest assured we're trying to get picture of him as a boot 2nd Lieutenant.


  1. Wombat5

    Second the single malt Scotch for the manly menu. Also, agree that it should be “maning up” not “manning up”. If the wussies confuse the root word with mane, as in lion’s mane, so be it. My 20 pesos.

  2. Bob S

    screw the bud, screw the fruity IPAs too. you need Oak Barrel Bourbon Porter…..Home made and made with real oak barrel staves and Makers Mark. GOOD STUFF! Man up (notice…only one “n”, you don’t want to be confused with shirley manning or whoever whatever he/she/it is)

  3. Joel Cochran

    Pleasant and humorous, Nick.

    As the father of a recovering alcoholic son, please suggest to your reading audience that “manning” also means drinking in moderation or just having a ginger ale when out with friends. Losing your job, family, driving privileges and earthly possessions; living in jail occasionally, having no money and forced at the age of 44 to live at home with mom and dad is not what you want in life. This is what our son has experienced as a direct result of beer and vodka consumption. From his first drink, he could not handle it.

    Best wishes to you and your readership.

  4. Walkin O'Shea

    Yup Nick. That’s about right.

  5. Thomas

    OMG this was so great. I forwarded this to a friend and was shocked, yet not surprised by the possibility of this from the clan at Breach Bang Clear, when I typed their name abbreviation in the subject line as BBC. Coincidence? Pretty sure not. LMFAO!!!
    Keep up the good work!!

  6. Steve

    At 49 you should have been long past watered down crappy beer and on to a good 9% IPA. Wild Turkey’s Rare Breed was good until they hired Matthew McConaughey as a spokesperson. Try Knob Creek’s 120 proof.

  7. AltheDago

    Real men drink single-malt scotch. Neat. Soda back if you have stomach issues.

    There’s a reason Budweiser, PBR, and the rest of that ilk are served ice-cold: it’s so you can’t taste them. IPAs are the thing. The only thing.

    Vodka is ethanol cut with distilled water and therefore pointless.

    • Old Hawg

      You, sir, could be my brother. We could discuss our similarities over a wee dram of 18-year-old Laphroaig, served neat and perhaps slightly warned to enhance the peat and brine.

  8. John Rablee

    This needs to posted in our SWAT team room.

  9. Dipshit

    Thanks for the fashion sense but how about learn to sharpen a knife and learn to change a damn tire.

  10. Jacqui Ketchum

    One of my favorites!

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