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by Sandra Prior
1. Bring a dish. Poet Robert Frost once wrote, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’ That's irony, not prescription. A real man hits the neighborhood barbeque bearing a bowl of potato salad. You won't just fill bellies, you'll strengthen bonds.
2. Pet her damn dog. Sure, it's yapping at you like you're about to steal the china, and a Frisbee toss could break its face. But it's not like we're asking you to take Fifi out for a walk or anything. Just hide some bacon in your pocket.
3. Mow your neighbor’s verge. You're already out there. Guaranteed, he won't care about property lines.
4. Donate more than dough. Like an organ or your Sunday afternoon. Giving cash to charity is a write-off. When last did you itemize your kidney?
5. Cook her something from scratch. You're not dating Nigella, are you? Be bold. Home-made anything is the way to a woman's heart.
6. Sing. Outside of the shower, that is. So what if you're tone deaf? Own karaoke night anyway. Even Axl Rose can't nail ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ anymore. The worse your pipes, the more valiant you'll appear.
7. Read a newspaper. A foreign one. You're not going to learn anything from your local opinion-editorial that you don't already know. Distance provides perspective. Perspective confers wisdom. You need both.
8. Show 'thank you', don't just say it. Talk is cheap. Ask the office cleaning lady how she is, and mean it. Thanks requires a connection, not an empty ritual.
9. Watch a fish expire. Don't close the cooler-box lid. This is the gruesome finale to your fishing trip: a desperate animal, poisoned by the very air that sustains you. See it fall still. Nature is no Disney movie. You'll never waste food again if you witness how it winds up on your plate.
10. Stand up for someone. If a colleague's being shelled in a meeting, lay down cover. You'll be his hero, and everyone else will see you as a man who weighs in when it matters.
11. Know when to shut your hole. People will forget why they decided to rename Pietersburg Polokwane, but they won't forget your geography lesson, Professor Moodkiller.
12. Mail her something - with a stamp, not a click. You check your postbox every day, though nothing good ever comes, right? So does she.
13. Pick up her tab... and expect absolutely nothing in return. Instead of slinking over to lay down a pick-up line, settle into your own drink with a nod and a smile. Women love confidence. Besides, chivalry shouldn't come with strings attached.
14. Earn a nickname. Great men have fake names. Think about it. Madiba. Satchmo, Tiger. Bakkies. What have you done to inspire yours?
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