5 Unconventional Manly Hobbies for the Refined Gentleman.

In American culture “manliness” is pretty narrowly defined. This means that we are looking at a short list of hobbies. What are the unconventionally manly to do if none of these interest them? Do you find sports boorish? Averse to auto mechanics? Not big on weight lifting or camping? You’re in the right place!

The following five manly hobbies are undeniably, though not “traditionally,” manly. Up your manliness game and take up one of these macho hobbies.


Would you be surprised if I told you macho men, not sweet old ladies, dominate the history of this craft? In fact, men dominated knitting for centuries! Then we got distracted for a while, but we’re coming back around. Some believe knitting was invented by men in the Middle East to make fishing nets. Knitting spread through Europe like wildfire. Soon, experienced knitters (almost exclusively men) formed guilds to regulate the industry and ensure fair business practices (think fair trade coffee). During the 16th century the knitting machine was invented and hand knitting lost favor and profitability. Men moved on to other things. There was a brief resurgence in the US during the pioneer days as pioneers needed knitted things but lacked access to manufactured goods.

There is a definite resurgence in both interest and participation in this hobby today. Other men can laugh at you for knitting your girlfriend a hat, if they want; you’ll be too busy enjoying her “appreciation” to pay much attention. Plus, knitting is manly!

Interested in knitting? Check out these resources:

RJ Knits  : a youtube channel full of good knitting tutorials. If your masculinity requires that you learn from a man, this is a great channel.

http://Www.knittinghelp.comis another great resource. Copious instructional videos, an iPhone app, and an online store. This more robust option is for those of us who don’t mind learning this “manly” art from a lady.

Flower Arranging (Ikebana)

Before you start laughing consider that this art was popular among the samurai. The manliness of these warriors is undeniable. Even now, mostly, the foremost practitioners of Ikebana are men.

This disciplined Japanese art form is more than putting pretty flowers in a container; it seeks to bring humans and nature closer together through beautiful living artwork. It’s practice aims to bring the arranger, and those who enjoy his art, closer to nature. Ikebana is an art in the same sense as painting and sculpture are. Ikebana is rich in articulate theories, has a well-documented history, and allows for deep artistic expression. In Japan, flower arrangements are decorations considered equal to paintings and other art objects. Pretty manly, eh?

Check out Ikebana International’s  about  page for more info.


Another Arabian art, it was developed in the 13th century as a decorative way to finish the rough edges of towels and other goods. As it spread though Europe it was adopted by sailors who macraméd during their long months at sea throughout the 15th to 19th centuries. When they made port they often sold or bartered their work thus spreading macramé to places like China and the Americas. Sailors even used the art to make their own gear such as: belts, hammocks, “ditty bags,” and bell fringes. As macramé can be made from almost any rope it is superbly practical and utilitarian, hallmarks of manly skills.

If you’d like to join the ranks of manly men who macramé check out  the Macramé School  or the Macramé Collective for instructional videos and much more.

Sewing and/or Fashion Design

Men have been sewing for as long as there has been cloth. The sewing machine was invented by men, and a fellow named Bosch invented the jigsaw by attaching a saw-blade to a sewing machine.

We all know sewers who are men: we call them tailors. A sewing machine is a power-tool, is it not?Aside from altering men’s clothes, tailors design and make men’s clothes. Not to mention that darning and mending ones garments is considered a survival skill.

“Fashion designer, though,” you say, “ isn’t a masculine pursuit. Most male fashion designers are effeminate, not manly.” That statement is born primarily from lack of visibility and understanding of the fashion industry demographic. What could be manlier than designing clothes that make your lady look good? Shows like Project Runway, among others, raising awareness among the public that a high percentage of fashion designers are, in fact, manly men who sew. Daymond John is a notable example. Perhaps you are, too?

Do you love to sail or boat? Then quit wasting your money buying accessories for your boat; man up and make your own! Not only will you save money, you’ll be popular with your boating buddies who will be sure to envy your custom, high quality boat swag.

Sailrite  has plenty of instructional videos to get you started pimping out your boat today. You can even learn to sew from a guy with a mustache!

Check out http://howtosew.com to get started sewing today.


There you have it! Five manly hobbies you may not have considered before. If you’re in the market, give one a try today. I personally find knitting cathartic. An added bonus for me with knitting is it gives my brain a break while writing and doing other cognitive activities. Whenever I get stuck in my writing I just knit for a few minutes. When I come back I enjoy improved focus and concentration as well as a decrease in stress levels.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the above web sites or services. I have not been paid to endorse them in any way. I recommend them merely as a place to start.

Posted by Adam Fisher