The FHM Bloke Test

   It must be said that my opinions on what it takes to be a man seem to widely diverge from those on display in magazine titles tailored towards us males. For me, being a man is about chivalry and respect, helping those who need it and showing courtesy via one's actions and deeds. Great male role models to me would be those who understand empathy and bravery, those with stoicism and courage to do what is right - fellows such as Tony Benn and, the albeit fictional, Lloyd Dobler spring to mind. Another example would be my Dad who is a real life hero; a fireman who has saved literally scores of lives, meaning he has been, and remains, a continual source of inspiration for me in my pursuit of being an exemplary gentleman.

   Yet, these opinions are not met by those in the men's magazine publishing sector which has an editorial emphasis on being a "bloke" rather than a "man" - their ideology reflects a real crisis in masculinity where the extremes of juvenility are celebrated much more so than real achievement. Yesterday I decided to brave purchasing a travel sized edition of the latest FHM magazine to read on a train journey; hypothetically we should be writing about the same topics so maybe, just maybe, the piece of literature I bought could provide inspiration for this blog? It proved not to be the case. However, one piece in particular piqued my attention but, sadly, it was for all the wrong reasons.

   On page 60 of the December 2012 issue of FHM there is a feature named "The Bloke Test" which apparently has been completed by eight different luminaries to date including individuals such as the odious coward Russell Howard. The premise of the feature is to find out, in a very unscientific fashion, how much of a "bloke" the subject is by asking them 15 separate questions in regards to their fashion tastes and even fire safety skills. Somewhat foolhardily I decided that I would throw myself head-first into such a thing as I would not, otherwise, have been able to sleep at night if I didn't know who was a bigger bloke out of myself and the gelatinous, oleaginous, mucilaginous, odious coward Russell Howard. The odious and cowardly Howard scored eight "bloke points" out of a possible fifteen. Were I to score higher than him, I would have to review my entire belief system and have to spend sometime trying to correct my own failures - the only solution, I decided beforehand, would be to sell all my material possessions and spend some years of self-improvement in a Buddhist retreat trying to wash away the stains branded onto my tainted soul.

   The following are REAL questions from FHM along with my attempts to answer them, and the points the magazine would reward for such answers.

01 Do you enjoy scented candles?
To me this would be like saying "do you like music". It depends what it is. If it's a nice aroma, why would I possibly object? Who would say "I hate nice smells"? On the whole I guess I'd say scented candles are like R.E.M. I quite enjoy them when they're around but seldom find myself going out of my way to experience them so, when they do return to my life, I forget how much I enjoy them which is a pleasant surprise.

Verdict: Not Bloke
(The "Bloke" answer apparently should be "I hate nice smells")

02 Have you ever drunk so much energy drink you thought you were going to have a heart attack?

No. Why would I have done?

Verdict: Not Bloke
(Apparently to be a "Bloke" you have to make yourself ill via consuming too much caffeine.)

03 Have you ever shaved a part of your body other than your face?

Yes. My neck. I'm an adult male so I grow hair under my chin and on my neck. It would be rather peculiar to say the least to have a clean-shaven face with a goat-like beard.

Verdict: Not Bloke
("Bloke" answer - no shaving anywhere but the face.)


04 What's the biggest thing you've set on fire?
Erm. A log fire?

Verdict: Not Bloke
("Bloke" answer is apparently larger than this. I really don't understand the encouragement of this type of behaviour.)

05 Have you ever had sex in a car?
Not only do I think it's unbecoming for a gentleman to talk with such open frankness in public about his sex life, I also think it's quite boring. I don't care where Ray Winstone or Seann William Scott, two previous FHM "blokes", have had intercourse and I'm quite frankly baffled as to why the person who composed these questions would care either.

Verdict: Not Bloke
("Bloke" answer would, I assume, be me declaring I'd had a threesome in a Ferrari with Jodie Marsh and Katie Price and then felt good about myself rather than crying in a fetal position about how empty and vapid my life is).

06 Have you ever barfed on a girl's shoes?
I have no idea why masculinity should be quantified by vomiting on a child's footwear. (Unless they're using "girl" as an infatilising term for "women".)

Verdict: Not Bloke
("Bloke" answer I'm assuming would be to not only be sick on a child's shoes but then to urinate on them in front of the alarmed mother. I'm really struggling to get in the mind-frame of what a "bloke" is in case you can't tell).

07 Do you own a pair of coloured jeans?
Of course not. I am an adult

Verdict: BLOKE!
(Oh golly!)

08 Have you ever spent a significant amount of time talking to an animal?
I've really lost track of what these questions are trying to achieve but, as a sentient adult, I do believe that the majority of animals have limited cultural understanding and conversational levels. I'm assuming this is why the editor assumed the typical FHM reader would get on well with animals.

Verdict: Not Bloke
(Apparently most "blokes" are like Eddie Murphy in that film. The Klumps)

09 Are you banned from anywhere?
I am quite certain I have, at the very least, a cordial relationship with most people I have met.

Verdict: Not Bloke
(It would seem that to be a "bloke" I would have to display tendencies where I could hear animal's voices, vomit on children, become a pyromaniac starting dangerous sized uncontrolled fires and get banned from public places for bad behaviour. It seems the ultimate "bloke" is somewhere between the Son of Sam and a nightmare Jim Carrey film).

10 Have you ever thrown a punch and missed?
Sadly I have to say "yes" here. Of the two punches I've thrown in my life, both were at the same leader of drunken gang of Scottish Snow Patrol fans.

Verdict: BLOKE!
("Blokes" have to be bad at fighting too it would seem).

11 Have you ever tasted your own semen?

Verdict: Not Bloke
(Apparently "blokes" should be gargling their own jism to show how manly they are. I doubt a real man, such as Abraham Lincoln, negotiated the emancipation of slaves whilst swilling his own brackish man-juice. I'm confused at the barometer FHM are using to discern what a "bloke" is - I'm leaning on the theory that "bloke" is short hand for "psychologically challenged").

12. Have you ever had a poo with someone else in the room?I have no idea under what circumstance this could actually be a thing that transpired to a real human being.

Verdict: Not Bloke
(If becoming a "bloke" means invited men into my bathroom so they can watch me defecate, presumably whilst one or more of us would be "blokishly" gargling our own semen and talking to animals, then I'm quite happy to be scoring lowly here).

13. Have you ever put your penis between your legs and pretended to be a girl?
My mid-riff looks like Teen Wolf so, even if I decided that this was something I wanted to do, although again I cannot think of a situation at any point of my life where doing so would have enhanced mine or others' enjoyments, I fear I would be unable to achieve this.

Verdict: Not Bloke
(I'm beginning to understand that "bloke" may actually just be a synonym for Silence Of The Lamb's Buffalo Bill ).

14 Have you ever thought you might be Jesus?

Verdict: Not Bloke
(Personality disorder, it would seem, is essential to being a great FHM reader).

15 Have you ever worn a trilby?
I don't suit one and i appreciate they have been tainted forever by their association with drug buffoon Pete Doherty but I've certainly tried them on before and believe more men would benefit from wearing hats (not baseball caps) on a regular basis. Though not in doors of course.

Verdict: Not Bloke
(Hats are out of order but regularly consuming your own reproductive fluids is fine according to this test).

Scoring 2 out of 15 means I am, without a doubt, not a bloke. I am now worried, however, that people who have seen me reading FHM in public will assume that I am one and tar me with the same psycopathic brush as other "blokes". I think it's safe to say though, that more men should spend more time reading Tony Benn's diaries rather than vomiting on girl's shoes. I am also considering phoning the police and/or psychiatric facilities to report anyone I suspect of buying this magazine on a regular basis.

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