Manliness is a lost art. What is manliness? At the heart it means being prepared - for anything life throws at you, small or large. Being able to react to those challenges and overcoming them.
In the "old days" men always had a knife on them. Not for violence, but for utilitarian purposes. Things like opening a letter, cutting off a loose thread on your clothing, opening a box, removing a tag, sharpening a pencil, fixing that snagged fingernail. All those little roadblocks from day to day that divert you from your real goal. When I get an Amazon order in the mail, I cant wait to open it up, yet I can never seem to find the scissors to cut open the impossible plastic packaging. But my knife is always in my pocket to assist me in tearing through it. A pocket knife is a faithful companion.
But it can help in other situations too by functioning as an emergency tool box: removing a staple, prying up a nail, punching an extra notch on your belt, an emergency screwdriver for your glasses, opening a can of paint, slicing paper or tape, scribing a line, carving wood.
A knife works as a makeshift fork, spoon, or knife. No, it's not ideal, but I did know a guy in college who would sit there carving off chunks of pepperoni with his pocket knife. You can slice cheese, open a beer, and if you have a Swiss army knife, open a bottle of wine. You get the idea - a knife is a great utilitarian utensil.
A pocket knife is an outdoor essential. I will even go as far as to say that any one who goes off into the woods without a knife is a fool. Countless situations can arise in the outdoors where your very survival is at stake. It could be as simple as a buddy tangled in a fishing line, or maybe a more dire situation where a quick hike on Saturday afternoon takes a turn for the worse. If all you brought is just a bottle of water you may not make it through the night. A knife can shave some bark and provide the spark to get a fire going. It's not a medical kit, but it may help you cut a seat belt in a dire circumstance like a burning or submerged car, or allow you to cut that notch into your belt for you to create a makeshift tourniquet.
Finally and arguably most important, a knife is a survival weapon. I wont pretend that a knife will protect you from a robber with a gun, but in a one on one mugging I am not going down without a fight. Maybe just showing the knife is enough to scare an attacker away. If it's not, I am making sure he goes home in some pain - even if I never see the light of another day. I refuse to be an easy target.
I can't tell you what knife to carry. I prefer a locking blade because I don't want an attacker being able to close it back on my hand. If all you have is a cheap $10 folder, it still cuts and slices. If you can afford something more expensive, that's great. What ever you choose, keep it sharp and keep it with you all the time.
Jeremy Wright is a self described opinionated bastard. Follow him on Facebook.