There would be camping trips and footballs to throw! So he decided to make a book out of a manly bucket list to overcome his fears and generally effete way of doing things. He did a 24-hour shift with Los Angeles firefighters. He knocked back Scotch, went hunting, and survived three days of Army boot camp.
So what'd he learn? What does being a man mean to Joel Stein?
"I think being a man today means less than it used to. It will always mean less than it used to. Don Draper [of '60s 'Mad Men" fame] seems like such a man. He says no to things, but if you remember those segments in the first season or two where they show his dad, and his dad was like coming home and just beating the heck out of his wife and his kids. It was like, 'Oh, men were even scarier before Don Draper.' They're always going to be scarier the further you go back. Being a man these days? It's still some version of being able to stick up for yourself and people around you, and it's still about being self-sufficient in every way."
Mr. Zevin lived in Brooklyn as a stay-at-home dad of two. And wrote a book about it.
He eventually left Aloof Hipster Dad in his Brooklyn playground and moved to suburban Larchmont, N.Y. where he worships at Costco and posts to YouTube interviews he does from his minivan. A balloon-twisting party clown was a recent subject.
What surprised Zevin about staying home with his kids?