Many of the male rituals your dad or grandfather indulged in have been replaced by more efficient alternatives, or have just grown unpopular over time, remaining in either case quaint and esoteric relics of the past. Sometimes this makes sense; for instance, e-mail is a far better tool for everyday communication than letter-writing. Alternatively, taking the time to sit down, compose your thoughts and physically write out a letter to a family member or colleague gives you the opportunity to reflect on what you're saying, and it produces an actual physical object that will mean something to the person who receives it.
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From the collection Manliness: