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For Guys

Gentleman’s Guide: Survival Situations


Take Joe Swain’s survival quiz to find out if watching all those Bear Grylls episodes can actually save your life

1. To deter a hungry shark, you should:

a) Punch it firmly on the end of the nose and shout, “Stay!” in an authoritative voice. 

b) Pretend to be a large clump of weeds and loll gently with the currents. Cease breathing. Wait until the shark moves on.

c) Aim a punch at either its gills or its eyes. 

2. To escape a swarm of killer bees, you should:

a) Head straight for the nearest lake or river (preferably one with a plentiful supply of hollow-stemmed plants from which you can create a makeshift snorkel) and stay submerged until the bees get bored and leave.

b) Run like the wind in a zigzag fashion, shouting and slapping ineffectively at your own body with flailing hands. 

c) Roll up into a tiny ball and try to roll away from the bees while minimising the amount of flesh they have access to. 

3. To escape a charging bull, you should:

a) Take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and instead of trying to flee, run at it shouting. If you’ve got a bag of shopping in your arms, vegetables perhaps and a nice little steak, throw these up into the air to show your intentions.

b) Take off all your clothes and skilfully throw them at the charging bull to put it off its aim.

c) Stand your ground and calmly invite the bull to explain it’s aggression. Invite it to the nearest watering hole to discuss the matter over a pint. If that fails to stop him, turn and run.

4. When jumping into water from a great height, you should:

a) Launch yourself into a full, head first, swallow dive like those chaps that dive off the cliffs in Acapulco.

b) Simply fall forwards and leave the rest to fate. Go as floppy as possible at the point of entry into the water.

c) Jump in like a big girl, feet first. Close your eyes, clench your buttocks together and hope for the best.

5. To administer first aid for a jellyfish sting, you should:

a) Pour cold beer on the affected area. Cheap lagers are just as good as expensive ones so think for a moment before you spring into action. At a push, white wine will also suffice. 

b) Use your very worst wine. Or better still, vinegar.

c) Convince your convulsing friend that what you are about to do is a thing that must never again be mentioned. From that day forth it will be known as “the unmentionable incident”. Then put one hand up against the nearest palm tree, whistle badly and engage anyone who’ll listen in a conversation about the match that weekend.


1) c. While most people have heard somewhere that you should try and punch a shark on the end of its great big rubbery nose to make it go away, this doesn’t always work. The gills and eyes are its only real weak spots; unless you want to try a spot of regression therapy to establish where all that anger came from in the first place.

2) b. Run like the wind. Scream if it makes you feel better, but mainly just run. That’s what saves you from a swarm of killer bees apparently. The Africanised honeybee, or Killer to his mates, will aggressively defend its territory, but only up to a distance of about 200m.

3) a. Run at it shouting and yelling out as many rural English sayings as you can. “Outta ’ere u buggers.”

4) c. It’s essentially a choice between a broken back, pulverised internal organs, and a high speed enema, followed, if you’re lucky, by no more than a hurty knee. 

5) b. Unfortunately the “unmentionable” liquid theory is a scallywag of a myth. Research in Australia has revealed that both urine and beer actually accelerate the release of poison from the nematocysts (the nasty little venomous cells found in jellyfish slime) still in contact with the skin. Aside from vinegar, the wounded area should be kept at chest level and gravity neutral if possible. Too high causes the venom to travel to the heart; too low causes more swelling.