Excuse the silly question in the title, but A) I wanted a compelling title, and B) it seems as though some laymen don't know!
I've heard single Catholic women lament that there are only two types of men:
A) Those with a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, who love God, take their Faith seriously, are very knowledgeable about the Faith, are able to deny themselves and fast, they have self-discipline, serve Mass, know the basic prayers, say a daily Rosary, make a thanksgiving after communion, know and sing various Catholic hymns and chant, and in general they place God first in their lives
B) Those without a vocation who are pretty much the opposite. God falls very low on their priority list, after having fun, amusing themselves, even committing certain sins. They don't place their Faith first in their lives. They don't know much about the Faith (Catholic doctrine, Church history, lives of the Saints, Latin, Liturgy), they are slaves to various habits and passions, they generally are undisciplined so you know they couldn't make it in any seminary or monastery, they can't serve Mass and don't want to learn how, they might know the prayers of the Rosary, but nothing more, and they don't say a daily Rosary, they rush out right after Mass without making a thanksgiving, they never sing, much less Chant, and in general they are very worldly.
Perhaps this is where the urban legend was born that ex-seminarians are highly sought after by young Trad ladies? (It didn't seem to be true in my case, but I digress)
What I want to know is: why can't there be LAYMEN with all those good traits I listed under A)?
Obviously a lot of men fall somewhere in between. As a matter of fact, most of the exceptions that exist are probably CathInfo members -- we attract a lot of serious Catholics, who are almost exclusively laymen. But I want to talk about a very specific issue:
Why can't ALL healthy young men learn how to serve Mass? Why is serving Mass considered something that boys, aspiring seminarians, seminarians and ex-seminarians have to do? Why do some men so quickly erase "learn how to serve Mass" from their bucket list without having accomplished it?
I believe these same young men who can't serve Mass are the same ones who don't even CONSIDER a vocation. They don't even try it out. And not only do they quickly dismiss the idea of a vocation, but they don't feel any need to serve God as a layman. That's the part that deserves serious criticism.
Even if you aren't going to give your whole life to God as a sacrifice of Religion: if you're going to get married, experience the joys of married and family life, have children, make money, be your own boss (eat when you want to, recreate when you want to, etc.) there is still plenty of room for SACRIFICE and SERVICE in a layman's life. There are still plenty of ways the Church needs you, even though you're a layman. As a layman you are not completely "off the hook".
I've heard the reasons of certain young men how they "know" they are called to be married, and I have to laugh. "I am attracted to women, so I know I'm meant to be married." Uh, yeah...and all priests and religious are homosexuals? Try again, bubba!
A man will be in this state for years, unable to find a spouse, and yet he's supremely confident that he's called to be married. And in the meantime, he doesn't look into a vocation at all, and doesn't even learn how to serve Mass.
Unless your knees or health won't permit it, I think all men (especially young men) should know how to serve Mass. It's a privilege reserved to men. Even kings were honored to serve at the altar of sacrifice to the Most High God. But that was in the Ages of Faith. How far we have fallen today.
NOTE: Men serving the Church in other roles (usher/man who takes up collection, sacristan, Rosary leader, choir, choir leader, organist, chapel coordinator) count as serving Mass. These roles are necessary just as altar servers are necessary. And none of these can be done by the priest.