Friday, October 2, 2015

Apparently the New York Times thinks that "Modern Man" means "Consumer Obsessed Teenage Girl".

"A man may make a list. But he may not make a dumb one." -Jaqen H'ghar, probably.
The other day, some dopey guy at the New York Times decide that he was going to tell all us rubes about how to be a "modern man". Because we all know the NYT is where we go to learn about being real men, right? I'm not really even sure what a "modern man" is supposed to mean. Either you're a man or you're not. In fact, we men don't really talk about being manly. To do so...isn't. You just do it.

Frankly, the whole article is embarrassing - for the guy who wrote it that is. Apparently, all you have to do to be a "modern man" is to buy a few certain things, have certain fashion preferences, and (get this) have all the same behaviors as a liberal white girl living in downtown Portland.

Luckily, I'm here to correct the record. I'll put the New York Times list in italics, and my commentary in bold. Let's begin, shall we?

1. When the modern man buys shoes for his spouse, he doesn’t have to ask her sister for the size. And he knows which brands run big or small. First of all, you don't buy your wife shoes. She's perfectly capable of picking out her own shoes. She doesn't need you (and probably doesn't want you) buying her shoes. She probably enjoys buying her own shoes. You want to get her something nice? It's called jewelry.

2. The modern man never lets other people know when his confidence has sunk. He acts as if everything is going swimmingly until it is. If I've had a bad day, I'm confident enough to tell people that I've had a bad day. Oh, and real men never use the word "swimmingly" to describe a good day.

3. The modern man is considerate. At the movie theater, he won’t munch down a mouthful of popcorn during a quiet moment. He waits for some ruckus. Considerate? Sure. I'm not sure this extends to me waiting to eat some freakin' popcorn at a movie. Just don't smack it like some prehistoric mastadon.

4. The modern man doesn’t cut the fatty or charred bits off his fillet. Every bite of steak is a privilege, and it all goes down the hatch. First of all, a filet mignon has one "l". A man knows how to spell things. Second, a filet mignon doesn't have much fat on it. That's why lots of people order it. A real man orders a bone-in ribeye and cooks it so there's no char. Also, a real man is comfortable enough to eat what he wants without having to seek refuge in some sort of trivial show/exercise of eating something burned. I'm starting to think the guy that wrote this has issues.

5. The modern man won’t blow 10 minutes of his life looking for the best parking spot. He finds a reasonable one and puts his car between the lines. Parking between the lines is a requirement, not really a sign of being a man. It's a fundamental driving skill. Oh, and park wherever, dude.

6. Before the modern man heads off to bed, he makes sure his spouse’s phone and his kids’ electronic devices are charging for the night. This is a little controlling, no? Maybe teach your kids some self-reliance. Didn't charge your phone last night? Oh well, maybe next time you'll learn to do that, son.

7. The modern man buys only regular colas, like Coke or Dr Pepper. If you walk into his house looking for a Mountain Dew, he’ll show you the door. Show me the door? Huh? A man drinks what he likes to drink, and he doesn't judge other's tastes, especially his guests'. If it's water, beer, or tang, it's up to him. I prefer a good bourbon.

8. The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton. Proper names? Does he also say "telephone" all the time instead of just "phone"? Don't be this guy. No one likes this guy.

9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day. Actually, this one is fine. Congrats, bro. You got one right.

10. The modern man makes sure the dishes on the rack have dried completely before putting them away. This is just common sense, kind of like: Make sure your zip up your pants before you leave the house. Could have gone with that.

11. The modern man has never “pinned” a tweet, and he never will.
Okay, I see we're back to trivial shows of manliness here.

12. The modern man checks the status of his Irish Spring bar before jumping in for a wash. Too small, it gets swapped out. Riiiiiight. Nothing says "real man" like having a plan for your soap usage. Oh, and I noticed you picked a manly bar of soap. Great consumer choice insert, there.

13. The modern man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week. I see we're back to another consumer choice that defines being a man.  The guy who wrote this seems to thing that displaying certain fashions is really what being a modern man is all about. I would suggest Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, and Beethoven.

14. The modern man still jots down his grocery list on a piece of scratch paper. The market is no place for his face to be buried in the phone. You get whatever your wife tells you to get. Don't get creative; just follow orders, soldier.

15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords. More consumer choices. Hardwood floors and Kenneth Coles. Okay, Mr. Stampy-Foot, I get it. You really like defining yourself by what you purchase.

16. The modern man lies on the side of the bed closer to the door. If an intruder gets in, he will try to fight him off, so that his wife has a chance to get away. Get away to where? You're blocking her path to the door, bro. If an intruder has broken into your house and is heading for your bedroom, a man gets a shotgun and solves the problem with some buckshot going 1325 feet per second.

17. Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew he serves be so uniformly shaped? Are we talking about being a man, or are we talking about Martha Stewart?

18. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn. This one honestly made me laugh out loud. It immediately follows the point about a real man having a melon baller, but he's only "thought seriously" about buying a shoehorn? I think they give you shoe horns free with most dress shoes these days. If not, you can get one for less than $5 on amazon. Serious thought? Either get one or don't, but don't hurt yourself thinking about it too hard. It's not a Socratic Dialogue you need to ponder.

19. The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry. Eh, don't get too carried away with this.

20. On occasion, the modern man is the little spoon. Some nights, when he is feeling down or vulnerable, he needs an emotional and physical shield. I think I'm starting to get it; the modern man is basically a teenage girl. 

21. The modern man doesn’t scold his daughter when she sneezes while eating an apple doughnut, even if the pieces fly everywhere. Why would you scold anyone for sneezing? It's a completely involuntary act. Lighten up, Francis.

22. The modern man still ambles half-naked down his driveway each morning to scoop up a crisp newspaper. Like, one made out of paper? And delivered? They still do that? How adorable. If you happen to still live in 1950 where this happens, send your well-trained dog.

23. The modern man has all of Michael Mann’s films on Blu-ray (or whatever the highest quality thing is at the time). Really. We get it. You're into defining yourself with purchasing consumer items and displaying them. Just stop, you're embarrassing yourself.

24. The modern man doesn’t get hung up on his phone’s battery percentage. If it needs to run flat, so be it. Back to the trivial show of bravado. I see you're really living on the wild side there with your low battery phone. You're just breaking all the rules. Living by your own law. Or maybe you're an idiot.

25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will. Doesn't calling a "firearm" a "gun" violate dumb-ass rule number 8? Oh, and a real man knows how to use a gun. He also knows how to use a chainsaw, drive a standard, start a fire, and tie a bow tie.

26. The modern man cries. He cries often. No, not often. Acceptable times to cry: Death of a loved one, death of your dog, when visiting a memorial of honored dead, when watching certain movies, it can get very dusty in the room, and you may look like you're crying. Not acceptable times to cry: when your sports team loses, when you don't get your way, when people need you to be strong, baseball.

27. People aren’t sure if the modern man is a good dancer or not. That is, until the D.J. plays his jam and he goes out there and puts on a clinic. I'll keep this short so you don't get confused: real men can dance.


  1. Holy cow. Bet his world is mauve... I like Heinlein's definition a bit better:

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

    Robert Heinlein via:

    - The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

  2. I had to Google Michael Mann. I hated Miami Vice.

  3. I had to Google Michael Mann. I hated Miami Vice.

  4. I thought you were overreacting until I got to the melon baller. And the shoehorn....

  5. Thought you might appreciate this, though very NSFW, adult language (AKA "cussin"), etc., etc., YMMV....