Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The NYT Modern Man examined and revised.

The recent New York Times article "27 Ways to Be a Modern Man" article by Brian Lombardi has stirred quite a wide range of responses, some positive and some negative. Although I found myself in agreement with several of the concepts and sentiments listed, I nonetheless took issue with quite a few as well.

The crux of it is this is "a" modern man, but not necessarily "the" modern man. Masculinity encompasses a broader spectrum than the article gives credit, and some of Lombardi's assertions are all well and good for an affluent urbanite but don't necessarily apply to those who wear collars of blue or live far from the nearest Neiman Marcus.

Here is my two-cent deconstruction of the "modern man."

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.  Well, naturally. But shoes are a tricky subject––does the modern man also share her sense of style? Perhaps it is wiser to fund a shopping-and-spa day instead.

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. Hmm ... so much for being honest with his feelings. I understand the concept of "faking it until you make it," but if you need help or support, wouldn't the "modern" approach be to seek it?

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. How noisy is this popcorn, anyway? It's a theater––all those present took a calculated risk that there might be sodas slurped or popcorn munched at inopportune moments. The gentle sound of popcorn munched shouldn't be that big an issue. But he should probably wait a moment before sucking out the last droplets of Pepsi.

4. The modern man doesn't cut the fatty or charred bits of his fillet. Every bite of steak is a privilege, and it all goes down the hatch. Excuse me? Now you're telling me how best to enjoy my steak? Have you seen how fatty or badly-burnt some steaks can be? Just because I'm a gluttonous gourmand who eats whatever is placed in front of me doesn't mean every man must do the same.

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. Clearly the author has never parked in a busy lot. In college I had to blow 10 minutes of my life because there wasn't anywhere reasonable to park.

6. Before the modern man heads off to be, he makes sure his spouse's phone and his kids' electronic devices are charging for the night. That's a nice gesture, to be sure, but shouldn't this be a learning opportunity for the kids to take responsibility for their own stuff?

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. Way to be an anti-Pepsico shill, Lombardi. I'll drink what I see fit, whether it's Orange Crush or Cranberry Splash Sierra Mist.

8. The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he'll say "helicopter," not "chopper" like some gauche simpleton. There is a time and a context for everything, you sanctimonious twit. Por ejemplo:

ALWAYS appropriate in polite conversation. 
9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day. Right you are. But sons can be fun, too. Kids in general are a definite learning experience.

10. The modern man makes sure the dishes on the rack have dried completely before putting them away. This is common sense for the modern everyone.

11. The modern man has never "pinned" a tweet, and he never will. Never crossed my mind.

12. The modern man checks the status of his Irish Spring bar before jumping in for a wash. Too small, it gets swapped out. So it's okay for the modern man to be wasteful of his soap, but not his steak? I also detect more corporate shillery afoot.

"That's why I use Mighty-Whitey toothpaste ... because
I want my teeth to look ... Amazing." 
13. The modern man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week. How about NO?

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 his phone. I do prefer paper, but whatever works. Adapting to modern circumstances and such.

15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords. Again with the brand-naming? And although hardwood floors are lovely, and make for some excellent Hot Wheels racing, there's nothing wrong with a nice berber here or there.

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. Yes, this is good, but why not lie on the side of the bed closest to the baseball bat? Or the handgun? Then there will be no need to get away at all.

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? Let me ask you this: how often does the modern man eat melon? Does he have constant access to good melon? Because I sure don't. Save your money ... buy a pizza cutter instead.

18. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn. But clearly he hasn't. Guess he doesn't care that much about properly affixing those Kenneth Cole oxfords.

19.  The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry. Why doesn't he grow her fresh flowers? Give her a whole garden, I say! She deserves it!

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. But what if that's the night there's an intruder and she needs to get away? And wouldn't that reveal that things aren't going "swimmingly?"

21. The modern man doesn't scold his daughter when she sneezes while eating an apple doughnut, even if the pieces fly everywhere. Can't I at least wrinkle my nose and say "eww" as I fetch the paper towels?

Missed a perfect ad placement opportunity, guys.
22. The modern man still ambles half-naked down his driveway each morning to scoop up a crisp newspaper. The modern man should put some pants on.

23. The modern man has all of Michael Mann's films on Blu-Ray (or whatever the highest quality thing is at the time). Uhhh ... duh?

It's always a good night for Collateral
24. The modern man doesn't get hung up on his phone's battery percentage. If it needs to run flat, so be it. The modern man clearly doesn't live in the 21st century. Charger at the house, charger in the car, charger in the office. Always.

25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn't own one, and he never will. Hey, everybody! "All-you-can-grab" sale at the modern man's house! I hear he's got a melon baller and a wide array of Coke products!

26. The modern man cries. He cries often. There there, little beta-male ... there there. There's nothing wrong with crying, but again, it sounds like things are not going swimmingly. Unless he's swimming in his own tears.

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. Darned right.

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