I swear, I thought this New York Times article was a joke. But no, “27 Ways to Be a Modern Man” was tucked into the Men’s Style section, under Self-Help. Maybe it’s still a joke? I hope it’s a joke. But it might not be. When you can’t tell, you have Comedy Fail right off the bat.
The grande dame of newspapers definitely skews upper-class and self-involved, especially in the lifestyle sections, but joke or not, this was an entirely new level of snot-twaddle. I swear, it’s like they were going for an “Achievement Unlocked” badge in pretentiousness.
So while I’m not usually one to play off the writing of others, the comedy gold here was just too shiny to leave un-mined. The 27 different ways of being a Modern Man are in bold below, with a more realistic take after each one.
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.
The real Modern Man knows damn well that buying shoes for his spouse is a minefield of marital conflict best avoided. Buying jewelry is wrought with peril aplenty as is. The Modern Spouse does not want him making these sort of choices, because like Jon Snow, he knows nothing.
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.
The Modern Man is obviously clueless to everything around him, and furthermore allows people to create wholly unreasonable expectations as to his competence, which runs counter to his cluelessness and sinks his confidence further. The Modern Man is in therapy a lot.
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.
The Modern Man apparently doesn’t go to the movies often. Otherwise he would know that multiplex popcorn is soggy due to soaking in artificial saturated fats. And during quiet art-house films, he starves, afraid of his quiet popcorn.
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.
The Modern Man takes Lipitor daily.
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.
The Modern Man also never buys anything bulky or heavy that might necessitate a closer parking spot, likely due to his cardiac issues from eating fatty meats.
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.
The Modern Children are far more aware of their devices’ battery status than he is, trust me. And they don’t want him anywhere near their iPhones.
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.
The Modern Man is at risk for diabetes. And seriously, when is Dr. Pepper a “regular cola?” The Modern Man’s beverage tastes are questionable, and his hospitality is severely lacking.
8. The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.
Does he also say “Automatic Teller Machine” and “Personal Identification Number?” If not, super gauche. But hey, he was already.
9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day.
So does my office-mate down the hall with two sets of twin boys struggle with incompleteness? No, he struggles with too much caffeine and not enough sleep, but dude’s got a full life.
10. The modern man makes sure the dishes on the rack have dried completely before putting them away.
You know, that’s the only thing here that makes any sense.
11. The modern man has never “pinned” a tweet, and he never will.
This is because the Modern Man will never tweet anything worth pinning. His empty, self-involved tweets merely speed up the heat-death of the universe.
12. The modern man checks the status of his Irish Spring bar before jumping in for a wash. Too small, it gets swapped out.
The real Modern Man can barely identify the shower at 6 a.m., and even occasionally fumbles around in a dark closet wondering where the faucet is. And he’s in no condition to even think about the status of his soap, which was stolen from a hotel anyway. It gets used into nothingness.
13. The modern man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week.
The Modern Man doth try too hard.
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.
If his face is buried in a piece of paper, he’s still gonna get hip-checked by Grandma and her Panzer tank shopping cart.
15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.
Passive-aggressive shoe stomping is no way to communicate with children. And besides, the Modern Spouse has already reminded him a million goddamn times to take off his shoes at the door and why doesn’t he listen?
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.
The real Modern Man chooses that prime piece of mattress real estate to be that much closer to the can when he’s gotta go at 2 a.m.
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?
Who the hell melon-balls watermelon? Monsters, that’s who.
18. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.
The real Modern Man thinks about really useless crap a whole lot, but shoehorns don’t even make the list. The real Modern Man may never have seen one except at a great-uncle’s house.
19. The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry.
Man has been doing this since time immemorial. Cavemen did this. And cavewomen thought it was sweet, even then. Then the cavewomen ate the flowers. But still, this is not a revelatory item.
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.
The real Modern Man, like his ancient forebears, flops around and farts too much for anyone to want to oblige him this way. Thus, the Modern Man is emotionally raw and chilly most nights.
21. The modern man doesn’t scold his daughter when she sneezes while eating an apple doughnut, even if the pieces fly everywhere.
Uh, he sure as hell does. Gross.
22. The modern man still ambles half-naked down his driveway each morning to scoop up a crisp newspaper.
The Modern Man has a rap sheet for indecent exposure. The real Modern Man reads the pretentious New York Times on the iPad like normal people.
23. The modern man has all of Michael Mann’s films on Blu-ray (or whatever the highest quality thing is at the time).
The Modern Man has crap taste for movies. The real Modern Man has all six Star Wars movies on iTunes, even the prequels which he rightly dislikes (except for Episode III), having bought them the day they came out.
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 stares into space a lot, lamenting his inability to listen to Wu-Tang because his iPhone flat-lined. The real Modern Man has a spare cord at work, and a portable battery, because the real Modern Man isn’t an idiot.
25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.
Does this mean that soldiers and police are somehow antiquated? And I know some deer hunters up in Vermont who would like to have Modern Words with you.
26. The modern man cries. He cries often.
If he’s trying to life life according to these precepts, you bet he does. Two boxes of Kleenex a day, minimum.
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.
Correction: He’s taken to a clinic for a slipped disc while trying to do the Electric Slide, because he knows no other dances. And really, nobody wants to see Modern Man overbite on the dance floor.