The Three Princples of The Modern Man

I was going to attempt to write a poem called “The Man.”  It would portray the proverbial “Man” as a shadow of his former Commie killing, hippy crushing self.  He would be an aged, fat, emasculated middle manager, who’s appearance of dominance is a facade meant to justify various justice crusaders and their march toward “equality” (or power for those whom manifested voice of “the oppressed”)  He goes along with it because he gets a big man cave, with all kinds of toys, and all the video games he can play and internet porn he can watch, with no responsibility or worrying of actually controlling and dominating society.

But it turns out the NY Times has already done my job for me.  Specifically by some guy named Brian Lombardi, in his article 27 Ways to Be a Modern Man.  Google does not turn up much about him, other than the fact he wrote this article.  The article itself does gives some clues though: “Brian Lombardi lives in DeKalb, Ill., with his wife, Linda, and their three children.”  I’m guessing he is involved in academia, since if you live in Dekalb, you either work at the local university or in the corn fields.  And  Only a male who works in academia could come up with such a pathetic, navel gazing list.  Only the “Modern Man” could come up with such an impotent, effeminate, and castrated view of masculinity and revel in it.  So I guess it does succeed in its stated goal.

The article begins with: “Being a modern man today is no different than it was a century ago. It’s all about adhering to principle. Sure, fashion, technology and architecture change over time, as do standards of etiquette, not to mention ways of carrying oneself in the public sphere. But the modern man will take the bits from the past that strike him as relevant and blend them with the stuff of today.”  The list doesn’t actually state what those principles are, the reasons for inclusions, or what is old fashion and what is new.  Instead Lombardi seems to just use little foibles of his life to illustrate those principles without actually stating them.  We can infer the principles of Modern Man from his 27 points.

1. Consumption, Possessions, and the Way Modern Man Consume Defines Modern Man and His Relationships

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.

2. The modern man checks the status of his Irish Spring bar before jumping in for a wash. Too small, it gets swapped out.

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.

13. The modern man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week.

15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords

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?

18. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.

19. The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry.

23. The modern man has all of Michael Mann’s films on Blu-ray (or whatever the highest quality thing is at the time).

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.

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

25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will

It’s interesting to note how point 25 completely contradicts point 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.”  This is clearly a fantasy, unless he imagines himself going into a suicide mission.

2. Females are Above The Modern Man and Boys

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.

9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day.

19. The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry.

21. The modern man doesn’t scold his daughter when she sneezes while eating an apple doughnut, even if the pieces fly everywhere.

While I’m sure having a daughter is a wonderful thing with its own unique challenges, the fact he seems to castigates sons is disturbing.  Why not put “child” in place of “daughter?”  Why should it only be a female heir that makes you more complete?  If you want to approach it from a gender polarity, needing a yin to your yang,  your feminine compliment should be your wife, not your offspring (unless you write for Salon of course).

3. Modern Man  Shallowly Mimics His Perceptions of  Men of The Past (Largely Bounded by Principle 1)

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.

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.

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.

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.

8. The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.

11. The modern man has never “pinned” a tweet, and he never will.

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.

15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.

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.

22. The modern man still ambles half-naked down his driveway each morning to scoop up a crisp newspaper.

This is what he considers bits of the past that are relevant and worth blending, small little gestures to “Leave it to Beaver” and “Tool Time.”

I want you to consider how many “men” adhere to these principles.  The author is of a definite strain of SWPL family man, but you find “men” of all kinds defining themselves by their knowledge of craft beer and how benevolent they are to their wives.  I may not be the paragon of manilness with my office work sculpted body and natural timidness, but I can  tell you if your looking for guidance on the nature of masculinity, Jack Donovan’s work is the best way to go.

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