Friday, December 18, 2015

NYT Modern Man post

The modern man post (deleted the link, it was messing with my essay) at the NYT attracted a huge amount of comments, mostly fisking and criticism. The post itself almost seems to diverge on parody. Regardless, I've thought about it and have some comments to make. My comments are in bold. I've read some of the other criticisms, so my responses may line up with theirs.

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.

Uh, no. The spouse likes the retail therapy of buying shoes and the man stays out of it. 

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.

No one likes a moper, so I'd agree with this. If it's expensive or dangerous, a man lets people know when he's outside his area of expertise. "No, honey, I will not fix the leak in the shower. Faucets yes, showers are for the plumber."

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.

Well, sure be considerate, but the example is lame. Surely keeping your cell phone off and your mouth shut is more important.  

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.

It's your damn steak, eat it however you like. 

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.


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.

Maybe he double checks the spouse's phone. The kids can keep track of their own electronic devices. 

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.

Buy whatever you like. Offer what you like to a guest. If they want something different, say you don't have any. If they want to BYOB, mostly fine. If you have a friend who becomes an asshole when he drinks Southern Comfort, then tell him, "No, dude. You drink that shit away from me."

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

Why? Or use chopper at the tavern and helicopter when trying to impress the hot medical student's parents. Sometimes you eat your pie with a fork, other times you can eat it with your hands. (Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein)

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

Having a kid of any kind is a learning adventure. 

10. The modern man makes sure the dishes on the rack have dried completely before putting them away.

They can finish drying in the cupboard as well as in the rack. But I live in New Mexico, so YMMV.

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

I don't know what this is, so sure. 

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

I suppose assembling his tools before doing a job is good advice, but the example is trivial.

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

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.

Use your phone if you want to. Those cents per ounce tags are sometimes wrong. 

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

No, pretty sure the spouse will care more. Hardwood floors are easier to clean, carpets are warmer. Let the spouse worry about it. And stamping around to tell his children what mood he is in is childish. 

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.

Again, the spouse may have other ideas, eg "That's sweet honey, but she's your dog, you sleep on her side of the bed." or "That's sweet honey, but you want the window open when it's 50 degrees out, you sleep next to it."

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?

Of all the kitchen wisdom he could have picked, he chose this one. How to grille, use cast iron, follow a simple recipe are far better choices. 

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

Uh, or he buys shoes that fit. Seriously, if you need a shoehorn, they're like $10. 

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


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.

Not very often. Maybe if he's been diagnosed with cancer or something, but no, not more than once per ten years. 

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

Sure, accidents happen.

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

Depends on which half, and why a newspaper? If you mean, he doesn't give a shit if the neighbors see him in sweat pants and bathrobe, then sure.

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

Watch what you like. Who the hell is Michael Mann? I'd rather have Casablanca, Stalag 17, and the Martian. 

24. The modern man doesn’t get hung up on his phone’s battery percentage. If it needs to run flat, so be it.

Direct contradiction to #6. A man should be prepared and take care of his tools.

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

If you like guns, own a gun. Enjoy the bang-bang, but do use hearing protection.

Myself, buying a gun for self defense brings up that kid from 'A Christmas Story.' I might really shoot my eye out. 

Thinking back, we weren't a gun family. You called the police for things like that. In fact, my Dad never said anything about physically defending the homestead. 

Sure a man is responsible for that, but how much is enough? Good locks, a cell phone and a dog to wake you up? Sure. Maybe add pepper spray or a taser.

But a gun? How many? One gun? Two? Is a 22LR enough or do you need a 45? One reddit post on your first gun suggested a Ruger 10/22 to learn how to shoot, a Glock for carry, an AR15 for uh, something. At what point do you shrug and say 'That's a twenty-seven ninja scenario'? You do realize violent crime is at an all-time low, right?

Dad did harp on supporting myself. He wasn't going to do it. The bill collectors come every month, so you best be able to pay them. And running a debt on your credit card is stupid. So is rent-to-own, 90% of the time. Defending yourself economically happens every month, so you better have your bank-account fu up to match your spending. 

As for physical self defense, I'm toying with the concept a man should know his fisticuffs and stay in good shape before buying a gun for self defense. So many places he won't have a gun, but having some idea how to throw a punch can't be taken from him. But I'm still sorting out this concept. 

Again, if you like guns, buy a gun. Enjoy safely. (If you like your AR because it's Legos for grownups, knock yourself out!)

26. The modern man cries. He cries often.

No. When his mom, brother, college buddy or dog dies, yes. If he has to blow his nose at the end of A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life, then that's allergies, or invisible onion-cutting ninjas. But full on sobbing? Often? No. 

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.

What? I'd say a man should know the waltz, two-step, and East coast swing, including knowing how to signal a turn.