Recently the New York Times posted an article entitled 27 Ways to Be a Modern Man. As promised, readers receive 27 pieces of sage advice defining modern manhood -- by New York Times standards (the author of the piece, let it be known, hails from DeKalb, Illinois).
"Being a modern man today," begins the article, "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.
Needless to say, the 27 points that define a modern man were so hilariously at odds with the men of my acquaintance that I decided to write brief rebutalls/slash/contrasts. "Modern men" is in bold; "country men" are in italics.
Without further ado, here's Modern Man vs. Country 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.
(The country man doesn’t buy shoes for his spouse. He knows she’s all grown up and can buy shoes for herself. Besides, Don and I both agreed it was just a little creepy for a husband to say something like, “Surprise, honey! I bought you a new pair of shoes today! Look!”)
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 country man has lapses of confidence like anyone else. He’s only human, after all. But it just means he works harder at whatever it was that affected his confidence.)
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 country man seldom sees a movie in a theater – they’re generally too far away – but he holds doors for women, carries heavy packages, and otherwise acts like a gentleman.)
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.
(Agreed. The country man would 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.
(I don’t know why this is an issue. I suppose a country man would do the same.)
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.
(Um, no. Even assuming the country man’s children are steeped in electronics, he thinks it’s more prudent to teach his children responsibility by letting them charge their own electronics. If a country man wants to courteously charge his wife’s electronics, I suppose I wouldn’t object.)
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.
(Um, beer. Just think beer.)
8. The modern man uses the proper names for things. For example, he’ll say “helicopter,” not “chopper” like some gauche simpleton.
(The country man, far from being a “gauche simpleton,” frequently continues to use the jargon he learned in the military, where “chopper” was a regular part of the lexicon. Now let’s back up; who are you calling a “gauche simpleton”?)
9. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of a complete person. He learns new stuff every day.
(The country man knows ALL children are blessings. He can teach his daughters to be ladies and his sons to be gentlemen.)
10. The modern man makes sure the dishes on the rack have dried completely before putting them away.
(The country man is often so busy doing manly chores like cutting firewood, feeding livestock, building structures, hunting to provide meat for his family, and other responsibilities that putting dishes away isn’t even on his radar.)
11. The modern man has never “pinned” a tweet, and he never will.
(Ditto. I’m not even sure what “pinning a tweet” is, and I’m thankful my country man doesn’t know either.)
12. The modern man checks the status of his Irish Spring bar before jumping in for a wash. Too small, it gets swapped out.
(This defines manhood? Ooookay. Whatever.)
13. The modern man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week.
(My country man and I had to look this one up. Wu-Tang, it seems, is an American hip hop group from New York City. Listen to hip hop? Not on your tin-type.)
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.
(Let’s face it, the country man tells his wife to please not forget [whatever] at the grocery store. As for the country wife, it would never in a zillion years occur to her to look for a grocery list on a telephone.
15. The modern man has hardwood flooring. His children can detect his mood from the stamp of his Kenneth Cole oxfords.
(The country man often has 100 year old hardwood floors by default. As for Kenneth Cole oxfords – pause while I gasp with laughter – try steel-toed boots instead.)
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 country man sleeps with a shotgun by his bed so both he AND his wife have an excellent chance of “getting away.” The wife, incidentally, has her own firearm in convenient reach as well.)
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?
(Oh please. The country man can pick his own cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew fresh from the garden. After that, all he needs is a butcher knife to cut the melons.)
18. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.
(The country man buys footwear that fits and doesn’t think anything else about it. But if he were caught using a shoehorn by his buddies, the ribbing wouldn’t be worth it.)
19. The modern man buys fresh flowers more to surprise his wife than to say he is sorry.
(The country man brings his wife a fresh pack of ammo. Or a fresh pack of canning jars. Or a fresh pack of 2x6s, after which he proceeds to build her the livestock feeder she’s always wanted. Flowers? She can pick those in the pasture.)
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 country man loves to spoon and be spooned. I don’t know if feeling “down” or “vulnerable” or requiring an “emotional” or “physical” shield has squat to do with it.)
21. The modern man doesn’t scold his daughter when she sneezes while eating an apple doughnut, even if the pieces fly everywhere.
22. The modern man still ambles half-naked down his driveway each morning to scoop up a crisp newspaper.
(The country man shoots a bear from his doorstep while buck naked. Yes really. One of our neighbors did this. It’s become local legend.)
23. The modern man has all of Michael Mann’s films on Blu-ray (or whatever the highest quality thing is at the time).
(Who the heck is Michael Mann and why is he important? We had to look this one up. Nope, neither of us has ever seen a Michael Mann film.)
24. The modern man doesn’t get hung up on his phone’s battery percentage. If it needs to run flat, so be it.
(Oh please. The country man remembers what life was like before the ubiquitous phone and is perfectly comfortable going hunting or fishing without one.)
25. The modern man has no use for a gun. He doesn’t own one, and he never will.
(The country man knows a gun is a tool, like a chainsaw or a hammer. He owns anywhere from several to a lot. He knows he can protect his family, unlike the so-called “modern man” who would cry like a baby upon meeting a Bad Guy intent on harming his family.)
26. The modern man cries. He cries often.
(Maybe the modern man met the Bad Guy mentioned in #25. The country man doesn’t cry unless he’s grieving. Otherwise he just takes care of things. Often with a gun. See #25.)
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.
(The country man does a mean two-step or swing. And don’t forget slow dancing.)
Ahem. Feel free to add your own.