The Confusing ‘Modern Man’ of the New York Times

Writing for the New York Times in the Men’s Style section, Brian Lombardi created a list for men who wish to conform to a more “modern” way of life while of course, as he says, “adhering to principle”. In this self-help article, some of the 27 points are are indeed tips men could use, some of them are just ridiculous, and some of them seemingly contradict either each other or the progressive “virtues” that is so often embraced by writers in the New York Times. To their credit, none of the 27 points mentioned having a #manbun.


Just for fun, and keeping in mind that we already have a very trustworthy guide in Cardinal Newman’s Definition of a Gentleman, let’s go through some of these points and discuss them. TSP comments are in light blue.

27 Ways to be a Modern Man According to the New York Times

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.

Ummm…first off, why is this the first and seemingly most important point of being a modern man? Weird. Second, couldn’t a man simply look at the sizes of his spouse’s other shoes at the house? Would he really be faulted for not knowing what brands run big or small? What man buys shoes for his spouse? Why is this on the list? Is this list even real considering this is how it starts?

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.

I actually agree with this to a degree. But I think popcorn eating is less of an audible nuisance than slurping nearly-empty sodas or shaking around candy or whispering. And a man definitely shouldn’t throw Spree at the screen.

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.

First, I’d argue that charred bits are good and not something to consider cutting away in the first place. It’s true that every bite of steak is a privilege, but if i have an inch-thick piece of fat from a rib eye in front of me, I’m not going to attempt to gulp it down. Perhaps this dainty modern man only eats fillets though.

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.

Really? This is the responsibility of the husband/father? First, most kids are better at remembering they need to charge their electronics than adults. Second, what a weird chore to think of. If I know my wife’s phone was almost dead and she falls asleep, surely I’ll plug it in for her, but I don’t think it’s necessary to make a point of doing it for her nightly. Perhaps we need the author’s wife to write about just exactly what a ‘Modern Woman’ is like: “A modern woman never charges her phone, for she isn’t that ‘basic’. She lets her lover deal with these trivial tasks.”

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.

Dr Pepper is a cola? And I’d hardy consider Dr Pepper as somehow being more sophisticated than Mountain Dew. All sodas are crappy for you, so are we really going to meddle over particulars when it comes to sugar water? It’s not like asking your friend for a beer and being handed a Steel Reserve. And would you really show your guest the door if they dared ask for to do the Dew? Petty.

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

Maybe I’d agree if their example was “choppa”. Give me a break.

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

While I’d agree with this point,allow me to be snarky and feign outrage that a writer for the New York Times would dare suggest any intrinsic difference between the genders.

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

Some of these points really come out of nowhere. I think this is a universal point for all dish-washing people. Just like people shouldn’t leave their shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot when they are done loading their groceries. This isn’t supposed to be “27 Ways to be a Decent Human Being”.

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

I’d go further and suggest that a gentleman (which apparently is different from a ‘modern man’) doesn’t use Twitter for personal reasons at all and that the gentleman (modern man?) should heavily curtail what he shares on social media in general.

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

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

What? Where did this come from? Who is this modern man that is too high brow to call a helicopter a “chopper” or be in the same house as a Mountain Dew but makes a point out of listening to the Wu-Tang Clan on a weekly basis–seriously.

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.

A hand-written list often is more efficient. But when you’re shopping for an online recipe does Brian mean to tell me it makes more sense to write down what’s already on the screen? This guy needs to get over himself.

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

I would agree that there is a masculine quality to hardwood but obviously for different reasons. Apparently he wants the man of the house to be someone with moods to be avoided–while wearing slightly-above-average dress shoes.

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.

Agreed. However, we should point out that a truly modern man of current society shouldn’t be assumed to have a wife…he could also have a husband to defend. Shame on the Times for spreading this homophobic assumption!

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?

WHAT? Where is this list coming from? Is this The Onion? Full disclosure: I have a melon baller.

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

Yeah, those Kennith Coles are nice…but not THAT nice. Get some Allen Edmonds and we’ll talk.

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

Agree completely.

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.

For crying out loud. And it must be pointed out that the man that was just called to literally be a physical shield in the bedroom in case of an intruder now apparently needs his own physical shield–what is going on in this bed?

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

Ok…I guess I agree with this very random point.

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

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

Wouldn’t those be the same guys that call helicopters “choppers” and do the Dew?

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

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

So a being a modern man is simply incompatible with hunting? You’d think the guy that’s so worried about being attacked in his bedroom in the middle of the night would find some value in a gentleman’s responsibility to protect his family and home. What a doofus.

26. The modern man cries. He cries often.

This would have been fine if it were just the first sentence….but he had to add “he cries often“. It’s one thing to show tenderness and emotion on occasion but to make a point of crying often is ridiculous. And wasn’t the modern man supposed to portray confidence at all times, never letting on that anything’s wrong?

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.

I hate to have to say I can’t make fun of this–I throw down on the dance floor. #guiltypleasure #turndownforwhat

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