27 superior ways to be a modern man

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Published Oct 3, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 9:06 pm CDT

In this modern, connected world, the modern man can feel anchorless. The integrity of his experience can often resemble a shifting, unreadable mosaic of brands, blood rituals, and avuncular listicles. 

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That’s how the New York Times recently attempt to describe the dimensions of the modern man—failing, however, to consider his omnidimensional interests. Here, then, are the 27 definitive ways to be a modern man:

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  1. The modern man applies sandpaper to his face and limbs until they are streamlined, reflective surfaces.
  2. A crisp, weightless suit will press any modern man into a coherent shape, so his guts are not constantly pouring out of his eyes and mouth.
  3. The modern man is what he eats. He consumes only glass and squares of paper.
  4. To evade predators, the modern man can blend into his environment by collapsing his body into a soft hill of flesh.
  5. The modern man has no bones. The modern man has had a crystal skeleton surgically installed.
  6. The modern man is a romantic. His optimized vision observes neither people nor things, just pleasing clouds of abstraction.
  7. The modern man’s experience is always geometrically coherent. If it’s not Euclidean in form or function it should be subtracted from the texture of his reality. This applies to furniture, meals, houseplants, potential romantic partners, housepets.
  8. The modern man listens to jazz. He hears in it the knotted rhythms of the city, the harmonic flow of paperwork, the branches that sprout from his torso and gently tap the edge of his armchair.
  9. The modern man is sensitive to his environment, to the needs of others, to the screams which every night build sourcelessly from the grass outside his apartment building.
  10. Having a daughter makes the modern man more of an inexplicable and shapeless monster.
  11. The modern man exercises. You can find him on the elliptical, adding sculptural depth to his glossy, bladed physique, or in the pool, drifting gracefully through clouds of blood.
  12. The screaming never stops.
  13. The modern man does not indulge in nostalgia, and occasions serious head injuries in order to firmly fasten himself into the present.
  14. The modern man is able to make his shadow expand or recede at a moment’s notice.
  15. The modern man is well-read. The modern man has read several books.
  16. The modern man has a beard, and within this beard is another beard, and on and on in infinite nesting universes which he grooms and shapes every morning.
  17. The modern man is online! He reads his blogs. His family wonders where he is, what he’s become.
  18. Screaming. Lifting from the manicured grass in glassy harmonic columns. Pretty much whenever.
  19. The modern man keeps appointments—with business partners, with his wife, with the moon.
  20. The modern man is constantly making elaborate nests out of old magazines and furniture, which is lately decorated with inexplicable burns.
  21. The modern man enjoys sex. The modern man is at his most fertile state after he sheds his exoskeleton.
  22. Having a daughter reminds the modern man of his insufferable immortality.
  23. Before the modern man heads for bed, he descends from the ceiling on ribbons of web.
  24. The modern man cries. His tears are perfect triangles.
  25. The modern man kisses his children goodnight. His children are pursued by nightmares of his thirty enormous mouths.
  26. Why has the screaming never stopped? Where does it come from? The modern man hears it pretty much everywhere now. It has replaced the transactional sounds of his business partners, the comforting splash of the fountain outside his work, the loving and fearful expressions of his wife and children.
  27. The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.

Photo via Jonathan Mueller/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Oct 3, 2015, 12:00 pm CDT