Are you tired of reading bad news? Are you ready for a bit of light-hearted humor? Look no further. Today’s column is designed to make you chuckle.

As most readers know, my husband and I live on a small farm in a deeply rural area. As such, we often find ourselves in gentle, good-natured competition with urbanites and occasionally offer some genial jabbing. This is one of those times.

I found an article published a few years ago in the New York Times under their “self-help” category entitled “27 Ways to Be a Modern Man,” which offered sage advice defining Modern Manhood.

Needless to say, the writer’s definition of manhood was so hilariously at odds with the rural men of my acquaintance, I decided a rebuttal was in order. 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, my Country Man thought it was a little creepy for a husband to say something like, “Surprise, honey! I bought you a new pair of shoes today!”)

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 fixing 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 behaves 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, since he’s the one that raised the beef.)

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.

(The Country Man tries to avoid going anywhere he would have to spend 10 minutes looking for a parking spot because he doesn’t like “coloring” 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.

(Assuming the Country Man’s children are steeped in electronics, he thinks it’s their responsibility to charge their own devices. If a Country Man wants to courteously charge his wife’s electronics – assuming she has any – that’s fine.)

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.

(A Country Man drinks what he likes. If you don’t like what he has to offer, don’t drink it. But in most cases there’s always 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 teaches his daughters to be ladies and his sons to be gentlemen. He does NOT teach them boys can be girls and vice-versa.)

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 chores like cutting firewood, feeding livestock, building structures, hunting to provide meat for his family and other manly responsibilities that putting the 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.

(Really? Irish Spring? This defines manhood? Ooookay. Whatever.)

13. The Modern Man listens to Wu-Tang at least once a week.

(My Country Man asked, “What the heck is Wu-Tang?” It seems this is a hip-hop group from New York City. My Country Man listens to ’70s country-rock. I listen to classical baroque. Listen to hip-hop? Not on your tintype.)

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 Woman, it would never in a zillion years occur to her to look for a grocery list on a telephone. Telephones are for making telephone calls. Duh.)

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

(The Country Man’s fixer-upper home 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 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 a chance of “getting away.” The wife, incidentally, has her own firearm in convenient reach as well. It’s the intruder who’s unlikely to “get away.”)

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 picks his own melons 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. Also, does it strike you that the Modern Man is a little fixated with shoes?)

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

(The Country Man surprises his wife with a fresh pack of ammo. Or a fresh pack of canning jars. Or a fresh bundle 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 and 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. The “buck-naked bear” has 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? My Country Man and I 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. What’s this obsession with phones? 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.

(Cries “often”? My Country Man said “GAAK.” Maybe the Modern Man met the Bad Guy mentioned in No. 25. The Country Man doesn’t cry unless he’s grieving. Otherwise he just takes care of things. Occasionally with a gun. See No. 25. Or No. 16.)

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.)

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a brief primer on the differences between the “Modern Man” and the Country Man. You’re welcome.

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