No, not their acquiesence to the Bush war machine. Or Jody Wilgoren’s ridiculous focus on the shocking fact that Kerry is a rich man. No, this article on the trials and tribulations of the “man date” has finally made me ask this question: who the hell edits this paper, and why are they trapped in a 1962 mindset?
Seriously, read these quotes that read like something out of the Wayback Machine:
The delicate posturing began with the phone call.
The proposal was that two buddies back in New York City for a holiday break in December meet to visit the Museum of Modern Art after its major renovation.
“He explicitly said, ‘I know this is kind of weird, but we should probably go,’ ” said Matthew Speiser, 25, recalling his conversation with John Putman, 28, a former classmate from Williams College.
The weirdness was apparent once they reached the museum, where they semi-avoided each other as they made their way through the galleries and eschewed any public displays of connoisseurship. “We definitely went out of our way to look at things separately,” recalled Mr. Speiser, who has had art-history classes in his time.
“We shuffled. We probably both pretended to know less about the art than we did.”
Eager to cut the tension following what they perceived to be a slightly unmanly excursion – two guys looking at art together – they headed directly to a bar. “We couldn’t stop talking about the fact that it was ridiculous we had spent the whole day together one on one,” said Mr. Speiser, who is straight, as is Mr. Putman. “We were purging ourselves of insecurity.”
Well thank goodness nobody thought they were gay! In a small town like Manhattan, that kind of salacious gossip can travel fast– especially through the tight-knit Williams alumni community, which apparently loves to twitter about men who are “that way.”
But it gets worse:
Other men say dinners may be all right, but never brunch, although a post-hangover meal taking place during brunch hours is O.K. “The company at that point is purely secondary,” explained Steven Carlson, 29, a public relations executive in Chicago.
Almost all men agree that beer and hard alcohol are acceptable man date beverages, but wine is risky. And sharing a bottle is out of the question. “If a guy wants to get a glass of wine, that’s O.K.,” said Rob Discher, 24, who moved to Washington from Dallas and has dinner regularly with his male roommate. “But there is something kind of odd about splitting a bottle of wine with a guy.”
Other restaurant red flags include coat checks, busboys who ask, “Still or sparkling?” and candles, unless there is a power failure. All of those are fine, however, at a steakhouse. “Your one go-to is if you go and get some kind of meat product,” explained James Halow, 28, who works for a leveraged buyout firm in San Francisco.
Cooking for a friend at home violates the man date comfort zone for almost everyone, with a possible exemption for grilling or deep-frying. “The grilling thing would take away the majority of the stigma because there is a masculine overtone to the grill,” Mr. Discher said.
I would have expected to read this in the Onion, but it’s presented as valuable lifestyle reporting. Even if this is tongue-in-cheek, which it reads a little too seriously to be, it’s so idiotic I can hardly stand it. What about the straight male friends whose “rep” I must have destroyed by going to dinner with them? Is it possible there are any men out there just don’t give a flying fuck what other people think when they go out to dinner, drinks or even brunch? Jennifer 8. Lee (yes, that’s her byline!) doesn’t seem to know or care.
You should really read The Major Fall The Minor Lift, whose post was titled ALSO, If Drinking Wine With Another Guy Makes You Gay Then We’ve Got About Eight Different Cocks In Our Ass Right Now. How true. He also lists the other stories the beNYTed paper of record will be covering soon, like “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Grace” and “The Peculiar Incident of the Visit From Aunt Flo.”
Those guys who don’t care? Some of them are over at Lawyers Guns and Money. I love those guys… but not, you know, that way. Should we invite them over to brunch?