The Essential Guide to the Modern Man, by David Henne


The modern man owns at least three suits: one charcoal for brooding in his Manhattan office, one black for drinking alone in a dimly lit whiskey bar, and one navy for locking eyes with a mousy, quiet-yet-sexy woman as he enters his town car.


The modern man owns no less than four watches. Two with a leather strap (one brown, one black) for formal occasions. One rubber casual watch. And one activity-specific watch, such as his custom Fitbit that tracks listlessness.


The modern man owns three pairs of dress shoes, all Italian-made. The modern man’s shoes match his belt, which match his leather sex swing, which sways ever-so gently in the modern man’s high-rise, empty and forlorn.


The modern man has two sets of cashmere-lined leather gloves, one of which he’s misplaced. “I’m sorry, you dropped these,” the mousy, quiet-yet-sexy woman from the other day says. The modern man waits for his valet to open his car door, then gestures toward the back seat.


The modern man escorts his love interest on three dates, in the following order: One private helicopter date, one dinner date that necessitates reserving an entire restaurant to eat undisturbed, and one night-boating date.

Conveniently Placed Scars

The modern man has four conveniently placed scars across his torso. The scars are traceable by the mousy woman’s slender fingertip. The modern man never talks of his scars—or of the haunting origin behind each.


The modern man does not eat traditional “meals.” He consumes a carefully measured protein-laced gruel. The modern man indulges in sugars only when feeding chocolate-covered strawberries to a blindfolded love interest, or while performing his Ice Cream Sex Dance.

Prolonged Silences

After an initial sexual encounter, the modern man answers one post-coitus question. “Not to pry, but why don’t you have any furniture?” the reserved-but-sexually-adventurous mousy woman will ask. “I mean, besides the sex swing.”


The modern man answers to the following four names: Dorian, Damien, Dominic, and Sebastian. Their absence from his birth certificate is irrelevant.

Social Life

The modern man meets the mousy woman and three of her friends at a bowling alley. The modern man’s bowling average is 205—impressive enough to showcase his skill, but not high enough to suggest he’s obsessed with any non-sexy activity. “Does he talk at all?” the love interest’s friends will say. “I didn’t know they made tuxedos for bowling.”


The modern man has no family. Do not introduce the modern man to your parents. The modern man will gaze longingly out of the nearest window if probed with such invasive questions as, “Where are you from originally?” or “Would you like some sweet tea?”

Mistaken Identity

The modern man experiences several cases of mistaken identity a week. “Is your name Sebastian or David?” the mousy woman will occasionally ask. “Because a ‘Mom’ texted your phone complaining about a person named David. Apparently he’s harassing her for another loan. But that can’t be your mother, because you told me your parents died in a jai alai accident.”

Money Management

The modern man hides his 18 past-due credit card statements inside his leather valise. When confronted about his past for two solid days, the modern man will urgently turn toward the rain and brood as convincingly as he can, until left alone.

Unplanned Interruptions

The modern man is walked in on once while in the bathroom. “Are those scars fake?” and “Oh my God, the one across your thigh is peeling off!” are common observations. “Stop pining and answer me!”


The modern man has two ears and can hear perfectly well. “Can you hear me, David? I’m leaving!” the mousy woman yells. “Enjoy pining for a bigger penis.” The modern man does not allow his tears to stain his suede crying loafers.


Is it worth it, the modern man ponders, to go financially and morally bankrupt in his pursuit of an attractive younger woman? Yes, the modern man thinks, surveying the Manhattan skyline, his silk kimono blowing in the breeze. Yes it is.

David Henne is a writer on Long Island, New York, whose work has appeared in McSweeney’s, The Big Jewel, Johnny America, and Yankee Pot Roast. You can follow him on Twitter.

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The Essential Guide to the Modern Man, by David Henne