Trends, social behavior and marketing, on the other hand, can be predicted with a far greater success rate as world events, catastrophes and when the Cubs plan to inevitably whiz the season down their leg this year (a good guess would be ‘soon’). From the ebb and flow of what’s currently and previously popular, we can somehow chart the picky, superficial and sometimes baffling patterns between what is quintessentially cool and what is not.
Last week, I went on a veritable historical crusade of masculinity, in order to chart the path of what will be considered manly in 2018. I looked into the past 100 years of unabashed, American manhood; every Clint Eastwood movie, every Super Bowl, every beer brewed in Milwaukee, the Industrial Revolution and every illegal fireworks store in the Tri-State area, in a quest to find out where this freight train of non-stop awesome is heading come the next decade.
My findings were stunningly banal. As it turns out, what is considered ‘manly’ hasn’t changed very much at all in the last century. Certain trends, styles and appearances may come and go, but when it comes to men, things seem to stay in vogue for a significantly longer time, presumably because we hate having to buy new crap to impress people.
The main thing that I learned was that to properly look into our future, we must first look into the past. What will be manly in 2018? The same stuff that was manly in 1918. Take a look:
1. People that have stainless steel hooks where there used to be appendages (hand, leg, tooth, ween, etc.); presumably lost while doing something either unspeakably heroic, or whilst monumentally plastered.
2. Moonshine. Preferably the kind that cannot even be looked at without feeling the urge to call your ex-girlfriend. I recently received some moonshine that expelled a puff of thin smoke every time it was opened. If drinking poison isn’t manly, I don’t know what is.
3. Curly, old-timey moustaches. Those things freaking rule, specifically if they’re accompanied by a top hat.
4. Professional boxers or mixed-martial artists nicknamed ‘Gentleman.’
5. Industrial tools and equipment that lack safety features (See #1).
Apart from looking into our past, there are a few modern things that just feel as if they’ve always been manly and cool, and will never go out of style. They are as follows:
6. Explosions. Even if your own home was vaporized, it would be worth it just to view it from a respectable distance. I sometimes sit at work and think to myself, “Man, I hope I accidentally left the gas stove on today.”
7. Leather, but be warned. There is a very fine line between looking like an absolute badass in leather, and looking like a Glory Hole operator. Be sparing.
8. Johnny Cash. The only country artist that everyone can agree on. I don’t necessarily believe in Heaven and Hell, but if they do exist, the Man in Black is in currently charge of one of them. I have yet to determine which one.
9. Hammers. I’ve lived independently for ten years now, and there has never been a time where I couldn’t fix something in my house with the right size hammer. Hole not big enough? Sink won’t stop leaking? Cat won’t stop pooping in the sink?
10. Punching someone in the face for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
And if you want me to make a few wild predictions for what 2018 will hold, here are few futuristic nuggets of manliness I’ve been kicking around:
11. Filtering your own whiz for drinking water. Trust me, you’re going to need this one, and people will look up to you for that ability.
12. An automobile that’s fueled solely by your hatred of the Duke Blue Devils. The day this is invented, I’ll know that I’ve spent my last penny on gasoline, which is kind of an ironic shame, because Christian Laettner pumps my gas for me.
13. Deep-fried, batter-dipped, deep-fried batter with batter-dipped dipping sauce.
14. Three words: Zombie President Lincoln.
What’s your prediction?