By Francis Nicholson
If you want a breakdown of capitalism’s corporate idea of masculinity for the masses, look no further than the Hugo Boss aftershave advertisement “Man of Today”, starring and narrated by none other than the manly man, Gerard Butler. In it, we are taken on journey to explore and uncover what it actually is to be a “man of today”.
The short version is that to be the “man of today”, you need to buy a bottle of this particular aftershave. As we all know, noble men exude musky/woodsy type smells, produced in large vats, squirted into fancy bottles and distributed throughout the world. The assumption, of course, is that there is actually such a thing as a “real man” and most men don’t feel they are it. Making men feel inadequate based on an illusion of masculinity the media creates and then sells in the form of a useless solution to the problem they artificially produced is a trope global brands have perfected over the years. Aftershave and perfume ads are textbook examples of this particular type of cultural turd.
Given the bombardment of the message of toxic masculinity in the media that defines true manliness as violent, emotionally dysfunctional, controlling, all the while, cool headed and a real hit with the ladies, it’s no wonder so many of us non-manly men are in need of some guidance. Enter Gerard Butler. I really want to know what it is to be the man of today, as let’s face it, I am pretty sure I am male but I am really a “man”, I mean like a “real man?” Thank God a guy who pretends to be a hero in movies like “300” and “Olympus has Fallen” can outline what makes him a “man of today” and hopefully me, a “man of tomorrow”.
Let’s break down Gerard’s 53 second sermon on manliness and what it really means….
“I don’t believe in less”
Straight way he hits us with the deep stuff. Gerard doesn’t believe in “less”, which I assume by his fancy suit means he believes in “more”. More of “what” isn’t made clear but other than cancer, stress, misfortune and a genital herpes outbreak, more is always better if you want to be a manlier man.
“I go all the way and you can see it in my stride”
Here, he is sharing these great pearls of virile wisdom, as he puts on his big boy pants. He goes all the way and although “what” he is going all in the way with remains a manly mystery, though it’s obvious he is going all the way by the way he walks. People who may only go “half way” or just “some of the way” don’t walk the same as people who go “all the way”. They certainly don’t do up their button with such gravitas like he does; that’s as sure as manly mustard. So being the man of today is definitely about walking with the relaxed assurance that there is no need to rush as I am wearing an adult nappy. This tells other non-manly males I am going all the way. If you don’t understand what that means then you will never be a man of today.
“If good conduct makes a man, it makes me the man of today”
Of course, real men don’t mind giving themselves a hearty pat on the back with self-congratulatory gusto, as Mr Butler just lets us know if good conduct “is” what makes a man, then the awards goes to Gerard himself, as he pretty much conducts himself supremely well on a regular basis.
“A man will never run”
Gerard already established that walking is what men do, with big mannish strides. Yet if “never run” is a metaphor, he is still not specifying what a man should “never” run from. So as a blanket rule of being a man of today, it’s best never to run from (or to) anything; a lion, a tsunami, an awkward silence, dodgy sentence structure, childhood supressed trauma, a home intruder with a machete, a love, a family member in need, a goal post, etc.
“Stay noble, I say”
Just in case we thought someone else said “stay noble” before, Gerard gently reassures us that it is he who is saying it, actually.
“I am a man”
Thank God for that. Now we have that awkward question behind us, we can find out why he isn’t just a man, but the man of today.
“More than the grip of a good handshake and a job well done, diligence and dedication is what I live from day to day. And you can see it in my deeds”
You’ve got to love his modesty, not only does he grip a man-on-man handshake in a manly way (let’s not even imagine his reach-around abilities) and gets a job well done, his diligence and dedication is what he lives out from day to day. Just think he does all of this, plus takes strides, plus never runs, plus doesn’t do less, only more. Fuck “man of today”, he should be “man of the century”.
“Be true to yourself, I say”
Again, much appreciated that he clarifies this he saying it, whilst he says it.
“Makes me a man of success. Makes me the man of today”
Wow! Would it be unmanly to say a tear is just trickling down many rugged but defined jaw lines? Yes, it probably would be, yet those last two sentences mean so little, yet simultaneously mean so much, within a framework of that which means so little. It’s truly touching in a non-feminine, non-vulnerable, in control, manly man of today way.
So if any guy is wondering what makes a “man of today”, there you have it. Pants, walking with butch strides, saying things that don’t make sense, but with strong conviction, being paid the equivalent of 5 years’ salary for an afternoon’s work by a company that designed Hitler’s uniforms. Now we know. That’s it in nutshell. Man of today was just nailed by Gerard Butler, in less than 100 words. It doesn’t get much manlier than that.
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