Dudes: Hapless incompetents who shortcut everything and have a bold lack of self-regard for how things look. They fuck up the laundry and burn water. They can’t work a dishwasher properly, and wouldn’t know what to do when you hand them a baby. At least, that’s long been the stereotype on TV and in ads.
But in spite of our disdain for the easy way out and the mockery of men who take it, most of our modern approaches to life increasingly reflect a deep desire to do less in every way, including the slow erosion of etiquette to avoid ever making more effort than we feel like. Why it’s almost as if — hear me out — our domestic and love lives, as well as our leisure, all look like something a dude would’ve come up with to get out of having to make too much effort.
Weddings are etiquette on steroids — excessive money, detail, attention, formality, hierarchy and mania. They’re also typically shaped by and designed for women — all for one perfect day she has been dreaming about her entire life. Men, historically, were just supposed to put on the monkey suit and not forget the ring. We know that’s changed — we know that plenty of women don’t care about traditional weddings while plenty of men do — but, generally, as men take more of a hand in the planning of their own weddings, the weddings have increasingly begun to show it.
For instance, the time-honored tradition of enraging everyone you know and love by painstakingly picking bridesmaids and groomsmen for your wedding party has become such a hassle, The New York Times reports, that many couples are now opting out. This means you will no longer be flanked by your third cousin and best friend from college (who probably hate each other anyway) while reciting vows. But the upsides pay dividends: it spares everyone the bride- and groomzilla drama of telling people what to wear and the pressure of who to pick. It spares everyone the hundreds, or even sometimes thousands of dollars it costs to participate in someone else’s wedding. Yes, it will also piss someone, somewhere, off and someone else will call you tacky, but that’s a small price to pay for a low-hassle wedding. In other words, avoiding drama, needless costs and the basic considerations of others is exactly how you’d imagine a dude planning a dream wedding. (Same goes for asking for cash.) Win.
Avoiding All Talking In Person
Dudes have long been the gender who has the monopoly on hating talking on the phone (because, presumably, feelings) or heartfelt interpersonal communications in any form. That’s a huge stereotype, of course, but is it any coincidence that technology has given us all the dude-like ability to just bow out of talking face-to-face most of the time? Regardless, we’ve all met men where they always were — nowhere near the phone. It’s now a commonplace assertion that people would rather literally die than answer a phone call. Millennials argue that their reason for this is that phone calls are actually so intrusive as to put your needs in front of the other person’s, making phone call avoidance an act of good manners. Whether it’s totally rude or super considerate, they are right, and bypassing the agonizing real-time conversations of a phone call in favor of texting and chatting is a major win for human leisure time and general conflict avoidance, both classic dude goals. Likewise, you can now ignore texts and emails and it’s totally fine, whether it’s because you don’t want to respond, don’t feel like it, or just want to have the upper hand.
Courtship has long been dictated by rules that make men prove their earnest intentions, and women who act as guardians for sex. Now, we’ve all been liberated into an abject horror of minimal effort, mass confusion, and no payoffs. Want to start a relationship with the least effort possible? Tinder allows us to obliterate the word count of a dating profile and visually rank our suitors with the blink of a swipe in the ultimate gamification of sex and romance. We can see five different people in one night, without ever giving up our real phone number or last name. Want to end that relationship? Just stop contacting them. Ghosting is now a valid way of opting out that is also the laziest. Need to plan some kind of date? Netflix and chill as a way of bypassing actual dinner or conversation is maybe the most cunning way to make mindless consumption and easy sex almost sound romantic. Forgot to ask someone out earlier in the week? It’s 9:37 pm on a Friday, text away! Change your mind? Blowing off plans and being a digital flake is expected. A cynic would say romance is dead, but a dude would say it’s never been easier to do so little for such big rewards.
When I read this story of a single mom who charged all the kids to attend her two sons’ 5th birthday party, I thought, wow, that sounds like something a dude would do. Her reasons were great, but very reminiscent of a dude planning a college kegger: She didn’t have any money, and she wanted the maximum number of people to be able to attend. Yes, she got some shit for it, but also a lot of people were like, “Sure, okay, here’s the money.”
Once a legit metric of measuring honest-to-god adulthood, not being able to cook is no longer important. Just have everything delivered — food delivery services are booming. Want to pretend to cook? Throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot and sit back and bask in the applause. Today, the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, which involves tossing random things into a pot and hitting some buttons, is the single most popular, revolutionary cooking appliance.
Not having to care too much about how you look has always been the province of men. But thanks to the convenient rise of both health consciousness alongside a steadfast commitment to laziness, athleisure is now acceptable in nearly all settings for all people. The best part? You don’t even have to work out. Ease into comfort. Ease into not caring. Ease into dudeness.
A new study finds that outsourcing everything from cooking to cleaning your house actually increases happiness, because as we’ve written before, unstructured free time is the key to satisfaction. This was the inevitable result of a culture hellbent on never doing anything with its own hands — once a defining characteristic of being a dude. “If there’s some task that just thinking about it fills you with dread, then it’s probably worth considering whether you can afford to buy your way out of it,” said the author of that study. It was a woman, but if you told us it had just been some dude, we would’ve believed it.
Of course, we can’t give men credit for society’s slow descent into laziness and minimal effort, since we all marched toward the sofa together, but it’s worth noting that one man’s laziness is another’s efficiency. The idea that laziness actually fosters invention is more than a century old. Leisure time is what freed us up to not just invent more time-saving devices, but to maximize our free time for something else. The question is what? Pleasure? Self-improvement? Changing the world? Given the way women are running circles around men in radical, world-changing activism, I probably would not ask a dude about that.