The State of Man

    Straighten up, stylish men of The Valley. It’s time to assess how we’re doing as a whole. It’s time to measure our progress as a gender. This is your state of the union, my friend. This is your state of man evaluation. Your wholesale, retail, and without fail male progress report.

    The good news, boys, is that we’ve come a long way as a whole. There are a ton of positives adorning our permanent record these days. But don’t get too cocky, Rocky, as we still have a ways to go to catch up to our female counterparts. Here are the facts, which were composed by surveying a crack team of style mavens combing The Valley over the past couple of months.

    Overall, we’re witnessing a great deal more in the way of good manners and refined sophistication from the “Y” chromosomes. Four out of five women surveyed said they’re seeing an uptick in door holding and overall politeness in The Valley lately. This small yet significant achievement goes a long way in proving that we CAN learn, adapt and make improvements while enduring the ongoing battle of the sexes.

    Speaking of the battle of the sexes, I don’t even think there’s even a battle any longer. Women want respect, equal pay, an even playing field and the right to do whatever a man can do. Every man I know wants the same thing! The good news regarding the battle of the sexes is that the battle is behind us. We all seem to have the same goals. That’s a huge societal achievement that we can celebrate together as we review this assessment of the state of man. Now if we could only conquer the battle of the bulge.

    So let’s jump right in and review the system I have developed to measure our issues right now, gents. Consistent with any standard evaluation system, I will present the facts coupled with an overall category grade. A final assessment along with an overall grade will be presented at the conclusion of this report. The categories include Manners, Style, Respect, Behavior, Conflict Resolution, Intelligence, Common Sense and Self Improvement. And you thought all of life’s big tests were behind you.

    Let’s start with manners, shall we? I’m seeing huge gains in this department lately. Maybe it’s because men as a whole have realized that refined manners often net us greater gains? Maybe it’s because we’ve had such bad manners for so long that we’re finally understanding the benefits of better behavior? Or maybe we’ve learned to appreciate the little things, like how nice a warm smile coupled with a sincere thank you for holding the door feels. Either way, we’re minding our manners way better today than we were previously, and it feels nice to exist in a refined society of well-mannered mavericks. There’s room for improvement here, men, but our gentlemanly manners earn us an A-.

    In regards to style, we admit we’ve had a ways to go since our softer counterparts began celebrating fashion in the early twentieth century. While the ladies were “coming a long way baby,” we were barely coming along in our work boots. Since the turn of the 21st century, our style and fashion sense have endured a massive makeover. Thanks to refined shopping destinations like The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley, The London Shop and The Denim Project we’ve gone from country casual to cowboy chic and urban cool, depending on our mood and the time of day. Man, what a difference a decade has made. Our style strides have gained us a solid B+.

    I don’t think anyone would argue the fact that we still have some room to grow in the respect department. While I feel we’ve made solid gains, we continuously trip up regarding respecting our fellow man. Whether we’re disrespecting our elders, our fellow dudes or the women in our lives, we could all pay much more attention to the respect we dish out. One thing I’ve learned regarding respect is that you get back what you give. If we continue to give less, we will certainly gain less. What kind of sophisticated, stylish society will we have without respect?  Our lack of respect has netted us an unrespectable B-.

    Ah, the dreaded behavior appraisal. This, my dude, is the bad news. Our behavior generally sucks. We still get into bar fights, incessantly litter, break traffic rules, continually instigate high drama, and are flat out immature. If you ask me, this is the area in which we need to gain the greatest improvement. We know the ladies mature faster than us during their pre-teens, but can we ever catch up? If each of us spends 5 minutes reflecting on our own personal maturity issues daily we will make the world a much better place. Our behavior (or lack thereof) nets us a solid C.

    Another obvious weak spot in our holistic gender evaluation is man’s inability to manage conflict resolution. Why do we feel the need to raise our voices and/or fists when we disagree? Is it the way we’re wired? Is it a sincere lack of intelligence? I’ve seen seemingly intelligent men throw hands in the boardroom, the bar room and the bedroom, and it’s way past the time to stop fighting. Fighting gets us nowhere. That’s why physical violence always ends up causing injuries, arrests and heaping helpings of regret. I’m buying the man who walks away from a fight a drink every time. And I’m hoping we as a society can find smarter ways to resolve conflicts. Our inability to mature past violence nets us a D-.

    The most impressive measure of our existence has to be our unprecedented intelligence. How, then, if we’re so smart can we not overcome resorting to violence when dealing with conflict. I see our inability to resolve conflict as an issue with our DNA, not our intelligence as a gender. Seeing increases in trade school, college and graduate school education as well as higher standards of living by all Valley dwellers demonstrates that we are becoming smarter across the board. I know carpenters, plumbers and laborers that make better livings than accountants, store managers and dental hygienists due to the fact that they have entrepreneurial mindsets. Thanks to the Internet, we can sell goods or services to just about anyone in the world anytime we set our minds to it. Thanks to men of The Valley working smarter as well as harder, I’m seeing a better quality of life with better dining, shopping and living options here than ever before. Hell, The Lehigh Valley has become a suburb of Manhattan over the past couple of years. That says a great deal about our community. I give the men of The Valley an A- for intelligence. Eliminate the bar fights and road rage and you’ll easily increase to A+.

    Common sense has been a hot-topic in these parts since Thomas Paine anonymously published his 48-page treasonous diatribe on January 10, 1776. Men have never had the best reputation for having common sense. I’m certain this stems from our primal urges, intense hunger and stubborn will. In other words, man’s A.D.D has caused his inability to evoke common sense way before A.D.D was a diagnosed excuse. Well I have good news, boys: We seem to be overcoming our issues with common sense. You could say governing body protocol and legislation keeps common sense in check. For a man cannot build a house today without gaining a series of approvals that ensure said dwelling is structurally sound. And common sense would preclude any intelligent man from recklessly endangering himself or his family. Yet we still continue to drink and drive. We make innumerable poor choices when sober. And we continue to break every fashion and style rule imaginable in our unrelenting pursuit of companionship. So due to man’s unpredictability coupled with sensibility relating to bureaucratic evolution, I’m awarding us a B for common sense.

    In the vein of self-improvement, we have made huge strides. Our neighborhood hardware stores have been replaced by enormous temples of home improvement, making us even more handy and resourceful. Thanks to technological enhancements (in addition to our younger generation teaching us), we can research anything at anytime with our smartphones, tablets or computers. In fact, research today doesn’t even feel like research in the last century thanks to technology. Research feels more like Trivial Pursuit than homework. We have access to just about every fact that we want to discover at the tips of our fingers. And it seems like most of us are utilizing this access constantly. We’re even often trying to access information when we shouldn’t be (see texting while driving!). I’m issuing a B+ to the men of The Valley for their unwavering commitment to self-improvement no matter what their motivation. In addition to the transparent facts surrounding this category, I feel you’d be hard pressed to find many men of The Valley who aren’t motivated to be better, smarter, stronger, and more successful in everything they do.

    While this isn’t the most scientific assessment of the men of The Valley, I would challenge anyone to argue any of the facts presented in this appraisal. The bottom line: most men of The Valley are intelligent, well mannered, respectful, stylish gentlemen that are making serious strides in their behavior, conflict resolution, common sense and self improvement skills. They are determined, hard working, beer, wine, whiskey, food, sports and arts-loving guys who wouldn’t trade the Lehigh Valley for Silicone Valley, the big city or some oceanfront property with 75º daily temperatures with low humidity. Okay, so maybe the 75º oceanfront scenario could evoke an exodus, but the bottom line is that the men of The Lehigh Valley have earned a solid B for their noteworthy progress in our society’s evolution. By now, most of you know I work public relations for many restaurants and hospitality services in Philadelphia, and I’d be more than happy to be the publicist for the gentlemen of the Lehigh Valley. There is a great foundation in the body of work that is the good men of The Lehigh Valley. There’s room for improvement, but overall we need to recognize the fact that we have serious talent among us. In the vein of constructive criticism, I see yoga, meditation, therapy and more time at home with the family as positive influences that could only help raise our GPA. A little less reality TV (see: no more Honey Boo Boo or Jersey Shore) could also be a key to better living. Here’s to you, good men of the Lehigh Valley. I wouldn’t want to live anyplace else.


    Keep up the good work!

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