“Are you normal?”
That’s the question that my favorite magazine posed last month, but February slipped away before I could share a few thoughts. Better late than never, some highlights from Esquire’s celebration of “Weird Men.”
— What do Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito and Bob Dylan have in common? Evidently, each is weird enough to merit a feature profile. Keaton? A control freak, of sorts. The other two? Yep. Definitely eccentric.
— Who else is weird? A partial list: Mickey Rourke, Neil Young, Christopher Walken, Little Richard, Jared Leto, Richard Simmons, Any Man Who Wears Overalls, Dennis Rodman, Tom Cruise, Ozzy Osbourne, The Cast of Duck Dynasty, Johnny Depp, Any Man Who Has Dated a Kardashian.
— Is there a difference between being “weird” and being “authentic”? Yes, probably. Weird is often scary or dark. Authentic is more about quirky or eccentric. As long as you’re consistently odd, without projecting a harmful aura, you’re probably normal enough.
— How normal are YOU? Esquire asked a thousand men in America to answer about a number of questions about themselves to determine what behaviors, attitudes and beliefs qualify as mainstream and common these days. By comparing your answers to findings presented in a series of pie charts and graphs, you get an idea where you stand. Some examples: How much do you enjoy shopping for new clothes? Shopping for a new car? Watching sports on TV? Watching a show about cooking? How many people do you consider close friends? And, when was the last time you picked your nose, applied cologne, dyed your hair, farted loudly in front of other people?
— With the passing of John Wayne and the demise of the Marlboro Man, writer Richard Dorment explores what being a man is all about these days. Born in 1979 (which makes him about 35), he wonders what to tell his young son what it means to be normal.
I’m garden-variety—but when it comes to my interests and hobbies, in the ways I like to spend my time, I’ve never been like my peers in the ways that most of my peers seem like one another. I could not tell you the channel for ESPN on my cable box if my life depended on it. I have never camped, fired a gun, or played video games with any great passion. I am indifferent toward cars, uncomfortable with gambling, and have never, ever felt the need for speed. I find golf and strippers and most classic rock a little depressing. I prefer empty bars to crowded ones and Irish exits to goodbyes, and I can say without qualification that Taylor Swift is not half bad.
All in all, this take on “weird men” provides a great window to explore the question of what is normal. I found the whole discussion fascinating, surprising and affirming all at once. It’s what I have come to expect each month from Esky.
And for the record, my answers to the 40-question survey indicate I’m normal. Mostly.