• Dadwagon on Facebook
  • Dadwagon on Twitter
  • Dadwagon RSS feed

Why Men Brag About Their Salaries, Part 3

February 22nd, 2013  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

I’ve known for a long time that I’m not—how shall I put this?—the most traditionally manly of men. I know, I know: This may come as a surprise to anyone who’s gazed upon my hulking 5-foot-8, 150-pound frame, heard the resonant boom of my Dylan-esque voice, or run their lustful fingers across my nubby scalp, but it’s true. I’m at heart a little guy, full of frailties, failings, and neuroses, who’s uncomfortable with the idea of any kind of macho behavior, like, say, bragging about my salary.

Because what would I brag about? I’ve never made enough money to boast about; in fact, I’ve always been either underpaid (for glamorous work) or paid just adequately enough (for tedious work). Last year, in fact, I made so little money as a freelance writer (after the usual deductions) that I wasn’t even required to pay New York City’s Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility tax, which is maybe $100 every year, tops. If I were single, I would be homeless, or more likely living in a far cheaper place than New York. Like Lagos.

See how much easier this is for me, to put myself down rather than build myself up? It’s the legacy of Woody Allen, I think, that many of us born in the 1970s and reared in the Freaks and Geeks 1980s are only too happy to embrace (we don’t really have any choice): We are nebbishes, nerds, and nudniks, with bad hair, bad skin, and bad, bad dance moves. And yet instead of letting our unmanliness dominate us, we made peace with it and moved on, mocking ourselves more mercilessly than any jock, prep, or cheerleader ever did. In fact, I just wrote a whole book about my failures as a traveler—how, after decades of jetting around the world, I still get sick, spend nights alone, and make stupid, humiliating mistakes. (It’s coming out in May, by the way.)

Relentless self-deprecation has become my basic mode of being, and that’s antithetical to so much of American office and public life: the endless talk about sports, cars, and money. Whenever I overhear coworkers say things like, “Did you see the Nets beat OKC last night?” (which happened as I was writing this piece), I feel the gap between myself and that traditional form of masculinity yawn ever wider and deeper. At times, when I observe how passionate guys get arguing about the superiority of, say, BMW over Mercedes, or discussing serious money-making deals, I wish I could be the same, just to know how that feels, to care so much. But that’s also how I feel about jumping from a moving train or eating glass: curious, but not that curious.

Instead, I’ll content myself with my own little beta-male world of onedownsmanship, and leave the boasting to the boors. Which is, I have to admit, its own form of bragging. By abasing myself so thoroughly, I’m really setting myself on a different, purer plane of existence, where we’re all so gawky and hopeless that we simply needn’t bother competing with the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe. But you know what? That’s one bit of hubris I can live with.

Leave a Response

Error, no Ad ID set! Check your syntax!



Recent Comments

  • Len: Absolutely! Unequivocally! Especially if they’re only in preschool. What they learn and experience on a...
  • Nathan: Yes, suspiciously sanitary. Of course, my babies just emit a faint, pleasing lemony odor. So maybe I’m...
  • Joe: Now I don’t know anything about babies, except that one is going to come out of my wife soon, but from...
  • Brenda: Wow, is it really MNG? Seriously excited!
  • SCOTTSTEV: My goodness. I read your takedown of Armin Brott. Judging from the preppy shirt on the cover, I was...

DadWagon Reads!


Phew! I think this means we no longer have to pay such close attention to our kids, right?

The astonishing amount of data being collected about your children


Remember that ominous threat from your childhood, 'This will go down on your permanent record?' Well, your children's permanent record is a whole lot bigger today and it may be permanent. Information about your children's behavior and nearly everything else that a school or state agency knows about…

Nov 13th 7:21pm • No Comments

OMG! What crazy-ass people! This is nuts! Insane!

(I'm just saying that to get your attention: This is a surprisingly mature discussion, particularly for Reddit. So, uh, read it.)

[First time having sex] One Dad's View • /r/sex


I am a father of a boy(13) and a girl(15). I told them that it was alright for them to be sexually active as soon as they were "ready". I then...

Nov 13th 2:58pm • No Comments

We've known this for years.

Study Finds Every Style Of Parenting Produces Disturbed, Miserable Adults


SANTA ROSA, CA—A study released by the California Parenting Institute Tuesday shows that every style of parenting inevitably causes children to grow into profoundly unhappy adults.

Nov 10th 11:19am • No Comments

Don't have cash? We'll do it for free. Hell, we'll do it whether you want us to or not.

This creepy 65-year-old clown will terrify your misbehaving kid for cash


His name is Wrinkles and he's booked for months in advance

Nov 4th 7:06am • No Comments