Any surprise who in this couple is bored?
Don't send flowers
Or take showers
But I'll be there to pull your weeds, oh yeah
I don't read books
I don't French cook
Or stroll around in galleries
I hate opera
I hate Oprah
Don't fill my head with poetry
, Fantasy Man
Primarily in Sit Coms
: Men absolutely loathe opera, classical music, visual arts, and books
. But they LOOOOOVE sports. If they don't act in this manner, there's either something wrong with them or they're Camp Gay
. Never mind that virtually all opera
and classical music - and most literary books - were written by men
specifically as manly diversions, those things aren't manly!
There are also strong class undertones to this trope - being cultured is seen as a middle/upper-class trait, and and there is a trend in media for the working classes to be depicted as more masculine (including the women, for that matter). Indeed, this trope is often used in depictions where being cultured is an implied class shorthand for the rich. Also, you'll notice that the women making them go are either completely oblivious to the fact, or don't care, that their companion is not having a good time.
This is one of the many ways that the Grande Dame
will make life an utter Damnation de Faust
for her Henpecked Husband
Compare Men Don't Cry
, Women Are Wiser
, Buffoonish Tomcat
is a related trope for cat examples. When the man is a slob
, this trope is almost always included also, but the opposite isn't always true. Surprisingly, despite the fact that The Lad-ette
is can be basically summarized as "a man's attitudes/behaviors in a woman's body", you very rarely see ladettes who have the same aversion to "culture". Contrast Real Men Wear Pink
for manly men unafraid to show their softer side, and Cultured Badass
for manly men who find your lack of appreciation for opera grounds for a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
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- Protagonist Train Heartnet from Black Cat. He pretty much only lives for fighting and bounties. He's unable to get through even the index page of a book, and hates fancy Dances and Balls. He is, of course, the complete opposite of Big Bad Creed, who is Wicked Cultured. And Ambiguously Gay.
- Inverted in Sailor Moon, Mamoru is far more cultured than Usagi. But then again, Usagi isn't exactly the most cultured of the women.
- Inverted with Austria in Axis Powers Hetalia. He loves the fine arts and music, and hates the outdoors—and is definitely more cultured than his wife Hungary.
- Unlike the rest of his male comrades who are enthralled with the extravagance that the taxpayers' money give to the Midland aristocratic-held ball, Guts doesn't seem very impressed with his surroundings (noblewomen and all) and spends the majority of the time supporting the wall away from the commotion. In fact, he only went to the ball in order to counterattack in the assassination plot against Griffith. Guts also isn't big on reading, so the only chance he'll be picking up one of those sleeping pills is if there is an array of pornographic art in it. But what do you expect? He's a mercenary.
- Not to mention that, due to the setting, he probably has never learned to read.
- Dragon Ball does this with Goku, though he was raised on the outskirts of civilization not to mention his later revelation of being a Saiyan (and the head truama as an infant). However, most of the Saiyans are 'uncultured' by human standards, being a race devoted to fighting.
- In Vandread Tarak and Mejale are separated by men and women respectively. Mejale is a bright and shiny planet with high tech features and women dress in unique fashion. Tarak is a militarized planet, where every one is either in the military or a factory worker, and eat food pellets.
- Subverted in a story in the furry Beatrix Farmer series. When Beatrix, a cute bunny femme, is moving into her cat friend's apartment, she is surprised when her coquettish friend enlists the aid of several handsome males to help them. Although Beatrix doesn't care for the idea of being suddenly surrounded by strange men, apparently being old fashioned chivalrous, things improve when she breaks out her massive book collection and finds to her delight that all the men are even more intrigued by her sophisticated taste in literature and they spend just as much time browsing through her books as they are putting them away.
- Donald Duck constantly has to prove his cultural capital to impress Daisy.
- Tintin: Tintin The Calculus Affair has Tintin and Captain Haddock hiding in the Klow opera. Tintin wakes the Captain up at the end with a disapproving Grande Dame looking on.
- Subverted in Black Dynamite. The main character and many secondary characters, uber-manly militant Black-Supremacist commandos, have some pretty in depth knowledge of Classical Mythology and symbolism. They also pretty much geek-out when discussing it.
- Jamie MacDonald, the Violent Glaswegian spin doctor from In the Loop is uncultured and proud:
- When he hears an MP listening to Debussy, all he can ask is: "What's the name of the fuck with the fiddle?"
- He's not a fan of opera either: "It's just VOWELS! Subsidized foreign fuckin' VOWELS!"
- It goes beyond music: he was also disappointed with There Will Be Blood: "There was hardly any fuckin' blood! It's a fucking great title - you couldn't have a better title for a film, except maybe There Will Be Tits."
- In Repli-Kate, a journalist who comes to interview two scientists is accidently cloned. The clone is a blank slate, and the lead's wacky friend decides to educate her to prefer football and beer and other blokey things. He ends up as the henpecked boyfriend to a boorish ladette who doesn't care about his feelings. (The lead and the real Kate are much happier together.)
- More or less a basic assumption in The Hangover, but the opening shows a jarring dissonance between the immaculately-preened bride preparing in a large and extravagantly decorated mansion, and the groomsmen on the other end of a cellphone, dishevelled and confused somewhere in the desert.
- Touched on in Batman Begins, where when Bruce asks his father to leave the opera because of his fear of bats, Thomas turns to Martha and says it's him that wants to leave because "a little opera goes a long way."
- In A Night at the Opera, Groucho's character deliberately times his arrival at the opera house so he will miss the show.
- Gene Hackman's famous line from Night Moves, when his character's wife asks him to go see My Night at Maud's: "I saw a Rohmer film once. It was kinda like watching paint dry."
- Subverted in The Fifth Element. Cab driver, ex-commando and all-round manly man Korben Dallas is hauled off to the opera to meet with his contact... and is so moved by the performance he almost bursts into tears. See attached. For bonus points, that was the first time Bruce Willis saw that performance, and his reaction is entirely unscripted.
- Henry Higgins believes in the inversion of this trope in My Fair Lady, according to his song "I'm An Ordinary Man," with lines such as "You want to talk of Keats or Milton; She only wants to talk of love. You go to see a play or ballet; And spend it searching for her glove." This is probably because of Values Dissonance from his time period versus the modern version of this trope, plus the fact that he is a member of the upperclass and thus is proud of being educated and cultured.
- Inverted in A Brother's Price: Jerin's grandfather was the one who taught the whole family table manners and such stuff. The Grandmas were uncultured soldiers before they acquired their husband, and became roosterpecked wives, who would do anything to make him happy.
- Discussed by Harry King in Raising Steam as he and his wife move up Ankh-Morpork's social circles. He hates it.
"Got another bloody civic thing on tonight, Effie just thrives on them. I told her I'm busy, what with dealing with the railway, but she's determined to make a better man of me. And all this business about what knife and fork you eat from, it's a deliberate puzzle set out to make a simple bloke like me feel like a stranger."
- Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple. And Felix is the opposite, obviously.
- Tim Taylor of Home Improvement is the patron saint of this trope. He often teases his more sensitive assistant Al. Subverted in one episode where it turns out he actually did read and understand the copy of The Feminine Mystique that Jill gave him (though he refers to it as The Feminine Mistake).
- Married... with Children, though most of the women aren't any better.
- Doug in The King of Queens resists as much as he can when Carrie tries to take him to classical music concerts or ballet. The trope was at least played with a bit when Carrie, upon actually going to a classical music concert, wound up being so bored she fell asleep.
- A variant in Noah's Arc: Masculine guy Wade invites the artsy, feminine Noah to watch the movie he worked on. Its turns out to be a cheesy, low-brow Buddy Cop Show film, during which Noah quickly falls asleep.
- Subverted in Angel:
- When Gunn, who had fought from moment one against going to a ballet ends up going and loving it. The seemingly more cultured Cordelia sleeps through it. And snores. LOUDLY. Classy lady.
- Not to mention Angel, when he recalls seeing the same troupe back when he was Angelus.
Angel: I saw their production of Giselle in 1890. I cried like a baby. And I was evil!
- For being a badass, leather jacket wearing vampire, Angel was pretty psyched. Then again, Angel is a badass, leather jacket wearing vampire who has been known to sing awful, mangled karaoke versions of "Mandy" because he "thinks it's pretty".
- Angel gives an impromptu lesson about Baudelaire to a bunch of museum tourists while tracking a humanoid demon (who had told a security guard that Angel was stalking her—meaning he also had to evade the guard). It was an impressive Establishing Character Moment in the otherwise execrable episode She.
- Spike: When he was human, he desperately wanted to be a Romantic poet, and (as we find out when the gang is told to go enjoy their last day on Earth), still kind of does.
- And again by Spike (and possibly Angel): Spike tells Angel that if he sees Les Misérables, he'll lose his soul because it'll make him perfectly happy.
- As part of his legal upgrade, Gunn has complete mastery of Gilbert and Sullivan (to help with diction).
Gunn: (grumpily) "I was cool before I met y'all."
- This trope is also subverted by Angel's parent show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Giles is by far the most cultured of the group (with Willow a close second), also being likely the smartest. However, he's also a major badass and loves classic rock.
- Played with in Emergency! when the personnel of Station 51 are visited by a female TV reporter who assumes they are not cultured. Indignant, they set out to prove her wrong by showing all the sophisticated arts hobbies they indulge in. Unfortunately, they do too well as the previously promised football game tickets she promised them and they were eagerly anticipating were switched out for opera show ones by her on the assumption that they would prefer them.
- Completely averted in Frasier, where Frasier and Niles are both very, very cultured. Their father Martin, less so. Daphne also finds opera boring. But subverted behind the scenes where John Mahoney (Martin) is a very cultured man, and in fact introduced David Hyde Pierce (Niles) to opera.
- Put through the wringer in The Red Green Show, in which in later episodes the Possum Lodge members recited the Man's Prayer at the end of every episode— "I am a man / But I can change / If I have to / I guess." Many of the men, including Red himself, were uncultured to varying extents. The only exception was Red's nephew Harold, who was Proud to Be a Geek.
- Virtually all the male detectives and lawyers on the Law & Order franchise, save Det. Goren of Criminal Intent. Expect copious Lenny One Liners if the victim or suspect is from New York's art scene.
- Especially hilarious since at least two of them, Jerry Orbach (Lenny) and Jesse L. Martin (Green) were seasoned Broadway veterans.
- Often highlighted with Diane and Sam in Cheers, but in particular, the episode where Sam convinces the bar regulars to go with Diane to the opera. In a genre-savvy moment, Woody is assigned to be the "keep everyone awake" guy, having drunk lots of coffee and wearing his extra-tight shoes. Cut to the viewing box at the opera, and everyone is sound asleep and snoring, including Woody and Diane.
- Sam attempts to subvert this in one episode where he has to hang out with Diane's literature professor ex-boyfriend Sumner, so he prepares for it by reading War and Peace. He becomes understandably furious when Sumner says he used to teach a class about Tolstoy and is sick to death of talking about him. And also when he finds out there was a movie version he could have watched instead.
- In another episode Diane drags Sam to an art museum. On their return, Carla asks him to name a single piece of art he saw there. He's unable to.
Carla: Name any piece of art in the world!
Sam: ...Michelangelo's "Two Muscular Guys Touching Fingers."
- Averted in Black Books: Bernard is extremely cultured and despises all popular culture, while Fran has little time for high art. Manny, however, plays this trope fairly straight. However, all of this is sometimes ignored for Rule of Funny purposes.
- Played with and averted on Peep Show. Mark is quite cultured and absolutely loves History as well as loving Video games. Jez is completely uncultured but thinks he is. Ben isn't and is quite vocal about it. Most of the women (Elena, Zahra, Toni) like to act cultured but are usually shown to be just as shallow and fake as the men.
- This trope is inverted in the second season of How I Met Your Mother when Ted and Robin begin dating. Ted is a lover of classical literature, art films, and intellectual discussion (to the point where his friends sometimes call him out for being pretentious). Meanwhile, Robin is a lad-ette who loves hockey, scotch, cigars, guns, and other sterotypically "manly" things.
- Friends played this very straight. Anytime one of the male characters showed an interest in something other than sports, beer or women, he was mocked not only by the other men but also by the women.
- Katy Perry's "Ur So Gay" mocks her poseur boyfriend for, among other things, listening to Mozart and reading Hemingway.
- Averted in Norse Mythology by Odin, who, aside from being god of war, prophecy and death, is also the god of poetry. Granted, Norse poetry is basically action movies set in verse.
- Played straight in the Epic of Gilgamesh, in which Enkidu is ultimately the most uncultured, and his first taste of culture is a woman. This makes it so that he can no longer talk to the animals.
- Your initial party in Chrono Trigger. If you get technical, Crono is the only human male of the bunch. He's also not nearly as intelligent as Lucca, or a noble like Marle.
- It's hard to tell how intelligent or cultured he is when he never speaks, though.
- Inverted by XKCD here.
- The second episode of The Simpsons has Homer and Bart suffering through a performance of Carmen. This is often subverted in later seasons where either Bart or Homer become involved in the arts and find to their great surprise that they actually enjoy it.
- King of the Hill's Hank Hill. Dear God, Hank Hill all the way. Subverted by Boomhauer, of all people.
- The South Park episode "Quintuplets 2000" has the boys bored by "Cirque Du Cheville" aside from the titular quintuplets, and Stan's grandpa worries it will make the boys gay. The other adults enjoy it though, so the boys decide to try and cash in by creating an arty circus of their own.
- Fairly OddParents had an episode where men and women were separated. The men's half of the world turned into a barbaric Mad Max style wasteland. The side with the women became an advanced civilization of fine arts similar to Ancient Greece.
- Life With Louie: Louie's dad was dead-set against his son learning Shakespeare until the teacher pointed out that Shakespeare was also "a war guy," citing Richard III as an example.
- The role of ballet in many operas was to make the men more willing to attend (lots of scantily clad young women doing acrobatic dance). Now of course it is difficult to get men to go to the ballet — by the standards of 21st century western culture, the outfits aren't at all risque or particularly titillating.
- The female outfits, that is. The other aspect of this is that the male dancers' outfits are notorious for prominently displaying their knobs.
- And then there were ballets like Coppelia, where all the major male roles were played by women, en transvestie. The wealthy patrons, who were overwhelmingly male (The Jockey Club being especially influential), were interested in seeing attractive women on the stage. Eugénie Fiorce, who was considered especially fetching in men's clothes, became famous for these parts.
- Averted by the fact that the majority of artistic works considered to be the height of Western civilization have, indeed, been created by men. Of course, socially-accepted concepts of what makes a person a "proper" man or woman are constantly in a state of flux.
- The Art Of Manliness seeks to avert this and is centered around the idea of men trying to be more cultured, among many other tropes once associated with manliness.
- The idea of the Renissance Man was centered around the notion that a true gentlemen would be well versed in a variety of arts and sciences, so it was very much an aversion during this period.