7 Tips for Watching “Downton Abbey” While Staying a Man

So. You like “Downton Abbey”. Yet you have testes. Or DO you?

It’s uncomfortable to admit that a show so luxuriously overloaded with frilly clothing and stately manors/manners is actually pretty decent entertainment. But just as you once learned to begrudgingly admit, “Ya know, that Mr. Darcy’s pretty cool once you get to know him“, you can learn to admit that you love “Downton Abbey”, right?


So damn wrong. But don’t worry, bud. You can unlearn your emasculated habits and still watch the show while maintaining The Testosterone Edge that wins and keeps hearts, provided you follow these critical tips.

1. Never admit you love “Downton Abbey”. Ever. This will permanently alter your standing with male friends, who will think you’ve gone full-on wussy.That’s bad. They might even give you a castrating nickname, like “Downton Pansy”. But even worse, you’ll lose your standing with the woman you’re expecting to impress. Why not just go ahead and regale her with your manly command of The Life and Great Works of Lady Gaga, while you’re at it, Mr. Bieber?

2. It’s HER responsibility to DVR it, not yours. Oh, you thought you were being helpful? You told her, “Hey hon, I set the DVR to record the whole series- and I made sure to record 2 minutes after, just in case they show any upcoming scenes from next week’s episode!”  But all she heard was, “Do you mind if I try on your clothes sometime?” Seriously, dude, it’s her job to record it. You want to impress her by being proactive, FIX THE DAMN TOILET.

3. Arrive late, leave early. You know how this works. Same drill as when you’re dragged into meeting her at the Opera, Ballet, or an anniversary dinner. You show up late with a half-hearted grumble, “Sorry hon, got stuck fixing the moisture vaporator in my car. So- what’s that wuss up there whining about?” Trust us, this always works. If there’s no man onscreen when you enter, just say,“Ugh, the Blah Blah Sisterhood crap again? Wake me when the MEN show up and STUFF GETS DONE.” Then feign sleep, mindful to close the eye that is closest to her. You can then follow the action with your other eye, while waiting for a MAN to show up and do something manly. Like neglecting to wear a white tie or serving himself soup when there’s a perfectly good butler right there.

4. Give derisive nicknames to male characters, objectifying nicknames to females.  You must never, EVER speak of the characters by their names and/or titles. He is not “Robert, the 6th Earl of Grantham”, he’s “Sir Stuffy von Softheart”. She is not “Cora, Countess of Downton.” She’s “Kevin Bacon’s Babymama. Violet Crowley is not “the dowager countess”. She’s “the Potter Witch”, or “that Whiny Old Bat”.  Lady Sybil is “the Hot One”. Trust me, nicknames will do wonders for preserving your own rugged dignity. Plus, they’re easier to remember.

5. Curb your enthusiasm. When soapy plot twists inevitably threaten to imperil the characters you secretly love and/or admire, leave the gasping to her. Matthew Crawley’s paralyzed at the Battle of Amiens?! While she sobs inconsolably beside you, suppress your own undignified tears and groan,“Whoops- looks like Little Lord Blondyboy‘s damaged goods now!” She’ll inevitably smack you with her just besnotted hand, but inside she’ll be thinking,“He’s a man. He just doesn’t get it.” It is better to remain a steely, boorish enigma than to become her blubber buddy, which is the fast-track to the Friend Zone (or its uglier, married sibling, the Not-Now-I’ve-Got-A-Headache Zone.) Once you cross THAT event horizon, you’ll never return. EVER. So don’t go there.

6. NEVER ATTEND A VIEWING PARTY. You may be viewing it with the sort of woman who loves to make a Big Event of each show.  If the event is at her girlfriend’s house, congratulations! You’ll have the place to yourself, and you can ignore all of the tips above, provided you draw all curtains and blinds, and DO NOT ANSWER YOUR PHONE during the show. But if a Downton ‘Viewing Party‘ is hosted in your own abode, then DO NOT PARTICIPATE. And if any man attends with his significant other, go for the low-blow as you cross the room by calling HIM the “Downton Pansy”. Some ladies may titter, others hiss, but you can be damn sure the nickname will spread like typhoid back to their significant others and effectively immunize you from any reciprocating nicknames.  Then be a pal, apologize and ask him if you can get him a drink. “Appletini? Fuzzy navel? Pink squirrel?” Now that the gelding is done, leave the room with a smoky scotch (Lagavulin 16 , if you must ask), calling over your shoulder, “If you need me, hon, I’ll be working out in the garage… Ab day again.” (If you’re shaped like a Houstonian, just say you’ll be working on the car.) In either event, you’re quietly declaring your masculinity and that, coupled with your adroit public emasculation of the Downton Pansy will set their hearts racing, even if they feign contempt at your uncouthness. You bad boy.

7. Get a Balanced Diet. Listen, even if you love the show, it must be the sole bit of wussyfare in your viewing diet. It’s a lemon meringue pie with sugared graham sprinkles, and if you make a diet of similar Masterpiece fare, you will go soft inside. Chase Downton with something BOSS. And MAKE your significant other watch it with you! It’s important that she sees that, despite your apparent tolerance of Downton, underneath it all, you’re a swashbuckling badass with a bloodlust that must be sated in the time-honored fashion of today’s self-respecting male. By sitting on your ass and watching men do manly stuff on TV. The easy bet here is “Game of Thrones“. The endless procession of zombies, decapitations, dragons, villainy and medieval booty-calls will PROVE that YOU ARE A MAN. If you want to prove you’re also a SMART MAN, then there’s no other choice. “The Wire” is the show. Drugs, corruption, gangland shootouts and Pandemic. (Oh yeah, they got the Pandemic!) The best thing about it is YOU CAN CRY LIKE A BABY WHEN YOU WATCH IT AND NOT LOSE ONE OUNCE OF MANPOINTS. (And seriously, you will cry. But they’ll be the manliest tears you’ve ever shed. So it’s okay!)

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