Q&A: Why Are Men Thinking About the Roman Empire?

So, what's everyone talking about this week? The Roman Empire.

What, seriously? Yep. It's been in the news all around the world.

Why? According to the Internet, this is all men think about these days.

So, not sex? Please. We're beyond all that. We think about deeper things, like history and civilization.

Says who? It all started on TikTok, where a Swedish influencer named Saskia Cort asked her followers to ask their male partners, friends, and secret lovers how often they thought about the Roman Empire.

Seriously, secret lovers? No, I made that part up. But she did say the thing about male partners and friends. Which means secret lovers were implied.

And do men think of the Roman Empire often?
Yes. Yes, we do. Regularly. Like three times a week or more.

I thought men normally thought about sex regularly. Whoa, stereotype much? Anyway, that's a myth. People used to say men think about sex every seven seconds, but that's not true. There was a 2011 study that said men think about sex about 19 times a day, while women think about it ten times a day. That's a lot less than seven seconds.

Is this why I keep seeing the thing about men thinking about the Roman Empire everywhere? Yes, it is. Cort's video immediately went viral once it was translated into English.

Why? Because not everyone speaks Swedish.

No, I mean why did it go viral? Actually, the language thing is probably part of it. Also, as more and more people watched it, they took videos of them asking their male partners and friends, and posted their answers.

And secret lovers? Now who's thinking about sex? But yes, secret lovers, too. People posted their own videos with answers like "every few days," "three or four times a month," or "every day."

So everyone posted their own videos about their men thinking about the Roman Empire? Yep. In fact, videos tagged with #RomanEmpire have received well over 1.2 billion views.

Doesn't that seem weird? It's the Internet. Of course, it's weird!

No, don't you think it's weird that men think about the Roman Empire? Why shouldn't they? What's wrong with thinking about the Roman Empire? What are we supposed to think about, the British Empire? The Empire of Brazil? The Abbasid Caliphate?

The what? What is the Abbasid Caliphate? It's a Muslim empire that existed from the 8th through the 16th century. I had to look it up.

You're a weird dude. That's not a question.

Why are you such a weird dude? We'll need a lot more than 846 words to answer that.

What is there to even think about with the Roman Empire? Oh, lots of things.

Like what? The political system, for one thing. Gladiators, aqueducts, the murder of Julius Caesar, the way they put toast in their wine to reduce the bitterness, and that "What have the Romans ever done for us?" scene from Monty Python's "Life of Brian."

Seriously, Monty Python? Oh, yeah. It's a great scene, and the Python guys did such a great job with their research that it's a historically accurate movie.

Are you kidding? I never kid about that movie. I took a college class about the portrayal of Ancient Roman culture in movies, and that was one that our professor raved about as being very accurate. Although she may have just liked Monty Python.

Is this just some macho dude thing? Why, because of the gladiators and war stuff?

Well, yeah. A lot of articles I've seen talk about how men hold up the Romans as "ideal men" and an example of "how men should be." That's not a question either, but I'll let it slide. We don't just think about the masculinity of the Empire. There's so much more to it than that. It has even influenced our entertainment, which is why there are so many movies about gladiators and Ancient Rome.

So it is all about gladiators and murder? And aqueducts. Don't forget the aqueducts. Actually, no it's much more than that. The Roman Empire has influenced so many things in our lives. Like language, for one thing. A lot of the English language comes from Latin; Spanish, French, and Italian are all derived from Latin. Many of our philosophies are adapted from the Ancient Greeks and Romans. And architecture, sports, and food were all influenced by the Roman Empire. So even if we don't think about gladiators and wars directly, there are so many other things that are connected to the Empire, you can't help but think about it, even if it's indirectly.

Most of the women in the videos seem to be shocked that their male partners are thinking about the Roman Empire at all. Why, because we're not thinking about sports and farts? Because we're thinking about the history of an ancient civilization? Or is it that we're thinking about art and civilization and language? That's rather sexist and undermines what we're capable of, don't you think?

I don't need you mansplaining sexism to me. I'm not, I'm Romansplaining.

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available from 4 Horsemen Publications. You can get the ebook and print versions here.