Predicting the future of the world at large is impossible. If you walk through a beaded curtain into a fortune teller’s den and ask them to illuminate the year ahead, the only thing you’ll leave with is a lighter wallet. If you ask an AI-powered chatbot to prognosticate, the end result will be regurgitated gobbledygook drawn from God knows where (and peppered with inhuman grammar). And if you try a hand at divining your own 2024? Well, we all know how our resolutions to only drink on the weekends pan out.
That’s why, for InsideHook’s annual peek into the crystal ball, we’re not predicting the future of humanity. We’re here to forecast the year-ahead for the American man, as we did last year and the year before that, going back to 2014 (maybe next year for our 10th anniversary we’ll run the numbers on how many of our predictions came to pass). Our track record isn’t perfect, but it’s better than the psychic with the blinking neon hamsa in the alley off main street.
Our writers and editors spend the entire year researching and reporting on the issues that matter to American men (at least as they pertain to our expertise in culture, wellness and leisure). This year, that included redirecting your summer vacation plans away from Europe, explaining the term that would become the Oxford University Press word of the year and reassuring you that throwing out your massive CD collection is — contrary to the opinion of some in your household — a big mistake.
These are not the issues that will define our times. These are not the geo-political machinations that will end up in the history books. These are, however, the trends that will affect your day-to-day life in 2024 — and because this is where InsideHook lives day in and day out, we’ve got a bit of a third eye for it.
Whether or not you put together some New Year’s resolutions is up to you, but don’t forge into the year ahead without consulting our team of clairvoyants. They’re offering you their foresight for the very reasonable price of zero dollars. Save your money for all the first-class plane tickets, serums and mushroom cocktails you’ll be buying this year.
— Alex Lauer, Features Editor
1. Move over, fake meat: veggies will be the center of plant-based food…
There is nothing wrong with eating fake meat, especially if it helps you consume a more plant-based diet and cut down on animal protein. For the last few years, companies like Impossible and Beyond have been creating meatless alternatives of everyone’s favorite dishes like burgers, steak, sausage and even corned beef. But here’s the thing — I used to relish in a restaurant’s homemade veggie burger, packed with beans, grains and actual vegetables. But sadly a lot of restaurants have turned to the commercial options instead of making their own (though I certainly don’t miss the hockey puck-like Boca Burger). Of course, this is better than no vegetarian option at all. But this year, I realized something wonderful is happening: more and more restaurants are offering plant-based dishes that look and taste like actual plants.
Brooks Headley’s Superiority Burger reopened to great acclaim in NYC, and his signature patty is made with chickpeas, quinoa, carrots and walnuts. Almost every big city restaurant I’ve been to has an entree where vegetables are the star, and many more feature enough dishes of thoughtfully crafted vegetables that you could make a meal out of them. Produce is starring in fancy tasting menus, fruit and veggie subscriptions are becoming more popular and even cocktails are getting the farmers market treatment. Two vegetable-focused cookbooks made my list of the best from this year, and there are excellent vegetarian or vegan recipes in every single one. The trend is only going to grow in 2024, and I can’t wait to see what creative preparations are to come for plant-based eating. — Amanda Gabriele, Senior Editor
2. …while your drinks will start to look more like dinner
The world’s second-best bar in 2023 (NYC’s Double Chicken Please) features a drinks program based on the concept of “hacking design” (basically, deconstructed and then creatively reconstructed cocktails) that are heavily inspired by food — cocktails like the Key Lime Pie, NY Beet Salad and Cold Pizza. Mushroom cocktails are a thing. There’s also chicken-flavored beer and an increasingly popular New Hampshire distillery that’s infusing whiskey with meat, and now there’s a Doritos-infused spirit from Empirical, a drinks brand from world-renowned restaurant Noma alums that refers to itself not as a booze maker but a flavor company. Savory, meaty, herbaceous — your 2024 drinks menu is going to look and taste like a meal. — Kirk Miller, Senior Lifestyle Editor
Mushroom Cocktails Are Everywhere. That’s a Good Thing.There’s a fungus among us (at least in our drinks)
3. You’ll watch less superhero content than any year in the last decade
If there’s a single lesson to be gleaned from the past year in movies, it’s that we’ve reached peak Marvel fatigue. The success of Barbie and Oppenheimer proved that audiences have been yearning for something — anything! — besides a franchise sequel, a superhero saga or a horror movie and will turn out in droves for a big-budget comedy or a biopic. The same can’t be said for this year’s Marvel offerings. The studio’s releases in 2023 earned its worst reviews in years, and The Marvels — the follow-up to 2019’s Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson — bombed harder than any other movie in the company’s history, earning just $47 million domestically in its opening weekend. Marvel will also have to scramble to cope with the recent conviction of actor Jonathan Majors, who was found guilty of misdemeanor assault and harassment for attacking his girlfriend in a car. Following the verdict, Marvel did the right thing and dropped him from their universe, but Majors was slated to be the MCU’s next big villain, appearing in multiple upcoming projects including as the main character in 2026’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. Whether they’ll recast the character or rewrite the movie entirely remains to be seen, but will audiences even care enough to find out? — Bonnie Stiernberg, Managing Editor
4. Your local roads will be less safe
It’s no secret that American roads became more dangerous during the pandemic, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declared that “driving patterns and behaviors changed significantly” with an increase in speeding and driving under the influence and a decrease in seatbelt use. In our rush to get back to normal, we as a nation have failed to reckon with the fact that we’re still facing this epidemic of bad driving — and in some ways, it’s getting worse. While traffic fatalities continue to trend downward from their recent height in 2021, we’re still at “crisis” levels, according to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Even more troubling is the recent spike in pedestrian fatalities: in 2022, 7,508 walkers were struck and killed by drivers, a 40-year high. The Governors Highway Safety Association noted pedestrian fatalities “have skyrocketed 77% since 2010, compared to 25% for all other traffic-related deaths.” One culprit: large trucks and SUVs, which have seen a 120% increase in pedestrian deaths in crashes in the last decade compared to a 26% increase in deaths in crashes involving passenger cars.
Beyond the plague of oversized and overweight vehicles, there’s also a troubling nonchalance around the issue of distracted driving: a recently released report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 27% of drivers freely admit to sending texts or emails while driving, and 37% admit to reading texts or emails. On top of all that, vehicle theft rates continue to increase. Many of the proposed recommendations to make our roads safer focus on changing infrastructure, lowering speed limits and increasing safety features in vehicles; but to truly fix this problem, we need to address the obviously dangerous trend of larger and larger vehicles (including the vicious cycle where many Americans feel compelled to buy these larger vehicles to feel safe on SUV- and truck-dominated roads), and the culture of reckless and distracted driving many of us have fallen into. — Lauer
Many Pickup Truck Owners Freely Admit They Don’t Actually Need TrucksAn Axios report on bigger and more dangerous trucks features some interesting survey data
5. If you’re single, you’ll delete your dating apps…
Comedian Keara Sullivan succinctly summed up the current state of dating apps: “If you’re someone who met their partner off a dating app at any point in the last year and a half, two years, just know that you caught the last chopper out of Nam.” Users of popular dating platforms like Hinge and Bumble are fatigued. The dreaded cycle of endless swiping, matching, then having a dead-end conversation is demoralizing. Even more disheartening? Finally meeting a match offline just to discover there’s zero chemistry — and having to start the process all over again. If you’re headed into 2024 single, don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting fed up with the rigmarole, deleting your dating apps and opting to meet people the old-fashioned way: drunk at a bar. — Logan Mahan, Commerce Editor
6. …and turn to a matchmaking service
A new breed of companies are marketing matchmaking to app-fatigued singles. Lox Club, Ambyr Club and We Meet IRL are just some of the dating services that host in-person events where singles can speed date and mingle at happenin’ bars — for a price. Yes, you’ll need to pay for a ticket or apply for a membership to attend one of these exclusive social gatherings, but the cost typically covers an open bar. Besides, you could meet your soulmate! And, well, that’s priceless. — Mahan
Do the Business Models of Dating Apps Affect Your Dating Life?Dating apps want to make money off of your love life. Here’s how you can factor their profit motives into your own app journey.
7. LinkedIn will get a little too casual
In recent years, LinkedIn posts have been getting more and more personal — maybe too personal (please don’t post details about your failing sex life) — and influencer marketing could be a reason for that. There are influencers in a variety of niches across all major social media apps, many who frequently post intimate details about their personal lives to build a connection with their followers, which is just what LinkedIn may be trying to cultivate on its platform. We’ve already seen a rise in people developing “influencer” platforms on the website, and many of these up-and-comers are a part of LinkedIn’s “Top Voice” program, formerly called LinkedIn’s Influencer Program. With Gen Z entering the workforce and looking for jobs and networking opportunities, the site is naturally trying to create a platform that will entice these younger users. And what better way than to recruit influencers who create engaging posts that may push the boundaries of a regular job recruiting app? Get ready for things to get weird. — Joanna Sommer, Editorial Fellow
8. The Sphere in Las Vegas will be the center of sports
Professional sports started happening in Las Vegas with the debut of the Golden Knights during the 2017-18 NHL season, and major-league competition will certainly stay in Sin City moving forward. Though Vegas has plenty of venues for pro sports to take center stage, the Sphere figures to be a central figure in the city’s bid to become the No. 1 sports town in America. The NHL and NFL, who have both already hosted high-profile events in Vegas, have announced they will be holding their upcoming drafts in the desert at the Sphere, and it’s only a matter of time before the NBA joins in on the fun. MLB may not bring its draft to Vegas, but that doesn’t really matter, as no one watches it anyway and the league will be bringing a big-league team to Nevada’s most popular destination once the A’s are finally out of Oakland. Flashy and unquestionably more over-the-top than it needs to be, the Sphere is a perfect fit for Vegas. And it’s a perfect fit for all the pro sports that will be there in the coming years. — Evan Bleier, Senior Editor
Love It or Hate It, the Las Vegas Grand Prix Raised the Bar for American SportsWhile not without its qualms, the F1 race opened a new era of glitz and glam
9. You’ll cut back on wellness spending…
Millennials spend more than $125 a month on wellness, with some reports suggesting that the generation will spend more in their lifetime on gym memberships, activewear and connected fitness machines than on higher education. That’s saying something, considering how prohibitively expensive college has gotten in America. Great for the $1.5 trillion wellness market, which has an annual growth rate of up to 10%. Analyses from McKinsey have concluded that the overwhelming majority of consumers believe wellness is important and are willing to spend to that effect.
But this isn’t particularly great (or sustainable) for individuals. Seriously, what rent-paying or car-loaning adult can possibly also afford a gym membership, vitamin pouches, meal-kit deliveries and a fully unlocked meditation app, let alone add-ons like skincare, golf outings, spa days, wellness retreats, new running shoes, creatine supplements and Peloton subscriptions? It’s too much. Considering that young people — those least likely to have dependents — are most “guilty” of over-devoting their pie to wellness concerns, expect some weekend warriors to cut back in the months ahead. You can’t possibly raise kids (and afford the rising cost of groceries, or save up for a house, or pay for 10 different TV streaming services) while catering to your every expensive wellness need. Something’s gotta give! — Tanner Garrity, Senior Editor
10. …while spending much more on travel
So long as there are frugal travelers (I count myself among them), there will exist ways to travel inexpensively. That said, after a tough few years of travel — operational meltdowns leading to an overabundance of cancellations and delays, the subsequent crowds, lost luggage, etc. — people are going into 2024 willing to spend a little bit more for the conveniences that typically come with, well, spending more. And that goes beyond just air travel. Think travel agents and guided trips, too. Forget the DIY TikTok-inspired itineraries that often lend themselves to mishaps and just general disappointment. People are going into 2024 more prepared to spend in exchange for more seamless travel. Sorry, Spirit. — Lindsay Rogers, Associate Editor, Travel
The 56 Best New Hotels of 2023After spending nearly 300 days on the road this year, our correspondent recommends 56 places around the world to lay your head
11. You’ll focus less on the clothes you wear and more on hair, skincare and beauty
It should come as no shock to anyone who’s tapped into market trends that beauty and fragrance are the next big things in both the fashion and luxury spaces. But you might be surprised to hear that Big Cosmetics is coming for you too, fellas. With a now-saturated market — the rise of men’s skincare, haircare and, indeed, beauty products has been swift and well-documented — and a trained consumer base of evolved men about to catch up to the curve, the industry value is set for double-digit growth in 2024 and will double its market cap by 2030. For the average Joe, expect to spend more (and think more) on the serums, co-washes and, if you so choose, concealer. And to hear a hell of a lot about looksmaxing your alpha-Chad jaw with a gua sha. — Paolo Sandoval, Commerce Editor
12. TikTok will continue to shape music charts while reviving different genres and artists
TikTok’s influence on the music industry is undeniable. A song can quickly skyrocket on the video-sharing app, and its popularity rarely stays within its digital confines. TikTok shapes radio plays, streaming numbers, charts and all-around mainstream consciousness to artists and their songs. It happened for Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License” and Ice Spice’s “Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2.” Some producers are now composing tracks specifically designed for higher viral potential. Although TikTok’s grip on the charts won’t loosen in 2024, it will shift the gears away from easy pop listening by propelling less obvious genres into the FYP spotlight. We’ve seen this already begin with Laufey, an Icelandic neoclassical jazz singer with a penchant for orchestral accompaniment. There’s also folk artist Noah Kahan, whose hollow crooning is more reminiscent of crunching autumn leaves in Vermont than Swift-like stadium power moves. Even Lana Del Rey, with her haunting, unhurried ballads, is seeing a recirculation. Although recognizably pop-friendly, these artists offer sounds that don’t necessarily fit traditional molds of mainstream listening, and it’s exciting to see what else comes out of the TikTok machinery in 2024. — Zoe de Leon, Editorial Fellow
Our Favorite Albums of 2023From indie favorites to pop superstars, this is the music that moved us over the past year
13. Experiential dining will become more common — and more in-demand
You’ve probably heard in the last few years that consumers are seeking experiences rather than things, especially after COVID-19 brought a focus back to the home. Younger generations (Millennials and Gen Z) especially would rather travel than buy physical items, and people want those experiences to be curated and unique. As we’ve already started to see this year, that experiential demand is going to break into the dining scene as well. Of course, this isn’t a new concept. Dinner theaters and the promise of “dinner and a show” have always been around but perhaps have suffered from being a bit dated until now. Sure, we can all still get our kicks from Medieval Times, but experiential dining has become so much more than jousting and turkey legs.
Take for instance movie theaters like Alamo Drafthouse and Nitehawk Cinema, which serve top-notch food and drinks to go with feature films. Though tableside guacamole has long been a staple, restaurants are taking the concept one step further — like a hand-stretched mozzarella cart and dining room performances at Superfrico in Atlantic City. Multisensory dining comes alive at Ultraviolet in Shanghai, where projections, sounds and scents help to elevate diners’ taste buds, and restaurants like Alinea in Chicago famously ask for guests’ participation in whimsical preparations (think an edible balloon that’s actually filled with helium). While the typical restaurant experience isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, expect for 2024 dining to be more hands-on, theatrical and playful. — Gabriele
14. Your life will be upended not just by climate change, but by climate protests
Your summer vacation. Your morning cup of coffee. Your beer at happy hour. As we saw this year, nothing is safe from the global crisis that is human-caused climate change. Beyond the most pressing issues like water scarcity, extreme heat, melting ice sheets and biodiversity loss, even the little joys in life that we take for granted are at risk. And things will only get worse as we continue down the path of fossil fuel expansion and record temperatures. If you thought this year’s international climate summit showed some hope, as it was the first time the coalition agreed to “transition away from fossil fuels,” remember that COP28 was led by an oil magnate who was more concerned about keeping his money flowing than committing to a serious phase-out of oil, gas and coal. In the end, COP28 led to yet another Big Oil-influenced agreement that allows delayed action, and humanity will suffer for it.
As such, expect your life to be upended in the coming year both by climate change (especially as a supercharged El Niño continues), as well as climate protesters who will ramp up their efforts. We saw environmental advocates bring their actions to the doorstep of the world’s biggest polluters in 2023, but also to a variety of novel venues: art museums, a performance of the musical Les Misérables, even the U.S. Open. When you do run into a demonstration in 2024, you have a choice to make: do you lash out at the protesters who are inconveniencing your life for a moment? Or do you recognize that you too should be just as concerned about the climate crisis that is not only on track to make our planet less hospitable to your children and grandchildren, but is already drastically changing it for the worse in the here and now? — Lauer
The Naive Hope That Oil Companies Will Fix Climate ChangeThe mistake of choosing Sultan al-Jaber, the head of the UAE’s state oil company, as president of COP28 has become clear. It should have been obvious.
15. Other leagues will copy the NBA’s In-Season Tournament
The NFL is usually singled out as being a copycat league, but the truth is that every professional sports league in America attempts to take what it can from its competitors. Given the success of the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament, expect the NHL, MLB and maybe even the NFL to come up with some sort of similar gimmick that’ll give some of their regular season games more importance than they should actually have. That’s what the NBA did when it came up with the IST, which was essentially copied from the in-season tourneys European soccer leagues use. The tournament, which rewards players with extra cash to incentivize them, basically makes what would otherwise be somewhat meaningless games carry some extra weight without seriously impacting what happens in the playoffs. It’s smart and it’s a great way to lure advertisers and sponsors — which is why other leagues will copy it, the same way the NBA did. — Bleier
16. Your favorite reality TV contestants will open up about their toxic shows
Back in July, former Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel spoke out about the ways networks exploit reality TV stars and called for the formation of a reality TV union that could advocate for participants the same way SAG-AFTRA does for professional actors. That’s likely easier said than done — there will always be someone desperate to get their 15 minutes of fame by appearing on a reality show, so networks would almost certainly be able to sidestep the union or any potential union-led strike and find a new crop of fame-hungry scabs to cast in their place. But it is outrageous how for years, reality TV producers have preyed upon regular people with no background in the entertainment industry — many of whom are often dealing with substance abuse problems or mental health issues that are exploited for ratings — and the genre’s reckoning seems to be imminent. Netflix’s Love Is Blind has already been faced with multiple lawsuits, one from a former contestant who claims she was sexually assaulted on set and another from one who says the cast was plied with alcohol and deprived of food and water while filming. Look for more former reality stars to follow suit in 2024 and open up about the injustices they’ve endured.— Stiernberg
Has “Jury Duty” Ushered in the End of Reality Television?If twisted contrivance is the hallmark of the genre, this “Truman Show”-esque series might be its logical conclusion
17. Doctors will start “prescribing” physical activity and fresh air
Medical professionals have never been so high on exercise, but a study published earlier this year found that physical activity is “1.5 times more effective” at reducing symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety than SSRIs. Other recent research agrees: “exercise interventions” reduce mental health symptoms in a matter of months. This year more than ever, expect doctors to pitch physical activity as a welcome, not-so-secret alternative — both for those who’ve seen little improvement from antidepressants (they reportedly only work for 60% of patients), and especially for those who’ve weathered negative side effects from the pesky pills (like sexual dysfunction and weight gain).
Fortunately, as little as 150 minutes of exercise a week can make a tangible difference. That’s 20 minutes a day! And while all sorts of exercise appear to ease mental woes — from walking to strength training to yoga — doctors are especially partial to green exercise, aka workouts that take place outside or in natural environs. Some professionals have even taken to prescribing park passes in recent years. Look, we absolutely want you to go to the doctor this year. (Men have a bad habit of dodging their annual appointments.) But we’re pretty sure he’s going to tell you to get outside and to get moving. — Garrity
18. Cool-cationing is about to get hot
Cool-cationing involves trips to colder climates in lieu of the more popular sun-soaked beach vacations. Perhaps it’s gaining popularity because it’s getting so damn hot everywhere else. (In Europe, for example, temperatures continue to increase at more than twice the global average — the highest of any continent in the world, according to the World Meteorological Organization — which doesn’t bode especially well for summer holiday-makers.) Or perhaps it’s a bit of “last-chance tourism” at play, aka wanting to witness a place like Antarctica before it becomes unrecognizable because of climate change. Maybe it’s a bit of both. Either way, trips to cold-weather locales are going mainstream in 2024. — Rogers
Seeking Shackleton’s “Little Voices” on a Two-Week Voyage to AntarcticaOn a cruise with Abercrombie & Kent, our travel correspondent came face to face with towering icebergs, turbulent seas and the majesty of the White Continent
19. Personalities will make (and break) luxury houses
In the last year and change, there have been tectonic changes in the menswear space: longtime Gucci designer Alessandro Michele’s shock departure, Peter Do’s controversial reboot of Helmut Lang and, of course, the force of nature that was Pharrell to Louis Vuitton, to name a few. As the smoke clears from a glittery, clog-forward year of upheaval, it has become readily apparent that faces — more than legacies or critical acclaim or even the physical clothes — will dictate high-fashion success in coming year. With traditional advertising in free fall and a blossoming influencer market on TikTok delivering a new avenue for personal endorsements, faces that consumers know and trust will solidify themselves as paramount to both perception and actual sales. Whether that manifests in an era of new influencer-style creative directors is still to be determined. Tune in to fashion week and find out. — Sandoval
20. The AI bubble will burst, leaving a few innovations in its wake
Speaking as someone who subscribes to nine artificial intelligence-related newsletters and keeps a separate RSS feed on the tech, it’s obvious AI will have a huge impact on the world. But it’s a little telling that the best quote I saw about the nascent technology came from Grindr CEO George Arison when he was talking about the wingman chatbot that’ll soon debut on the company’s dating sites. “If we don’t do it, someone else will,” he said. “If you’re not first to market with something in AI, you’re going to miss out.”
Companies have been quick to claim they’re all in on AI, but are they actually using it? According to a recent U.S. Census Bureau survey (via The Hustle), only 4.4% of businesses are actively using AI to produce goods or services. Which means at some point, those millions (or billions) being thrown into LLMs, ChatGPT spinoffs and, yes, flirting chatbots are going to have to show some proof of worth. And it’s going to have to be more than an Instagram filter or movie suggestions. Some applications will succeed, but like the dot-com bubble of 2000 or the recent crypto crash (or self-driving cars or the Metaverse or NFTs or the streaming wars), there are going to be a lot of failures and a few big successes. And I say this as someone who is neither an e/acc nor a decel. — Miller