“The Man” was confirmed as an official Lover track in Taylor’s Vogue interview from August 8, 2019. In the song, Taylor “plays with the idea of perception.” According to Vogue, "she has often wondered how she would be written and spoken about if she were a man.”

Taylor explains:

It’s a thought experiment of sorts: ‘If I had made all the same choices, all the same mistakes, all the same accomplishments, how would it read?’

On January 27, 2020, the song was confirmed by Billboard’s Senior Director of Charts, Gary Trust, as the fourth official single off of Lover after it was sent to both pop and adult pop radio.