Friday, August 25

BREAKING: Puns save men from spontaneously turning into women

It's true!

A whole dialect has emerged to protect men from jokes, suspicious stares and questions about their manhood.

There's murse, instead of nurse. Mandals, not sandals. Guyliner, not eyeliner (see the glossary for further explanation). And ever since Britney Spears hired a male nanny, tabloids, TV shows, and even the Washington Post have been abuzz about mannies.

"The man part of these words is designed to reassure men that they won't lose their largely extraneous bits when they do things that women have traditionally done in the past," said Mark Simpson, the British journalist who coined the term metrosexual. "Castration anxiety is at the root of much of this."

Bwa ha ha!

Oh, sorry. I just find castration anxiety to be about the funniest thing in the world. Even funnier than penis envy, if you can believe it.

Things are much worse than I thought if men are squeamish about feeling emasculated if they wear sandals. Sandals, y'all. Jesus wore sandals, and you know he's not teh gay!

The feminist movement affected language too, but in a different way. Women didn't want to make words more feminine, because tacking on "ette" or "ess" makes a word sound diminished and delicate. Instead, they demanded inclusive, gender-neutral titles such as firefighter and police officer.

Now that men want to toughen their glossary, there is no prefix or suffix in the English language that emphasizes masculinity. "Altogether new words have to be created," Lakoff said.

There is no prefix or suffix to emphasize masculinity because our language is by and large structured around the male as the default, the normal. (Mankind; Host, hostess; steward, stewardess; Tigers, Lady Tigers, etc.) Feminists back in the day wanted to chip away at the othering that occurs when language is gendered to make the male the default.

Are men that insecure, that paranoid about what their buddies may think that they have to assert their masculinity through language?

Yes, said Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield, who earlier this year wrote a book entitled what else? Manliness.

"Manliness is real," he said. "It's not something cooked up by society. It isn't a social construction.

"Men really do look down on activities that they consider unmanly."

I would like to hear Prof. Mansfield (MANSfield, ha!) pontificate further on how manliness and men looking down on "unmanly" activities aren't components of a socially constructed reality. Just saying it's not a social construction doesn't mean it's not.

Check this out:

Unicorns are real. They're not something cooked up by sci-fi writers. They aren't a fictional construction. Unicorns really do gallop through clouds of cotton candy and rivers of golden chocolate.

Cute, but fairly ineffective.

Now let's consult the manossary and have some fun, shall we?

Guyliner: Eyeliner applied on a man. Known wearers include Sam Endicott of the alternative band the Bravery and Brandon Flowers of Las Vegas rock band the Killers. Non-rock stars should still expect stares.

JR, you're the only guy I know who has even attempted this, and I don't recall you saying "guyliner" a single time. And, far as I can tell, you've gotten lots of positive feedback from the ladies on nights when you've rimmed your eyes in smoky black (though I can't remember how your guy friends reacted, though I'm tempted to assume that they thought it was pretty effing cool once you started getting attention from women; am I right?). Why ruin a good thing by calling it "guyliner," right?

Manbag, manpurse: A purse with a strap worn by a man, often carried by someone who is metrosexual.

I don't know, maybe it's just because I'm fresh out of college, but I've seen a lot of men carrying those messenger bags and I happen to find those objectively alluring. It creeps me out when a man can walk around without carrying shit around with him. (Full disclosure: I am a woman who carries around an annoyingly large bag.)

Man blouse: A buttoned-down shirt with a pattern or style that gives it a feminine quality.

We have Clinton Kelly to thank for this trend. But allow me to chime in with a big "right on." I like it when a guy can wear a snazzy shirt with an unexpected print.

Mandals, manflops: Man sandals or flip-flops.

This is dumb. There is nothing even remotely feminine about sandals or flip-flops. If flip-flops were more commonly called "thongs," then maybe. But no.

Man crush: Hero worship; a man who has a crush on another man without sexual attraction. In Seinfeld, Jerry had one for a Mets first baseman.

I know someone with an enormous man crush on Vince Vaughn. I don't find the term "man crush" to be problematic, though I would question if there isn't at least a slight sexual component to these so-called man crushes. Dudes, there's nothing wrong with that!

Manpal: The guy version of girlfriends.

If you actually use this term, you've got ten seconds to explain to me how it's any less awkward than using "boyfriend" to describe a close friend.

Manscaping: Landscaping the male body by shaving, trimming, waxing or brushing the body hair.

This term is too funny to be wrong.

Mansitive: Used to describe a man who is extremely sensitive.

This is dumb.

Manstress: A woman's man-on-the-side.

Better than master, I guess.

Mantastic: Feeling fantastic after the successful completion of a particularly macho feat.

Again, too funny to be wrong.

Manties: A pair of very brief, tight-fitting men's underpants.

I don't see why "tighty whities" is insufficient.

Manwash: Body wash designed specifically for men.

This columnist has to be making shit up now. What is ultrafeminine about "body wash"?

Murse: Male nurse (or purse).

Hm, this dialect movement has a lot of work to do if the same term can be used for nurse and purse.

Oh well, good thing it's total bullshit anyway.

"This kind of language is faddish and transitory," [Simpson] said. "Once people are used to the idea that men and women have less distinct roles and lifestyles than in the past, they will be forgotten."

I'm sure there'll be another stupid trend to laugh at when the manification of supposedly feminized words goes out of fashion. I'll try not to hold my breath ...


Blogger John H said...

The only manny I wanna hear about plays leftfield for the Boston Red Sox.

I'm not so mansitive that I can't laugh at this..

Do you really think that anyone would seriously use these words without 'air quote marks' denoting irony?

Fri Aug 25, 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

I've heard some of the terms used unironically, but most of them sound too ridiculous to actually catch on. But you just never know these days with all these men supposedly scared to death of their new and shifting gender roles.

(Cue spooky music.)

Fri Aug 25, 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger phallicpen said...

The guy who wrote Manliness is the one Patrick took on in a symposium of some sort.

(Cue Barenaked Ladies.)

Fri Aug 25, 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

That is so manawesome.

Fri Aug 25, 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger David Holt said...

I live in fear of castration, day in and day out. I for one am overjoyed that manly words are coming into use to defend us from the attacks of anti-men, feminist, feminizers who want to turn us all into girly men. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go be manly and load the man(dish)washer.

Fri Aug 25, 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Serrabee said...

I love this post! Esp. this:
Are men that insecure, that paranoid about what their buddies may think that they have to assert their masculinity through language?
Just come on out & admit it: it's hard to live up to a manly image because it's as false as the feminine image has been.
I actually know a guy who calls his best friend "my man friend." How unmanly! I still doubt much of this will become a part of the common lingo, entertaining as it would be.

Sun Aug 27, 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger J. R. said...

All the feedback from my eyeliner-wearing was fairly positive. Weird looks, obviously, as most of my male companions were military, but like you said, once they noticed the positive attention from the ladyfolk, the men around me ceased giving me shit.

And I would never call it "guyliner."

Nor would I claim that my lashes looked great because I was wearing "manscara." Nor have my lips never looked so wonderfully kissable because I took the time to apply "dudegloss."

Mon Aug 28, 12:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

The sheer stupidity of most of those is incredible. What's wrong with "friend" to refer to a friend? Most of them seem to be invented by journalists though, not used in real life.

However, if you're a man wearing eyeliner, I'd think you'd be secure enough not to need to call it "guyliner".

Tue Sep 05, 02:41:00 AM  

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