On the whole, the modern male has put up a rather pathetic defence against the process of enforced feminisation that began about two decades ago. Indeed, our primary response has been simply to mock ourselves — most recently by finding new and ironically humorous ways to combine the word “man” with the everyday nouns of our post-emasculation existence.Read no further if you're easily grossed out.
Thus a briefcase is now a man-bag; going down the pub with a friend is a mate-date (especially if one of you has a man-crush); the act of greeting said friend is a man-hug; the holiday you might discuss while supping on your mint-infused vodka would be a man-cation (on which you would almost certainly lounge poolside in a man-kini). And of course if you were ever to lose weight — rather than just obsess over calorie counts — that would make you a manorexic.
The variations on the man-word theme are of course endless and constantly evolving. The other day I found myself asking a supermarket employee where I could find the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light — For Men”. And the most fashionable Hollywood genre of the moment is the bromantic comedy (the latest example of which being I Love You, Man).
Which brings us to the final frontier, the last taboo, the great capitulation: “manscaping”.
Then I asked around a bit, and discovered that a truly alarming number of my male friends were already tending regularly to their dark and musty backwaters. “Crack, sack, and back,” said one LA-based mate. “Get it done every month. I want my girlfriend’s to be as clean as a whistle, so I can hardly go around looking like the Beast of Bodmin, can I?” He then proceeded to inform me of a trimming device he had purchased from Amazon, which he described as the Ballmaster 3000. Never in my life had I ever felt so, well, married.