Did you ever have that experience where you notice something and then everything you read seems to confirm that little nugget you’ve noticed? So it is with me this week. I’ve been writing and noticing the ongoing emasculation of men in our culture and, today, I open the NY Times Thursday Styles section to see a front-page article about housewares designed for men, the headline being: “Dude, Check out Those Spoons.”
Here’s the lead of the piece:
“On Monday afternoon, in a small room hidden amid the swirling insanity that is the International Home and Housewares Show, Tom Mirabile showed off a sleek, stylish spoon with a twinkle in his eye.
‘It’s just sex, you know,’ said Mr. Mirabile, a handsome fellow who served as the show’s lifestyle trend forecaster and sported four earrings, a gray goatee and various pastels. ‘It’s sex on a spoon.'”
The day I find a spoon “sexy” is the day I’ll enroll myself in a sex therapy class, or maybe an institution. I know there is a lot of tongue in cheek in this piece (apparently written by a man though because the name is Jesse, I’m not so sure) but the designers of these housewares are not joking around — they’re trying to make money.
The other thing is that I don’t think The Times is kidding. I believe the newspaper is heavily invested in this idea of the “new man.” After all, one of the sub-heads in the article is, “Building the better man, one spatula at a time.” The piece describes knives that are “the ultimate in macho kitchenware” and a humidifier that plays tunes.
“You probably couldn’t rock out to AC/DC,” a saleswoman with the company told The Times. “But you could probably rock out to Raffi.”
Indeed, just what every man wants.
The article also highlights another 24-year-old who asks passersby: “Would you like to taste our soap?” and goes on to note that, before designing this vegetable-based soap, the inventor was a bio-chemistry major in college but dropped out so he could formulate a bar of soap that would last for a year.
I suppose that’s a worthy goal but falls a bit short compared to guys like my father who was drafted out of high school to fight in World War II. I guess you could argue that, like women, we’ve come a long way, baby!