Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Unconventional Wisdom | These are no trips for manly men

This mancation thing sounds supremely stupid.

Perverting the time-honored male-bonding trip, the artificially designed mancation (that's a high-end man vacation) is marketing run amok.

Its origin is a Vince Vaughn line from the movie The Break-Up. Luxury hotels now offer mancation packages like the $49,000, three-night bacchanal in Las Vegas for four guys that includes gambling chips, access to a Ferrari 360 Spider, and other accoutrements of the insecure male.

Other hotels sell less expensive mancations that feature spas and waxing. One Florida resort offers men "ritual baths."

Buddies on vacation don't go to spas. And, unless they're ancient Druids getting in touch with their inner shaman, they don't group-bathe, either.

Apparently, the mancation is quite the thing among 35-year-olds. They use Web sites like I'm In! (www.imin.com) to plan gender-based travel. The I'm In! guys estimate that 20 million males in the United States take annual mancations costing $12 billion.

There's a word for people who socialize like this: women.

When real guys vacation, it involves sweat, beer and minimal changes of underwear.

Take Dick Cheney. The man really knows how to get out and bond with males. One day, he and his compadres decided to fire huge guns at little birds. When Cheney accidentally peppered his pal's face with No. 8 shot, the guy didn't whimper and dive into a hot tub. No, he chalked it up to collateral macho damage and rubbed a little spit in his wounds. Genuine men understand that, sometimes, shot happens.

And in the movie Deliverance, where a men's rafting trip goes severely awry, the guys don't fold like Coleman tents when they're the victims of multiple felonies. They just kill the offenders with their own hands and go home, keeping their post-traumatic stress to themselves.

No one on a true man excursion asks you what you're feeling. Oh, you might get a giggly, "Are you all right?" if you drink 47 Budweisers, then fall face-first into a tackle box and sustain innumerable eye punctures. But then you laugh about it and move on.

I used to go backpacking into the Montana wilderness with manly pals.

We did not exfoliate or hold each other's hair back when we vomited from altitude sickness, because that's what girls do.

We turned our fears into jokes. For example, we told each other you don't have to be quick enough to outrun a grizzly out there; you just have to be faster than the guy next to you. Men bonding in the woods can repeat this joke 391 times and it will never get old.

On one trip, we were looking up at the coruscating night sky. One guy said the beauty of it all made him feel insignificant.

We all agreed that the beauty made us think he was insignificant, too. See, that's how real guys have fun. And they don't need mudpack facials.

Of course, there is one vital overlap between the macho getaway and the mancation: containment.

What happens out there, stays out there. Unless you're vice president.


Contact columnist Alfred Lubrano at 215-854-4969 or alubrano@phillynews.com.

Alfred Lubrano Inquirer Columnist
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