So. This brings my Just For Men man adventures to a close. It’s been an interesting experience for me, primarily because now I know exactly how disgusting my brother looks when he films himself stuffing a battered Ginsters pasty into his mouth from about two centimetres away.
But there are other reasons, too. This has been a good reminder that you can’t just dumbly pigeonhole men into a predetermined box. We don’t all eat Yorkies or watch football or call each other ‘mate’. Most of us, unlike all men in all adverts about this sort of thing, have never triumphantly pumped our fists after a successful work meeting. Some, admittedly, will refer to their cold as a ‘Man Flu’ or their bedroom as a ‘Man Cave’, but these men are terrible men who deserve to be ritually shaved like Aslan and sent far away from the rest of civilisation at the earliest opportunity.
I’ve met all kinds of men on my Just For Men adventures. Some thoughtful and quietly spoken, like our kiting instructor Mark. Some louder and more tribal, like the guys next to us at the bowling alley. Some with broken feet, like my friend Al. Some who aren’t actually men at all, like my brother’s girlfriend Emily. But they all count as men in their own right. Especially Emily.
And each of these men has had his own preferred way of spending Man Time, whether that’s involved getting drunk with a load of blokes, or sitting around playing videogames by himself, or just crowbarring in a few extra minutes with his family each day. Getting a decent amount of leisure time is important for everyone so, however you want to spend it, it’s all perfectly valid.
This extends to achieving the look you want. I suspect that, in return for sending me on these trips, Just For Men would have liked me to try out its product here. Unfortunately – since at this point my head basically looks like a snooker ball that’s had a single pube inelegantly draped across it – I haven’t. But that doesn’t matter. You’re a man. You get to look however you want. You want to dress formally? Dress formally. You want to wear shorts all the time? Do that. Grow a beard. Be clean-shaved. Get a ponytail. I wouldn’t suggest having the words ‘EAT SHIT’ tattooed across your forehead, because I used to know a man who did that and for some reason he came to regret it very much, but it’s not my forehead. I can’t stop you from doing anything.
My point is that you get to make the rules. The look you want is the look you should have. If we can’t even manage that after several thousand years of institutional patriarchy, we’re all pretty much effed.
Incidentally, on a semi-related note, I have a bundle of Just For Men AutoStop – the oxygen-activated, self-timing hair product – in various shades of brown to give away. If the look you want is markedly less grey than it is now, give me a shout and I’ll send some over.