No, I Don't Want a Fucking Manwich

Stop putting 'man' at the start of words and thinking it's a thing. If isn't a thing, and if you've ever done it, there's a very good chance that I hate you.

Nov 26, 2012 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

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There is an advert on TV that makes me incomprehensibly angry. No, it’s not the John Lewis advert, where one snowman attempts to murder another snowman with wool. And it’s not the Argos advert, about the family of aliens who come to Earth and slowly go about learning the ways of human technology in order to eventually enslave and kill us.

It’s the current advert for HP Sauce.

According to the advert, HP Sauce is a Sauce of Manliness. According to the advert, HP Sauce turns a sandwich into a manwich. But it doesn’t, though, does it? It demonstrably doesn’t.

And this is down to two keys facts:

1) If anything, HP Sauce just turns a sandwich into a different sandwich; one that tastes like a tramp did a wee on it and then left out in the sun for too long, and

2) A manwich isn’t a thing.

Now, let’s be clear. The HP Sauce advert is easily the most inept piece of male-targeted, gender-specific marketing since Yorkie’s regrettable ‘It’s Not For Girls’ campaign in 2006 – a campaign which only really succeeded in turning Yorkie bars into the most latently homoerotic piece of confectionery since Nestle’s short-lived line of Hello Sailor chocolate buttplugs in the mid-seventies.

But the pinnacle of the commercial’s already towering shittiness is its use of the word ‘manwich’. Just because you’ve changed the first syllable to ‘man’ doesn’t mean that manwiches suddenly exist now.

And the manwich isn’t alone. There’s Man-flu, and Manbags, and Mansplaining, and Michael McIntyre’s cocking Man-drawer. All over the world, a growing number of people are beginning to think that it’s funny to change a word so that it has the word ‘man’ in it. It isn’t.

If you’ve ever done it, there’s a very good chance that I hate you.

My point here, to reiterate, is: STOP PUTTING ‘MAN’ AT THE START OF WORDS AND THINKING IT’S A THING. IT ISN’T A THING, YOU DICKS.

It infuriates me. When men do it, it tends to revolve around the idea that there’s somehow a Man Club somewhere, full of welders and builders and lower-league football players constantly thrashing out the rules of masculinity together.

“Yes, we must have a drawer!” they cry in unison. “A drawer just for man things, like screwdrivers and masturbation aids!”

These men then award man points to other men based on their ability to adhere to these rules. Know how to build a wardrobe? Five man points. Able to have an in-depth discussion with a mechanic about sparkplugs? Ten man points. Ever got drunk on Christmas day and hit your wife in front of your kids? A hundred man points to the chap in the corner wearing a string vest and seething with impotent rage!

I hate it when men do this. I don’t have a man-drawer. I couldn’t even draw you a picture of a sparkplug. I wouldn’t put HP Sauce on a bacon sandwich if it was literally the only thing in the entire world that could stop my kneecaps from exploding.

The thought that this somehow isolates me from the rest of my gender is both infuriating and insulting.

But. BUT. Men never say ‘man-flu’. This is exclusively female terrain. And it can piss off, quite frankly.

An anecdote. About a year ago, I got tonsillitis. Proper, full-blown, lost-voice, hot-and-cold, misery-infested, never-ending, agonising tonsillitis. I happened to mention this fact – exhausted and bedridden – on Twitter (a mistake, I know, since admitting anything on Twitter is essentially the same as dangling your testicles in front of a lunatic with a flamethrower), only to receive about 15 replies, all from women, telling me that I’d been misdiagnosed actually I was just suffering from a mild case of man-flu.

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A dramatic reconstruction

Oh yeah? Man-flu, is it? Well, why stop there, you condescending witch? Hey, next time a male friend of yours tells you that he has cancer, why not snort “Mancer, more like” and then lecture him on how chemotherapy won’t hurt as much as childbirth?

Or if he’s lost both his legs in a horrific industrial accident, how about hooting “Ooh, a manputation!” and start carping on about how much harder you have it than him because society expects you to use Veet sometimes. (Incidentally, you might be thinking about leaving a comment accusing me of mansplaining at this point. If you are, know that you’re easily the worst human being who has ever walked the face of the Earth, and that your parents never loved you).

The worst thing is that, when women do this – this awful head-pat of passive-aggressive man-use – we react to it. Every. Single. Time.

I know people who waddle around all day like a diarrhea-stricken John Wayne, their pockets rammed with everything they own, because they’re scared that if they were ever to use some kind of bag, someone will call it a manbag and they’ll lose man points. Which aren’t even a thing, by the way.

Try it yourselves. Next time you see a man, laugh sarcastically at him and shout “HA HA, NICE MAN SHOES”. I bet anything that he’ll never wear those shoes again. Or any shoes, for that matter.

He won’t want to get called ‘Man-Shoe’ again, thanks to a freakishly misguided fear that this is somehow a coded affront to his masculinity, so he’ll start clomping around barefoot for the rest of his life. Which will be quite short because he’ll invariably tread on a nail after about a fortnight and die of tetanus, all because he refused to go to hospital on the off-chance that a female doctor would end up diagnosing him with man-flu and he’d lose another ten man points WHICH DON’T EVEN FUCKING EXIST AND HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO REDEEMABLE WORTH IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD YOU MASSIVE FUCKING IDIOT.

This is what being a man is like. We have it hard. And it’s all because people – men and women – think that putting ‘man’ at the front of a word is big and/or clever. But it’s neither. Let’s just all stop doing it. We’re better than this.

But that’s not really my point. My point is that HP Sauce tastes like shit.

Stuart is on Twitter, or ManSpace as he likes to call it, @stuheritage

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