July 13, 2010

Mancations

The men in my MN men's group were talking about a fall get-away for some play and extended time together. During the year we meet twice a month on weeknights for two hours of mutual support and to stay current on each other's lives. Yet there is nothing like a relaxing weekend in a beautiful place for enjoying each other's company, deepening friendships, and further cementing our 20 plus year bond.

The day after our getaway discussion, into my in-box pops a suggested post from blog subscriber Charlie M. on the topic of Mancations. It appears not only is there a name for our guy's retreat, but interest in guys heading out on men-only vacations is growing rapidly.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article titled, Guys Just Want to Have Fun, "The travel site TripAdvisor.com has seen a 7% increase in trip reviews posted by men traveling with men friends for the first five months of 2010, compared with a year earlier. Reviews by men traveling with a spouse or partner are down 3%." Now these statistics may not be a huge change in men's behavior, but to me, more men going away with men-friends sounds like a very good thing.

I can hear the backlash already. This is really just another example of the drink, kill animals, go fast and womanize kind of bachelor party adventure appealing to the bad-boy stereotype. Indeed, the Spike website is one example of those sites promoting more macho versions of guys trips in their article, The 9 Best Ways to Take a Mancation. You can shoot a wild boar, ocean fish for the really big ones, or even fly a Russian MiG fighter if your crew wants adrenaline. For those guys whose interest lean toward the strange there is always a trip to the Redneck Summer Games (featuring internationally celebrated sports such as dumpster diving, hubcap hurl, and everyone's favorite the mud pit belly flop).

The WSJ article points out there is some tendency for mancations to include extreme sports, from off-road racing to machine-gun training . . . "activities that their families prefer to sit out." If your group of guys wants something less aggressive, you can find lots of interesting and macho stereotype-challenging options. For example, the website mantripping.com, which specializes in helping men plan mancations, suggests volunteer experiences for a group of men in Africa, or hiking in Taos or Lake Tahoe. Duderanch.org lists over a hundred ranches where you and your homeboys can "wear chaps and hats for a week."

I firmly believe men spending time away together, having fun, enjoying life and each other is a good thing. It strengthens friendships and increases the possibility your buds will be there for you when time are tough. Because the young dudes are always watching, seeing men enjoying the company of other men is also good role modeling. Could you use a mancation this summer?



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