Friday, 26 September 2008

An A to Z of what every man doesn't need.....

AMUSING NECKWEAR: Does anyone still wear ties with jolly pictures of half-naked ladies on them, or wacky sequin patterns, or maps of the London Underground? I'm pretty sure I never did. So why are so many of them hanging in my cupboard?

BARBECUE: Every man has one, even if he lives in a 25th-floor flat with no balcony and permanently locked windows. The barbecue represents ultimate 'man cooking' - charcoal on the outside, salmonella in the middle, washed down with so much beer you don't notice.

CABLES: They sit in drawers and clear plastic stacking boxes, hundreds of them, all tangled up like mating eels. You have no idea what they are meant to connect, or which plug goes with which machine. But you keep them just in case you ever find the things that go on the end of them and might need them for something. Well, you never know.

DIY EQUIPMENT: Which of us truly knows how to make best use of a multi-functional cordless drill (with sanding attachment)? Who has any timber to clamp to their Black & Decker Workmate bench, still less the skill to do anything useful with it? Not many, I'll bet. Yet we've all gone down to Homebase or B&Q and been seduced by the joys of hardware and ironmongery. Then we've put it somewhere safe, which is where it remains to this day.

ENGLAND SHIRT: Football, cricket or rugby, most of us have got one, even if we don't like to admit it (or a Scotland/Wales/Northern Ireland shirt for those in the Celtic fringe). Mine was signed by ex- England goalie Peter Shilton. That's my excuse.

FLASHING BOW-TIE: A little girl gets her daddy a flashing bow-tie for Christmas. He does not need a flashing bow-tie, but of course he does not tell her that. He certainly does not throw the tie away, so it sits unused in his chest of drawers for year after year, even when the girl has grown up and gone to university. (That's a true story, by the way. Sorry, darling).

GOLF GEAR: He has the clubs, the tea-cosies to put on the end of the clubs, the special go-faster balls, the instructional books and DVDs, the computer game for when he can't get on an actual course. And he's still not Tiger Woods. Not even close.

HAIR RESTORER: It's medically proven to work. Only it made my scalp itch. So I never used it more than three times. But it seemed like such a waste to throw away £40 worth of product that was supposed to last months. So I didn't. Ho-hum.

IMPLAUSIBLE SPORTSWEAR: What possessed you to buy a pair of skin-tight, lunchbox- revealing Lycra shorts? And that wetsuit, how often have you worn it? About as often as you've put on the gear you were going to wear to the gym that you somehow don't have time to visit. Best not get rid of it, though. You might just need it one day. Maybe.

JUNK: There's so much of it, everywhere, of so many different kinds. We don't know how it got there. We don't know what to do with it. We only know that it must not be thrown away.

KING OF SHAVES: Just one of countless shaving foam variations with which men will experiment when bored with getting endless cans of Gillette. Then they realise that although it gives them a terrific shave, it makes all their cut stubble stick to the side of the basin after the water's drained. Cue monumental disharmony between man and partner.

LAVATORY BOOKS: Men have two alternative toilet styles. The first is what Grand Prix teams would call a 'splash 'n' dash' (except they're referring to fuel top-ups). The second is a more leisurely, contemplative affair and it absolutely requires books filled with quickly-digestible nuggets of humour, trivia and light-hearted social observation. These books then accumulate around a loo, unopened for years at a time, gathering dust, while the man of the house decides he'd rather be reading the newspaper sports pages instead.

MAPS: I do not need to ask anyone for directions, because I am a man and can read a map. So everywhere I go, I buy a map. Then I bring the map home. I have a ridiculous number of maps. And I don't use any of them because now I've got a satnav.

NOSE-HAIR CLIPPERS: Why would anyone want an instrument dedicated to pruning their nostril rug? Who could possibly think that a man would want a nasal strimmer enough to give them one for Christmas? And who would make such a thing in the first place? All these are deep mysteries, never properly explained. Yet still men accumulate nose-hair clippers - anything more than a matching pair seems excessive, doesn't it?

ODD SOCKS: It shouldn't be hard to keep track of our socks - yet somehow they make escape bids. Or perhaps they just get divorced. Either way, we keep ending up with odd socks. And we keep all those lonely single socks hanging around in case the other sock turns up. But it never does.

PAINT POTS: Just as the entire history of an ancient site can be determined by digging down through layers of civilisation, so the entire decorative history of the average suburban semi can be found by going into the garage and looking at all the half-empty paint pots cluttering it up. Every colour you have ever used will be there. But if you ever open the lid, the paint will be a colourless gunk, topped by a thin smear of brown liquid.

QUEEN'S GREATEST HITS: OK chaps, get those tennis rackets out. Assume the air-guitar position (unless you're gay, in which case by all means be Freddie). 1,2,3,4.. .we will, we will,

RAZORS: We want the best a man can get, so we keep buying new razors. Each is more expensive than the last, with more blades and a slightly different gimmick: a strip of skin-balm that melts with the first shave, or a battery powered vibrating capacity, or a built-in Goblin Teasmade. And every time we buy a new one, we shove the old one in the cupboard next to the unused aftershaves. Freddy Krueger could make several razor-tipped gloves from the ones stuck in the back of most bathroom cabinets.

SHED: It's mine, you can't come in and, no, I'm not going to tell you what I've got in there, or what I do.

TOOTHBRUSHES: Once upon a time, a toothbrush was just a few bristles on the end of a plastic stick. Then some genius realised that men are suckers for gadgets. Now you can get electric toothbrushes, bendy toothbrushes and toothbrushes with rubber tongue-scrapers. You can, and if you're a man, you do.

UNPLAYED GUITAR: Because it turns out you're not a rock monster after all. But it does look pretty cool anyway, just propped up against a wall in the corner. Just ask Tony Blair.

VINYL: It would be a crime to get rid of all those old LPs. They're symbols of youth and the golden age of classic rock. Pity you haven't got a turntable any more. But then you can always stick them in the garage, next to the pots of paint.

WASH, THE: For women, washing clothes is a chore. For men 'the wash' is a kind of parallel universe into which their clothes disappear, and are kept until they magically reappear. In the meantime, we have no idea where these clothes actually are, and may be forced to go and buy identical garments, just in case they never return.

X-RATED DVDS AND MAGAZINES: I don't have any, obviously. But apparently other men do.

YELLOW SWEATSHIRT: There is a strict rule when buying clothes from catalogues: never choose the clothes being worn by the incredibly cool, shaven-headed black dude, because they won't look half as good on a sad old, pasty-faced git like you. This is the kind of lesson you learn AFTER you buy a snug-fitting canary-yellow sweatshirt.

ZZZZZZ: Somewhere in every man's house there is a chair, sofa or leather upholstered recliner on which he can snooze, often in front of a television. Women, for some unknown reason, long to get rid of the snoozing-chair and the television, but they know that this would risk war. So they just move them around instead, rearranging the furniture when the man isn't looking. In the name of all that's holy - WHY?

H/T Old Dude

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