Trendspotter: “Man” as a prefix

BY MELEA ANDRYS | APRIL 03, 2009 7:30 AM

The men of America have spoken, and they demand a new language. It seems traditional nouns and syntax are not enough to fully encapsulate the surging testosterone that courses through the veins of the average male. A new and special vernacular is required.

Enter the “man-” prefix. Affix it before any word to immediately fill it with beefy and brawny masculinity (see “mangina,” Spike TV’s “Manswers,” or the “man-dates” portrayed in the new Paul Rudd move, *I Love You, Man*). Often the words most in need of masculinization are those that are usually presented in a feminine context (example: “man-purse”), though certainly the prefix fun need not stop there — after all, the “brosephs” know “bromances” are so hot right now.

This speech may be funny in itself, but it is also a communication phenomena. The feminization of the American male has been hotly debated, from the rise of the metrosexual to the increase of men in therapy. Perhaps the “man-” prefix is an attempt for males to reclaim the kind of stereotypical masculinity exuded by lumberjacks and exemplified in Tucker Max’s fratire.

Philosophy aside, the “man-“ prefix is pretty darn funny in its outlandishness. So remember, next time you find yourself at a Judd Apatow-esque bromantic comedy, it’s totally not gay to share your man-candy or man-corn with your bromate. It’s just some good old-fashioned man-love.

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