Be a man! You'll need a phone and pants

All Madison Avenue wants for Christmas is its masculinity back

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published December 7, 2009 3:08PM (EST)

These are tough times for manly men. Everywhere they turn, there are Adam Lambert album covers and new episodes of "Glee" and Katherine Heigl movies threatening to harsh on their boners. Fortunately, with a small outlay of cash and two dude-enhancing products, masculinity can be saved from the evil snares of all things supergay and girly.

First, you'll need a phone. Forget that pussy iPhone and get yourself the Motorola Droid. Droid! Nothing chick-like there! That's a name that says, "I tinker with stuff and edit Dr. Who Wikipedia entries."

In the Droid's new ad, Motorola gives us an array of candy-colored, bling-encrusted mobile devices and smiling fashion dolls and asks, "Should a phone be pretty? Should it be a tiara wearing, digitally clueless beauty queen?" Hell to the no!

Instead, it should be "racehorse duct taped to a scud missile fast" so it "rips through the web like a circular saw through a ripe banana!" Beware the rampaging Droid! It has GPS but it doesn't even need it, because directions are for the weak! If the ghost of Steve McQueen had a baby with Captain Kirk, it would be this phone. It would have back hair and chew with its mouth open. This phone may have killed Tupac. As the ad explains, "It's not a princess. It's a robot." It's not a phone. It's a dick with rollover minutes.

Feeling somewhat more butch? Ready to get out there and engage in some high-speed chases and cut down some trees and shit? Sounds like you need to "wear the pants." And what could be more gangsta, more badass, than a pair of Dockers? As the brand that made everybody's asses look fat in the '90s lurches along the comeback trail, Dockers would like to propose a man-ifesto. (Get it? Hey, you want subtlety, watch Lifetime.) You see, once there was a time "men took charge because that's what they did." But then, "the world decided it no longer need men" and left them "stripped of their khakis … by the side of the road between boyhood and androgyny." It goes on in this tragic vein for some time. Stuff about crumbling  cities and genderless society, until you find yourself pouring two fingers of bourbon, neat, and watching "Field of Dreams" again on Spike TV. I think we all remember the great pants-jacking of American masculinity, which, based on the manifesto's references to disco and salad bars, occurred sometime in the Carter administration. For the love of God, can we put some khakis back on our menfolk at long last?

When the Incredible Hulk goes on the rampage, he is busting out of a pair of Dockers. The only reason to unzip a pair of Dockers is to pee standing up or impregnate a supermodel. If there were a seventh masculine icon of the Village People, it would be these pants! OK, scratch that last one. They're available at Kohl's and JC Penny's! Can you handle that?

Perhaps the best part of the Dockers imperative to "answer the call of manhood" is the links at the bottom to "shop men" or "shop women's." I feel gender confusion and androgyny kicking in. ROARR! WHY AM I SHOUTING? IT MUST BE THE TESTOSTERONE IN THESE PANTS!

It's vaguely consoling to be reminded that advertising doesn't merely prey upon female insecurities. But maybe someday they'll be enough roaming data and trouser wearing in the world for all of us -- male and female, princesses and Droids.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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