by Lauri Apple
Kass, a Trib columnist and infrequent BUST Magazine contributor, has written an ode to the man chair—a home furnishing that seems to serve as some sort of Linus blanket for adult boys. He presents it in the context of advising his bro, a newlywed, on how to remain happy in his marriage, which provides fertile ground for a discussion on the war between the sexes. "First, there's the man chair issue," Kass writes. "And then the related question: Should men be dragged to Bed Bath & Beyond against their will so they can look at 'just a few more things?'"
For a man, having to go to Bed Bath & Beyond is like being castrated except worse, because most castration doctors' offices aren't infused with the clashing scents of cherry vanilla and lilac. Yet so many women these days are making their men go to these wretched Beddy Bathy places—ostensibly due to (a) feminism (b) sadistic tendencies.
What is a "man chair"? Kass doesn't explain it, which suggests we are supposed to intuitively know these things. But isn't intuition a woman thing? Huh. Thankfully, the Urban Dictionary comes to the rescue with eight definitions submitted by volunteers with man-chair expertise, including this description: "the chair that men sit in while their partner is shopping for long periods of time." And: "The only place a man can go after a long day of hard work. A chair that is the only thing that can truly comfort and care for a man. Often an extremely comfortable recliner with foot rest." The reclining function seems key.
According to Kass, if a man doesn't fight for his right to own a man chair he might end up with nesting tables, a type of home furnishing that threatens masculinity. "They're fine perches for violets and framed photographs and tasteful candle displays"—i.e., lady and GHEY things. "But they're not a man chair." Without the anchoring influence provided by this magical seat, a man will eventually become beholden to his wife, who will make him test the Turkish cotton towels for sufficient softness and sniff the fruity candles until either the money runs out or the end of time, whichever comes first.
Robbed of their man chairs, men become like almost-girls, who almost-cry when reminded of the comfort and security they once knew. One of Kass's friends says his wife made him give up his man chair because of the cats; he now has "haunted eyes." As for Kass himself, he doesn't own a chair, and is ashamed of it. (Apparently you only get one chance to own such a chair.)
As I've noted before, Kass is a champion of the American Manly Man, of men who have mustaches and muscle shirts and drink grape soda that they can spill all over their man chairs despite their wives' protestations. They don't know the difference between a Tramontina frying pan and an Ecolution model, and they never want to, because why would you fry beef jerky anyhow?
The Manly Man's very existence is increasingly threatened by the creeping feminization of our culture, as noted by Kass and many other culture commentators. The "mancession" caused by the recession hasn't helped matters, with women coming close to surpassing men, at least quantitatively, in our work force. These trends are producing all manner of nefarious consequences, from the aforementioned almost-crying among husbands and boyfriends to increasing numbers of bear attacks.
Now this guy Randy Michaels—he probably has a man chair in his office.