I don’t understand the male obsession with gadgets. Gadgets and ‘big boy’s toys’. My brother is a collector of gadgets and is a connoisseur of boy toys. They include a selection of blower-vacs that vary in size and power and apparently only work before 7 o’clock on Sunday mornings, to a coffee machine that takes up a cubic metre of space on his kitchen bench for the sole purpose of providing him with a single shot espresso on alternate weekday mornings. He polishes that coffee machine after each use so that the stainless steel monolithic beast gleams with a fine patina. He could buy a perfectly good espresso from the cafe down the road on his regular pre-dawn power walks, but I guess it wouldn’t impress the dinner guests.
He also has a plane. Some single engine blow fly of a thing that he tries to convince me is perfectly safe, but looks like he bought it in a kit and put it together with a bit of superglue and some pop rivets he keeps in an old jam jar in the shed (a shed that was purpose built to hold gadgets). Before the plane there was the boat. He gleefully sailed the boat up and down the coast for a couple of years before The Bride mutinied and threatened to scuttle it if she wasn’t returned to terra firma toot sweet. A deep tropical low hovered over his mood for some time at this point, but miraculously lifted before the ink was dry on the purchase agreement for the blow fly.
Before the boat there was the other plane. Before that there was the fishing boat. Before the fishing boat there was the speedboat. That even looked like a phallic symbol. And there has been a never ending turnover of cars since the day he got his driving licence. It seems that big boy’s toys are somewhat competitive and their ability to make other blokes envious is a highly desirable quality – an observation that is regularly met with raised eyebrow denial. Women, it seems, don’t have the same need to acquire overpriced, impulse-driven items to make them feel special and raise their self-esteem and/or social standing amongst their peers. Shoes, handbags, jewellery, fashion, decorator cushions and cosmetics clearly not included.