Real men don’t use umbrellas because, said the article in a well-known newspaper, they are “cumbersome and unattractive”. Continuing, the author said that “brollies quickly turn their gentlemen owners into wallies”. Men, it said, needed to “man up and face the rain”.
We disagree. And here’s why.
Why Real Men Use Umbrellas
We’re sure it was written tongue in cheek – or maybe it wasn’t – but an article claiming real men don’t use umbrellas appeared The Telegraph some time ago that got us thinking. It made several points about men, umbrellas and men using or carrying umbrellas and how such a commonly used tool was not for the masculine man.
And so, we took matters in hand and decided to write a reply, addressing some of the concerns raised in the article about men’s umbrellas.
The first point the writer made concerned the look and appeal of the umbrella. As well as not being for the masculine man, it continued that for a man to carry a brolly was as “undignified as a man with a cocktail in his hand”.
What’s wrong with a cocktail? For anyone who knows about the subtle art and skill of creating the perfectly balanced cocktail, Death in the Afternoon– a strong mix of Absinthe- is not to be taken lightly. Neither is the sublime combination of gin and Martini in a Blue Arrow.
But we digress for the real sentiment expressed here is about how carrying a brolly makes a man less manly. Forgive us, but is walking through a heavy downpour with cold rain trickling down your back a manlier approach to life than being prepared, and having a small canopy to protect your whistle and fine Italian leather shoes?
We think not.
“umbrellas are fine for women”
Men, continues the article, don’t have a need for an umbrella. Not only will their manliness not wilt in the rain, what also stands a man in good stead to leave the house brolly-less, is they don’t need one because unlike women, they don’t – and we quote – “have long, elaborate hairdos”.
Really?! So, the billion-pound beauty industry that has mushroomed around men’s grooming is not evidence enough that a lot more men are taking a lot more pride and time in how they look?
And so no, a chap may not have a coiffured and bouffant barnet (and not many women do, to be honest) but they still want to keep their head dry.
“a one-man marquee”
Next, the writer turns his wrath on the golfing umbrella. An overly large canopy which he refers to as a “one-man marquee”.
Perfect for the golfing green, the golfing brolly does have its uses.
We do take issue, however, with a golfing umbrella being a symbol of ‘a freebie’. Like all our men’s brollies, it is a personal choice.
“a social menace”
There is also consideration given to what the author terms the ‘social menace’ of umbrellas. He’s not the first to take issue with the danger of umbrellas.
All joking aside, there is a serious point to be made here. The defence capabilities of the humble umbrella have long been seriously considered. For some time, it was the spy’s weapon of choice from poisoned tips to hidden blades in the handle.
A pro-Beijing Hong Kong politician back in 2014 said of the protests that became known as the Umbrella Movement that,
“the umbrella can be used as shelter from the rain and the sun, as a walking stick, or as a stick to [protect yourself] from stray dogs … It’s aggressive.”
The umbrella offered some protection against the tear gas used to disperse protesters. There are many an iconic photo of protesters, umbrella in each hand, held aloft amongst the tear-inducing smoke and gas fired by police.
And so yes, the closed umbrella could be a truncheon. Or when one is held aloft and sprung open without warning could gauge out an eye out (we jest).
But no, on the whole, we find our customers to be law-abiding citizens and fully aware of the safe use of an umbrella in a public and confined space. And this is true whether the umbrella operator is a man or a woman.
Near its conclusion, the author has one last poke at the man who carries a brolly by suggesting the better look for the modern man is as a ‘weather-beaten warrior’.
We think that the modern man – the one that lives in the 21st century as opposed to any other definition – has come of age. No longer does masculinity equal looking like a gladiator with a six-pack swilling a can of beer.
It means taking care of mind, body and soul. So, yes, you boys use a moisturiser to keep your skin supple and in good shape.
And yes dads, that dad-bod is just as good as a six-pack. More so in fact when you expose it on a family holiday, frolicking with your kids on the sand.
And yes, wandering the streets sheltering under the canopy of an umbrella, staying dry and not arriving at your destination looking like a drowned, bedraggled rat is perfectly acceptable, and not a dent in any man’s ‘masculinity’.
“does it make you look like James Bond or a ninny?”
‘Ninny’ is not defined in the article. But the comparison drawn with the manliest, most masculine men of all men, the secret service agent James Bond, must surely mean that anyone other than James Bond (a fictional character, by the way) is a ninny.
And yet, James Bond is not averse to carrying a brolly or some other kind of feminising piece of kit. We’re sure we saw Sean Connery’s James Bond with a man bag once. And so we take that as meaning men’s umbrellas really are for every man.
The author, helpfully, points out that if you do carry a brolly it needs to be the right colour and the right size. And as a modern man, you need to exercise caution when using.
The right colour is not specified. The right size is not specified either. But we assume stick to golf umbrellas on the green only and don’t use your brolly selfishly, by taking over a confined space by opening it without checking your wing mirrors first.