Pam Stone

Firebox, the company that brought us Christmas ornaments for bearded men, is back just in time for Valentine’s Day.

You read that correctly: This year you can give your man a “beard bouquet.” That’s right: nine bright red, plastic roses that clip “super comfortably” into a man’s facial hair. Firebox is quite aggressive in its marketing campaign as they ask, “Who can resist a man with a face of beautiful, romantic roses? An idiot, that’s who.”

Alrighty, then! And if you suffer from the same apparent idiocy that I do, you can pass on the plastic flowers and google The Manly Man Company, where for 50 bucks, you can order your big guy a bouquet of beef jerky flowers in a beer mug.

Paul no longer sports a beard (and so prodigious and fast growing was his that he could sprout one by simply giving himself the Heimlich maneuver), so the beard bouquet is out. He’s also not the kind of guy who would ever eat a bouquet of beef jerky. A goat cheese and fig crostini, of course, but jerky, not in this lifetime. And I don’t think he’s alone. It got me to thinking…do marketing executives consider women naturally more sophisticated, while men are seen as more influenced by the Clampetts, that this sort of gift would be enthusiastically accepted? C’mon, if you handed a woman a bouquet of beef jerky for Valentine’s, you would receive a withering stare just before she hit you over the head with it. No, sir, women want bling: diamonds, roses, champagne. To be fair, I suppose it’s possible there might be a gal out there craving a beef jerky bouquet for Valentine’s. She’s probably also a bouncer.

It seems that according to the company, a Manly Man prefers his Valentine’s gifts with the texture of rawhide and packed with sodium, prostates be damned. And evidently, I have no idea what a Manly Man truly is, because my definition of a Manly Man is James Bond, Poldark (with or without the hair products) and Denzel Washington. Try as I may, I’m not seeing Daniel Craig gnawing like a rat on a strip of jerky as he’s about to seduce his latest Bond Girl.

Would a Manly Man really rather have a jerky bouquet instead of being treated to Prime Rib and a bottle of a particularly robust Cabernet? A pair of Carhart coveralls over a Cashmere V neck? A gun rack instead sheepskin seat covers for his BMW? Would a Manly Man even consider a BMW?

Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe a Manly Man isn’t James Bond-ish at all. Maybe he’s more Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and Charles Bronson. Now, those guys I could imagine devouring an entire bouquet of beef jerky and afterwards picking their teeth with a railroad spike.

The problem is that those Manly Men often find themselves falling in love with Girly Girls. And then all hell breaks loose. Because her idea of a big treat isn’t the “Blooming Onion” at Outback, or a burlap nightie bought at a truck stop. It’s avocado toast points and tickets to Hamilton.

And before you know it, you’ll be wearing cashmere V-necks in six weeks, Jethro.