Co-ed showers

"Ah come on. it'll be fun," the bride-to-be tells the unsuspecting heartthrob.

He's a '90s fellow. Sensitive. Open to new ideas. Supportive. And he slowly grasps that a "Jack and Jill" bridal shower is still basically pre-wedding goodies grab.

Bride's magazine reports male involvement in the wedding gift selection has jumped from 43 percent in 1993 to 76 percent today. Stores report that couples - not just brides - now visit the bridal registry together.

So with visions of riding-mowers, DVD players, and table saws dancing in his head, he agrees.

Gotcha!

"Men have absolutely no purpose at a shower," states Brian Frost, a Stoneham, Mass., newlywed who has recently attended four Jack and Jill showers, including his own. "The guys sit in the back of the room wondering where they took a wrong turn."

It sounds sexist, but this is fundamentally a female thing. Guys have no historical place at a shower. They're adornments. An afterthought. "My wife had her special decorated chair. I sat on a metal folding chair for 2 hours and 17 minutes holding a bag of gifts I had no interest in."

There are attempts to integrate men into this tradition. At www.bliss.com, a wedding Web site offers gender-neutral themes: Try the Home Improvement, Literature, or Aquarium Shower.

I wonder if they're promoting these showers to high school boys in marriage-education classes (see story at right). Do the Japanese have Mickey Mouse showers (see page 21)?

Perhaps. But I suspect it's going to take the arrival of the Large Screen TV or BMW Z3 Roadster shower before men truly become more than interlopers at showers.

*Write the Homefront, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail us at home@csps.com

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