Gentlemen, we come to you today with a very serious matter.

We are in danger of losing one of the English language’s greatest words.

The word is “man.” It means a person with a penis. Or, if you want to get technical, an adult human male.

“We don’t care if these words are technically in the dictionary. Webster’s sold out a long time ago. They can’t be trusted anymore.”

And we’re in danger of losing it because it’s getting more and more douchey. Yep, it’s becoming super soiled with the stain of douche. Why? Because all of a sudden, people are putting it in front of everything to create a lot of really stupid words.

Words like “man-scaping” and “man-iversary” and “man-alysis.”

OK, we just made up “man-alysis.” But see how annoying that was?

Quick story: About a month ago, we received a press release for a product in our inbox. We don’t remember what the product was, but the writer of the press release said the product would give guys back their “man-fidence.”

Really: This person used the term “man-fidence.”

This is how dire the situation has gotten. People are substituting “man” for parts of words that have no connection to “man.” At least with “man-scaping,” “man” almost rhymes with “land,” you know? And for what it’s worth, The Man Show had its moments back in the day. But for us, “man-fidence” signaled a new low. Can you imagine if that idiotic fucking word actually took off? The result would be anarchy. Or, actually, worse: man-archy.

And this is extremely unfortunate because “man” is such an important word in our culture. First of all, we need it to say things like, “Man, did you notice how nice Tina’s breasts looked in that sweater?” Or, “Man, your brother has put on a lot of weight since high school.”

But it’s more than that. To be a man means that you’re tough and strong and responsible, and you do the right thing even it it’s going to be uncomfortable or super duper painful. You suck it up and do it because you’re a man. You don’t want to go into that burning building to save those children and kittens and old people, but you do because you’re a man. You don’t want to talk to the media after you shanked the game-winning field goal attempt from 23 stinking yards out, but you do because you’re a man. You don’t want to wander through France to find Private Ryan and bring him home, but you do because you’re a man. (Also, you’re Tom Hanks.) At least that’s what “man” used to mean.

tom-hanks-in-saving-private-ryan
In danger of one day being referred to as Tom Manks.

These days, “man” is just a prefix that lazy marketers can slap on the front of something to sell you a bunch of crap you don’t need. Crap that will most likely end up in a dusty corner of your man cave basement.

So it appears we have two options. First option is we invent a new word that means what “man” used to mean. Like, we flip “man” around and go with “nam.” But that sounds a lot like Vietnam. Too much probably. Or we start calling guys “Kens” as in Ken dolls… but that sounds like something from Clueless. Or we begin referring to men as “penis havers” or “people with penises” or “PWPs” or something.

These are all bad solutions.

Which brings us to option two: Stop putting “man” in front of everything! If we end this ridiculousness right now, we can still salvage the power and meaning of the word “man.” You want to say “manhood”? Fine, go for it. That’s actually a word. You want to say “mandate”? Great, do it. But only if you mean “an authoritative order or command.” Not if you mean a date between two men.

And no more made-up words. We don’t care if they are technically in the most up-to-date dictionary. Webster’s sold out a long time ago. They can’t be trusted anymore. The fact that “mancave,” “mancation,” “mancessories,” “mandals” and freaking “mancession” are all defined on merriam-webster.com sort of makes us want to puke. Right on Merriam Webster’s snotty little face. Assuming that’s a real person.

49ers-basement
Repeat after us: This is called a “basement.”

But the good news is, we haven’t totally lost the battle yet. “Man bun” has yet to make it into the dictionary. We can still fix this thing. We just have to stay vigilant out there. Which means if anybody uses “man” inappropriately in your presence, you absolutely have our permission to punch them in the nuts.

Just don’t call it the “man zone.”