Morph your cucumber and win some gin

I got an email from Ster-Kinekor recently that made me feel a little unclean. I think it was meant to make me feel bigger, because it asked: “Are you man enough for a man-size month of man-sized movies in March?”

“March,” it says, “has been declared Man-Size Month.”

By whom? Whomever. The caps and italics are wholly unnecessary. They are there to insist upon the huge (or should that be yuge?) importance of this concept: a month the size of a man. And, moreover, a month that begins with M, thus setting off this orgy of alliteration. Mmmmmm!

What might they have done had their marketing team decided to do this in February? Fabulous Fellas Feb? No, that’s not very butch. I daresay May would work, darling buds or no, but I shudder to think what June or July might throw up — Juddering Jocks?

The film distributors offer a trio of manly, male and masculine movies in March: Logan, Kong and Power Rangers. In case you don’t know, the first is about a lupine mutant, the second is about an oversized gorilla and the third is about a team of teens who, says the Wise Wikipedia, “become powerful superheroes wearing colour-coded skin-tight spandex suits”. This sounds like a German porn movie I saw once, in which … oh, never mind.

The first film about them, back in 1993, was called Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which, as you can see, lacks an apostrophe as well as a raison d’être.

Luckily, Ster-Kinekor goes on: “Do you have the staying power and the stamina to go the distance?” This is a convenient get-out clause, because I can confidently say: “No, I do not.” It’s now a mere 11 days until the end of March, and I doubt very much that I will morph into a mighty man-sized man in that time. Better to retire from the lists before I do myself an injury.

More plausible, though only just, is the publicity material for Hendrick’s gin, which offers the chance of winning a bottle of said gin, plus a bottle of tonic, if you can grow a cucumber in time for World Cucumber Day, which is apparently on June 14. Provided in the publicity pack are cucumber seeds, a little pot and a bag of fertiliser that has a whiff of the cowpat about it.

Cucumbers, according to an expert botanist quoted, “are receptive to human bonding”. So you grow your cucumber and, if it gets man-sized enough, you slap it on the social media (hashtag, hashtag) and you could win the gin. Then, the publicists suggest, you take the cucumber with which you have humanly bonded and kill it by slicing it into your G&T. This does not seem very civilised to me.

Then again, as the Mail & Guardian’s correspondent for vegetable matters informs me, people down south don’t stand much of a chance. World Cucumber Day is obviously a northern thing; we will be in the middle of winter by then and cucumber seeds should be planted in spring.


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Shaun de Waal
Shaun De Waal

Shaun de Waal has worked at the Mail & Guardian since 1989. He was literary editor from 1991 to 2006 and chief film critic for 15 years. He is now editor-at-large. Recent publications include Exposure: Queer Fiction, 25 Years of the Mail & Guardian and Not the Movie of the Week.

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