Kids CDs still arrive at my door, a couple each week. It’s a decidedly slower pace than in my kindie writing heyday but still a significant number when you consider I haven’t properly reviewed an album in years. Right now, there’s a new one sitting atop of a stack of press materials I brought back with me from the ‘mancation’ FAM (industry lingo for familiarization trip) I stumbled out of my house for in the middle of the night on Wednesday November 9th, shortly after our next president was declared. The album is We Stood Up, a new anthology for children and families, featuring interviews with civil rights leaders, songs, stories and poetry (it’s available for FREE to teachers, libraries, community groups, etc). The themes of that CD, those papers from the Hilton Sandestin; intrinsically linked.
Let’s address the elephant in the room before we go any further: yes, it is a terribly uncomfortable word, ‘mancation’, but it works in the vacation genealogy the same way ‘staycation’ does, same goes for my pal Michael’s Dadcation. Ladies have the alliterative ‘girlfriend getaway’, we have our mancations. There it is. Moving on.
My political leanings lead me to believe that men, white men specifically, men with whom I will undoubtedly bear a physical resemblance had, hours earlier, plunged our country into an abyss, and there we were, a bunch of men, on the beach in sunny Florida hamming it up with roasted wild boar, creole shrimp and grits, hot stone massages, stand-up paddleboards, 25 pound amberjacks, and more pours of bourbon than most humans will see in a lifetime.
Before our first sunset, my phone buzzed and I was being taken to task for being active on social media with the #mancation hashtag during a time of great civil unrest and political uncertainty in our country but, in actuality, the mancation press trip to the Hilton Sandestin Resort and Spa couldn’t have come at a better worst time.
The Mancation: A Progressive Vacation Idea
Many men, still to this futuristic, nearly-2017 day, have difficulty spending time together in groups without games flickering on a bank of flat screen TVs or something else utterly primal occurring. Sure this is stereotypical but having been a part of dads groups in which dads simply do.not.come.out for events with other guys (unlike our mom counterparts), this seems an honest if not overly simplified assessment.
This Hilton Sandestin mancation, then, presented a progressive idea; the idea that dudes can get massages, kick it together in a spa’s hot tub, get really real about life, politics, media & culture under the stars on the beach around a fire pit, make fun of and encourage each other while paddleboarding in open waters, wave our foodie flags proudly, high five after every fish we (and our female host) battled and reeled into the boat, and toast each others company at dinnertime. All with a complete absence of ‘locker room talk’.
We were not setting our country back, we were not being insensitive while on our mancation press trip at the Hilton Sandestin; we were standing up and moving forward.
Society may or may not have been falling apart back home but we were holding it down; black guys, white guys, young cats, older dudes, different religions and life experiences and opinions and interests.
We were doing our thing, together. This mancation wasn’t to be derided at all because right there was a slice of the very best of what America is, the great American experiment playing out on the gorgeous Emerald Coast of Florida.
*Big thanks to the magnificent Hilton Sandestin for putting this mancation trip together and for including OWTK on it. Full disclosure: I received travel and accommodations, but as always, all opinions expressed above are honest and unbiased.