I am at a dilemma.
I need to structure my life better. I’m coming to a point in life where I have many priorities and I need to take them on in a way that’s efficient but also allots me some time to live life on my own terms. I’m not organized enough, and I think that planning my time in advance, keeping organized with any events or appointments which may come up, and focusing on giving every day a certain purpose could be a very valuable thing for me going forward.
However, I also don’t want people to think I’m gay or anything.
This is where Blue Sky’s 2020 Man Planner comes in to save the day. As the ad copy on the website where you can buy the planner states: “Finally, a planner designed with men in mind.” Right under a picture of a hamburger.
Thank you, Blue Sky, for cueing Frank Sinatra there in the middle of your ad copy. The Man Planner is an incredible feat of ingenuity likely stemming from sales data indicating that Blue Sky sells more planners to women than to men. Their attempt to masculinize the idea of Planner involves, from what I can tell, references to masculine things such as alcohol and football among the pages of the planner.
The Man Planner is cased in plain, black faux-leather (designs and colors are for girls) and according to the ad copy, features reference pages on “becoming a grill master, whiskey expert, epic advice, life hacks, and so much more!” It also costs twenty five dollars more than the standard planner.
It’s also much smaller than the standard planner. This is a rare subversion of the infamous “Pink Tax”, this one aimed at men instead of women. We’ll call this the “Gunmetal Grey Tax”.
I sympathize with Blue Sky here. They see an untapped market and they’re trying to wring as much capital as they can out of it. But I think this is a problem greater than something a simple Man Planner can fix. They’re butting heads up against doctrines of masculinity, ideas like “Not having your life in order” that even the greatest Man Planner of all time couldn’t fix. This is more of a “cracks in the foundation” issue than an interior design issue.
The saddest thing about the Man Planner, aside from the price tag, is the fact that the ad copy isn’t directed at men. The last sentence of that excerpt from up above jumps from third to second person –
“He will love the clean layouts, with dedicated sections for to-do lists and reminders – and you will love that he never forgets another birthday or anniversary again!”
This is aimed at spouses of men who, sick of the fact that they dedicated themselves to a 90’s sitcom character with no control over his life, want to see a change. They frame it as a potential Christmas gift.
Regardless of the amount of epic beer facts within, putting a planner under the tree for your husband is a aggressively passive-aggressive act that would make up the B-plot of a Seinfeld episode and I cannot recommend it if only for those reasons. However if anybody from Blue Sky reads this and wants to send me one for free my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I have no integrity and I promise I’ll at least give it a good Amazon review.