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Friday, August 29, 2008

Term Limits

Thank goodness summer vacation is over. Maybe it means that I won't have to endlessly hear two of the most obnoxious marketing terms the travel industry has ever come up with. The two terms that have me vocabularily vexed are "stay-cation" and "girlfriend getaways." IMHO, stay-cation is simply an oxymoron of the most annoying sort, while girlfriend getaways just sounds so darn condescending.

Hear me out. Let's start with girlfriend getaways. Admittedly, sometimes girlfriends do travel together. In fact, they do so in far greater numbers than male friends. There is, by the way, a term for the latter as well. It is man-cations. Somehow, that term hasn't caught on like its female equivalent, perhaps because it sounds too much like man-scaping, and well, much as metrosexuals may partake in said ritual, it's unlikely they enjoy it. Equating vacationing with getting a chest wax--well, I can understand why my male friends haven't bought into the man-cation concept.

But I digress. I can't exactly put my well-manicured finger on it, but girlfriend getaways just irks me. Perhaps it's because, even though some women do refer to their gal pals as "girlfriends," for the travel industry to refer to female friends as such sounds demeaning. After all, we are not girls. We are women, hear us roar. (Even the recently-evolved Chris Matthews would agree. When Pat Buchanan was rambling on about what a great "gal" and "girl" Sarah Palin was, the verbose Hardball host interrupted to remind Pat that the term for a 44-year-old female was "woman"). But I digress. The point is, women have money to spend, grown-up thoughts in our mind (even as we seek fun vacation destinations), and, by golly, we deserve to be treated with respect. The industry doesn't call vacations for men "boyfriend getaways" (can you imagine?) or "boy-cations." Why are women getting the diminutive treatment?

Stay-cation, on the other hand, is simply, as previously noted, an oxymoron. One goes on vacation to get away from the stresses of everyday life. Yes, one can hang out at home and have fun. But staying at home is not a vacation. Vacation = to vacate, no? Indeed, a vacation is the chance to leave behind the hum-drum of daily existence. If you are surrounded by your stuff, if your regular grocery store and dry cleaner and bank are all within striking distance, if your home office is footsteps away, how can you truly get into the vacation mindset? After all, if you are at home, there's always an errand to be run, a desk to be dusted, a meal to cook, an e-mail to send.

So, girlfriends and all others, no stay-cations for you this year. And if your fall vacation plans do include going away with your buddies, please boycott the term "girlfriend getaways." It's just not womanly.

*The original version of this post can be found at www.wyndhamworldwide.com/women_on_their_way.

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