Bridal showers are one of the biggest perks of getting married. But while brides often walk away chockful of presents for the kitchen and bedroom, grooms can feel a bit left out.
The creators of a newly launched Web site want to change all that. TheManRegistry.com touts itself as the first wedding gift registry that caters to men. Typical gifts on the site, such as toolkits and the George Foreman grill scream -- or perhaps more appropriately, grunt -- machismo.
Two brothers, Jimmy and Bobby Horner, along with their future brother-in-law, Chris Easter, came up with their idea for the site when they started to notice that many friends and family members who were getting married received gifts geared more toward brides, such as mixing bowls and linens.
"It just wasn't stuff that guys could really get into," Easter said. "We figured there should be a registry for things we would buy our buddies when they get married, like electronics."
Grooms-to-be can not only register on the site and pick out the type of gifts they'd want but also pick up handy tips on how to pick out a tuxedo and numerous pointers on how to saddle up for the big day.
Before visiting the site, 24-year-old Chris Brown, who recently got engaged, admitted to feeling like an "idiot" about weddings. But after registering and surfing the "Groom 101" section, which includes advice columns such as "The Bachelor Party: To Strip or Not to Strip" and "When Bridezilla Attacks," he felt much more confident about how to handle the series of life-changing events that awaited him.
The self-professed "tech geek" was also stoked to learn that tying the knot could also mean scoring an X Box or iPod speakers.
"I figured it would be more things for her, like a lot of home appliances. I was kind of in the dark and felt sort of stupid about a lot of this stuff," Brown said. "But after going on the site and seeing what gifts I could potentially have, it's really opened my eyes."
Beth Montemurro, author of "Something Old, Something Bold: Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties," believes that the way weddings have been historically "feminized" creates a stigma that has made it difficult for men to partake in wedding activities.
"Many men feel that a lot of wedding sites aren't for them and are geared toward women," said Montemurro. "So it is good to have a place where men feel comfortable and that caters to their questions."
Sociologist Robert Beasley, president of the American Men's Studies Association, argues that men's general reluctance to take part in festivities like bridal showers has a lot to do with what marriage has traditionally meant for them as opposed to what it has meant for women.
"Popular wedding rituals for men, like bachelor parties, differ in that they speak to the loss of freedom that they feel comes with married life," Beasley said. "But something like a men's registry seems to be part of a growing awareness that there is legitimacy in honoring the transitions that men go through in their lives."
Although the site encourages men to be more involved in weddings, Montemurro doesn't see it changing anything in terms of gender roles equality.
"It's not like men on the site are registering for dishes or linens," she said. She pointed out that popular items on the site were stereotypically masculine items like a camping gear, flat screen TVs and power tools.
"It still reinforces the idea that men and women have different roles and responsibilities in marriage," she said.
Brown, who worried that his fiancee may take issue with them signing up on the site, was surprised to see that she shared his enthusiasm when he told her about it.
"She thought it was a great idea," he said. "It was stuff she felt can be essential to us just starting out that we wouldn't have gotten otherwise."