We've talked about gender blurring in the past - women gaining more power than ever in society (traditionally a man's domain) and men acting like women in a lot of ways (we call it "Venus Envy"). But lately, we've come across something that seems to buck this trend.
A women-only section on airplanes. A hotel that bans men. Is there a new feminine movement to distinguish the ladies from the gents?
Marketers spend a great deal of time and energy trying to understand the emotions felt by their consumers. Well soon, computers will be able to do the same. Not only will they detect human emotions, they'll also be programmed to react to them.
There's so much talk about consumers spending increasingly less time cooking. But there's one target group that's actually flocking to the kitchen - Kids.
Credit the cooking channels, of which you will find plenty of pint-sized devotees; or perhaps Generation Swapping - a trend in which adults act like kids and children act like sophisticates.
The latest ploy to garner people's attention is to sicken them to the point of making them want to throw up.
Afterall, vomit (along with the science behind it) is just one of the many things on display at the Grossology exhibit at New Jersey's Liberty Science Center.
You'll also find homages to flatulence, boogers and body odor. There's a climbable "skin" wall covered in wounds, warts and blisters; and a 9-foot-tall nose that drips mucus.
Remember when pita sandwiches were new and different? Then came the wrap. Now some people (i.e. protein dieters) are replacing the tortilla with lettuce to enjoy carb-free lettuce wraps. But, what's really the next new sandwich?
We think it's sushi.
The new trend in cooking these days seems to be NOT cooking.
Eating foods raw is the new "in" diet, as well as the latest food philosophy being spouted by so-called health gurus. It started in California - where extreme vegetarians started claiming that "fire is the enemy." They say that any food that's been touched by heat has been stripped of its nutrients.
If you can't figure out the title question - "You talking to teens?" - written in teenage shorthand, then you are probably having difficulty communicating with teens in other ways.
British Mom Gabrielle Mandel felt that same frustration when she noticed the seemingly incomprehensible text messages her daughter was sending back and forth to friends via their mobile phones and pagers.
Children appreciate a good story. Even teen-aged children. Not long ago, we spoke to a Nickelodeon producer who told us the way to reach kids is to tug at their heartstrings - give them a human story to care about and you'll snare their interest (and thus, their spending dollars).
Think Alloy.com - the teen-chat Web site that also produces a lifestyle magazine/catalog to entertain teens and sell product at the same time.
Last time we told you about car sharing (strangers banding together to "buy" a car). Now there's kid sharing. Well, sort of.
Increasingly, harried parents are joining forces to form babysitting cooperatives, in which member parents share babysitting duties. Points are collected for every hour you watch someone else's kids, and points are lost for the time your kids are watched by others.
Venus Envy - (VE-nuhs, EN-vee), noun
Social phenomenon whereby more men than ever are getting in touch with their feminine sides (e.g. male cosmetic surgery, guys who primp, male eating disorders).
It's hitting them younger and younger.