The Awesome, The Amazing: “Man Trap”


A little girl;
Some summer fun;
A marble on a racing run;
It starts out plain;
And ends transformed;
Look out, you men:
You have been WARNED!!

If you’re old enough, you were in love with Mousetrap:

Tiny Mousetrap Game

What Fun Your Mice Had Playing It–Remember?

(BTW, you can actually ORDER that teeny-tiny version above, and the makers claim it really works! How cool is THAT?!)

I was nuts about Mousetrap. When I was eleven, I decided to make my own Rube Goldberg device. The awesome, amazing “Man Trap“.

Mantrap Drawing Title Registered Trademark

Note the “Registered Trademark” Logo. Sophisticated Li’l Punk I Was

(Click drawings to enlarge, but Back Arrow to return or the post will close.)

The concept was simple. Simple and SO sexist.

An unsuspecting man would encounter a devious woman who, previously plain, had altered her appearance via the beauty products my eleven-year-old self was most familiar with. Then the man, helpless and enraptured in the face of so much beauty, would bow to the woman’s will and marry her.

Oh, my Golly, Miss “Feminine Plastique”1 Molly.

The Base

The base of the Man Trap was a TV dinner.

Swanson Chicken TV Dinner

Mmmm… Chemicals…

After all, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Who didn’t like TV dinners? I thought. (Could THIS be why I’m single now for so long 😉 )

The Marble Chute

Argh. Nothing I tried would curl into a lovely spiral without squeezing and slowing my marble. I had to go with half-tube ramps instead, made from short lengths of the top edge of our backyard pool, tacked to a backboard in a Z shape.

Home-Made Marble Ramp

Here’s Someone Else’s Homemade Marble Ramp

The ends of the tube ramps would have let my little marble leap out. I needed something springy to close them so that the marble would maintain its momentum when it hit them and changed direction.

Got it! I peeled the rubber tire off one of my brother’s toy cars. It fit perfectly into the end of a tube. So I denuded five more tyres off that and another car. Without asking, of course.

Oh: The marble began its journey being dropped into the bachelor’s life by way of a beer can (a painted turtle food container).

Mantrap Beer Can Drawing

I Remember the Flat Poster Paint Kept Peeling Away From the Glossy, Curved Surface

The Backboard

The backboard which held the marble ramps was covered by a Playboy magazine. (Sigh.)

Pink Playboy Cover 1965

Is That S-L-I-T Supposed To Make a Man Think of a Woman’s Cha-Cha? Guess That Would Make the Bunny the Baby. (And What Would That Make the Playboy, Hmmm?).

On the backboard, between the ramps, I glued large letters: P-L-A-Y-T-E-X.

Speed limit signs at each “turn” of the marble ramp–there would be three–were to reflect the ideal woman’s measurements–from a man’s point of view. (I’m so ashamed.) So I asked my Dad what these would be. His answer is pretty revealing about HIS tastes:

“40 – 23 – 35”.
(Ouch. THAT poor woman felt the need to have her lower ribs removed.)

So: The plain marble travelled through the land of PLAYTEX–famous for squeezy girdles and pointy bras–and acquired the perfect figure, according to my Dad. How ill is THAT, for an eleven-year-old to believe that nature alone could never equip a woman to attract a man? (EXACTLY what we’re teaching ’em today.)

The Marble(s)

The marble was to start out plain, but end fancy. Hmmm…

Aha! I created a sign that said “Maybelline”. The beauteous marble would wait patiently at this sign, subtly, drawing no attention to herself. The plain marble would roll along rapidly, hit the sign with a THWACK!–magically acquiring makeup–and stop cold, transferring energy to the beauteous marble. She would then take off running. A magical transformation. Genius! (Well, that’s what I thought at the time.)

Mantrap Drawing Maybelline

She’s Made Up Like a Marble of the Night, Isn’t She?

Here are the “before” and “after” marbles:

Mantrap Before Marble

Yeah–I Felt I Had To Label It “Before”

Mantrap After Marble

Tell Me She’s Not Gaw-Juss

Now, stop laughing. YOU try painting a dang marble with the paints available from your brother’s Revell car kits and his chewed up brushes. Glue on some flocking for hair. Then age these a coupla’ decades and see how YOURS look!

The Payoff: The Engagement and Marriage

Okay, so now we have a sexy woman with a beautiful face and figure, all ready to entrap her man. First, he will offer her the engagement ring. The beautiful marble, after leaving Maybelline Land, dropped down a chute aimed squarely at said ring (a teensy one my Mom got from a wedding place-setting).

Mantrap Engagement Ring Trigger

Tip of Pinkie Finger Included For Scale : )

This yanked a thread tied to a hatpin at one end and a rolling pin at the other–no stereotypical women’s implements HERE!

Mantrap Rolling Pin

Carved From a Pencil. I Sewed the Cover From a Piece of My Brother’s Undershirt.

The rolling pin propped up the trap door of a gallows.

Mantrap Gallows

It Used to Have Legs…

This now dropped. The poor schlub bachelor then dropped, too.

Mantrap Mouse Hanging

Why Blurry? Caught In Mid-Swing

You DO see he is hung by a wedding ring?

It took me forever to saw through that hard plastic troll body in order to make this mouse-man hybrid. I was proud I was able to succeed at this. My sister, the owner of that troll, was less proud.

He looks quite faithful to my original drawing:

Mantrap Mouse Drawing

He STILL Looks Like He Doesn’t Know What’s Coming!

Do you understand WHY he had to be half-man, half-mouse?

Because, in the answer to the question “Are you a man, or a mouse?”, obviously the man who allowed himself to be trapped into marriage was a mouse.

How proud am I, that I created such an amazing device, based upon such feminist principles?

Here is the Man Trap’s original explanation, showing how short this post SHOULD have been:

Mantrap Drawing Steps

See? I Wasn’t Always This Verbose!

BTW, I am still dateless, since Fang, even with my online efforts (admittedly minimal). Perhaps a trip to Maybelline and Playtex are in order, after all?

FOOTNOTE

“The Feminine Mystique” is a 1963 book by Betty Friedan which is widely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States.” (Wikipedia)

ADDENDUM

What did I do with that troll’s head, you wonder (or not)? Well, gaw, isn’t it obvious? I poured a couple of drops of gravy on it, folded a chewed piece of bubble gum around it, scrunched it up in a piece of paper upon which I’d written N-A-V-Y, and gave the wad to my sister.

“Ba-by, Ba-by,
Stick your head in gra-vy,
Wrap it up in bub-ble gum,
And send it to the Na-vy!”

Troll Head In Bubble Gum For Navy

I’m Definitely Going to Hell


 
 
Mantrap Entire Plan Shrunken

Can You Believe I Still Have This Sh#t? (Sheet)


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25 Comments

  1. Seriously: this needs to be in a gallery somewhere. You were/are a genius.

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    • If so, there is little to show for it, and less I’ve contributed to the world in the way of good–but at least I haven’t yet lost my marbles!

      (Thank you for your kind comment, Maggie. Couldn’t tell if this post was a giant snooze.)

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  2. Ha ha! You were a ridiculously creative child! And I thought I was crafty making a catalog and mailing it to my cousins to order from. They could order items like toothpick pencils and paper dolls.

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    • You WERE creative! What a brilliant idea! Way to snap up their allowances for your own candy cravings 🙂

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      • Very creative, but I do remember mousetrap and how much fun it was and I do think you ought to sell this (without the sex, maybe) as a cat toy. To a huge corporation. I think cats would love it (add catnip, organic and you’re golden), but moving things and marbles? Definite winner!

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        • Good heavens! Did I truly never answer this, or is it yet another of the prior comments and replies WordPress has mysteriously deleted?

          If it was my lapse, my deepest apologies!

          I love(d) the idea of a cat toy based on the GAME MouseTrap! I also think one based on a man-or-mouse gallows would be pretty cute, if clearly tongue in cheek 😉

          Now to find the energy to DO something about it…

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  3. What an amazing fifteen minutes I’ve just spent browsing your blog. I’m so glad I’ve discovered it. Where else could I find an illustrated explanation of how to build a man trap? Such fun.

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    • Dear Auntie, (I’d call you Janet, but all my aunts are dead, so I’ll take one where I can find one 😉

      Thank you so much!

      I see from your About page that you have no need of this device. You have already bagged your prey and isolated him in mountain country–good strategy!

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      Reply
  4. Paul

     /  2014/07/20

    Yikes, you are imaginative. Whew. I noticed that many of your materials came from your brother’s possessions. Ha! The logic and the materials and the detailed work were all astounding. Fascinating, especially with the pictures.

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    Reply
    • Thank you very much, Paul!

      I remember how happy I was that I was able to make it after I drew it, even though there was some disappointment that it couldn’t be exactly the same.

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      Reply
  5. I like the chute. =)

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    • You mean, those wild measurement speed limit signs? I’ve rechecked my original drawing, and they were actually WORSE, so I’m correcting the post, as you’ll see. My father is one sexist puppy whose ideal woman would have had barely enough room for both kidneys.

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  6. Hey girl! On vacation right now but just hired on at a place called Stateside BPO as a quality analyst. They are with another company called JLodge. 90% of their work force are disabled. Had FOUR interviews to get hired and they have their ducks organized and in a row big time, unlike NTI! ! VERY low turnover. I wrote human resources at nti and told them I felt like a number. The lady I dealt with was an absolute trainwreck, & I told her I would be sending my ticket to work elsewhere. Now they are finding interview time for me! I said screw you guys! Anyway, I found the best way to go about getting employed is through your state vocational rehab department. I am actually getting ew glasses, computer equipment, a modified desk, an ergonomic chair and any other items needed to make me successful as an employee. Paid for.

    I want to read your blogs, but has been so crazy filling out paperwork I have not had a chance to say much let alone read. Know you’ve got me on the other end and I will be in touch as soon as possible.

    Hope all is well!!

    Leisa

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    Reply
    • Wow–I am SO happy for you! How relieved must you be after all the struggles! Okay–I am working, but you’ve convinced me to finally get off my backside and follow your advice : ) Esp. since, you know…$… 🙂

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  7. Babe!!

    Hey, I’m training still in this new job and have a couple days left to go. What was the meeting connection we used in our training at NTI, and what was the logon site to go over acct info?

    Hope all is well, and hope to catch up with ya soon. Let me know how you’ve been doin girl!!

    On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 9:07 AM, Leisa Francis wrote:

    Hey girl! > On vacation right now but just hired on at a place called Stateside BPO as > a quality analyst. They are with another company called JLodge. 90% of > their work force are disabled. Had FOUR interviews to get hired and they > have their ducks organized and in a row big time, unlike NTI! ! VERY low > turnover. I wrote human resources at nti and told them I felt like a > number. The lady I dealt with was an absolute trainwreck, & I told her I > would be sending my ticket to work elsewhere. Now they are finding > interview time for me! I said screw you guys! Anyway, I found the best way > to go about getting employed is through your state vocational rehab > department. I am actually getting ew glasses, computer equipment, a > modified desk, an ergonomic chair and any other items needed to make me > successful as an employee. Paid for. > > I want to read your blogs, but has been so crazy filling out paperwork I > have not had a chance to say much let alone read. Know you’ve got me on the > other end and I will be in touch as soon as possible. > > Hope all is well!! > > Leisa

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  8. O Babe! I’ve never been to a psychiatrist ,or a psychologist or back from them. Reading just a few of your interesting works such as this…makes me intensely nervous, and already riding well into the wave’s ride! Beautiful!

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    • Thank you, sir. Bear in mind, these are products of considered thought. Off-the-cuff me may be quite the dullard!

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  9. You had a brilliantly disturbed childhood.

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  10. Rae

     /  2015/02/01

    Found your mouse gallows. Even more amazing than I imagined!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Hi, Rae!

      Thank you for comin’ on over, and the compliment : )
      If only mice were teenier, or the trap larger! Then there’s the issue of finding a sexy enough female mouse marble. Hmmm…gonna hafta think on this.

      No matter what, this will never be any match for your own final mouse solution 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  11. That was very creative, and you seem very crafty and skilled!

    Am I understanding this correctly that you, as an 11-year-old, created a process as a playful metaphor which used men’s desires to ensnare them into falling in love with you and then, after proposing, hung them to death?

    You were so funny, silly, whimsical, innocent, and creative even at 11! Any man lucky enough to safely navigate your trap would be lucky to be with you, OB! 🙂

    Have a great day, you goofball!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Why, thank you, Mr. Cricket! Yes, my mind, and hands and fingers, were more agile then.

      Now I feel a mite guilty, for I just finished Tsk’ing you out on another post. Eh. If you can’t take the Maelstrom, don’t stray too close to the male brain drain of the dreaded “Last Half”: My new, disguised Man Trap! Bwah-ah-ah!!
      😈

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      • Hehe, well you’re welcome to “Tsk me out” as much as you want. I hope you’re alright with my occasional pokes and prods too (if you’re not, you can simply not approve my comments lol).

        If I were being unreasonable and foul, I wouldn’t care what you have to say and I wouldn’t choose my words carefully. But I do care about what you think and have to say and I hope that you don’t hold my being male against me. (as though that alone is something that deserves apology for, right?)

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        • Actually, the only thing I hold against you is that you didn’t stop that classic straight line at the “me.” so that I could make a Mae West-ish retort.
          😦

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