As recently as two years ago, Americans lived as captives of the everyday throw blanket. Arms bound by unrelenting microfiber or chenille, victims found themselves unable to readily answer the phone or enjoy a piece a pizza. The once comforting "binkies" of our past had turned, making us prisoners on our own sofas.
Then came the great liberator: the sleeved blanket. Snuggies and Slankets freed up one's arms, as late-night commercials showed, to groom the family dog, or finish that long neglected embroidery piece. Families cheered on the high school football team, looking like a horde of raucous monks. Soon, young professionals roved the town on Snuggie bar crawls, and sleeved blankets became the go-to of Secret Santa gag gifts.
But they were still deficient in one way. They didn't help you get off. Whereas before, hands and nether regions existed on the same side of the blanket, the sleeved blanket created a chaste fleece barrier.
Enter The Spankie, "the blanket with sleeves that makes access a breeze." It's much like similar models in its category, but with a flip-up front panel that reveals a fly-like zipper. Pull it down to make a hand-sized opening and, well, you can figure it out from there.
"The Spankie came to fruition over drinks," says co-creator Jeffrey Freedman. "A bunch of guys sitting around, talking about the dissatisfaction they had with other blankets. We realized the one thing you can't do in those blankets is get to the package."
You've probably had "great ideas" in bars, too, but these guys actually made a prototype, tested by an enthusiastic friend. The Spankie was put into production and launched last month in two colors: dark blue with square front panel, and a ladies' red version with a heart-shaped panel. "When we originally came up with the concept, we thought it would only sell to guys. We were only going to have it in blue. But now we've actually sold more to women," said Freedman.
The company has been vigorously promoting the blanket, twittering to @SarahKSilverman, @ConanOBrien and others, offering to send Spankies their way, and creating several YouTube videos. The parody commercials feature spokesman "Vince" (a take on the guy who shilled the ShamWow until he beat up a prostitute), showing viewers just how accessible one's crotch can be to a variety of items.
Made of heavy-duty anti-pill fleece, The Spankie is made by hand in the good ole' U.S.A., and is, thankfully, machine washable. "While it's a humorous gift, it's also a durable, well made product," says Freedman. "Whatever purpose you may buy it for, you can be sure it will last."
Visit thespankie.com to purchase. The Spankie currently retails for $24.99 plus $7.95 for shipping.