In the age of increasing equality of the sexes, wedding traditions are also experiencing a healthy dose of affirmative action. These days, bride and groom often split the costs of the wedding equally, the bachelor party is a joint affair, and groom takes on increasing responsibility in the wedding planning. So it's only fair grooms get some of the added benefits as well!

One positive trend lightening the groom's increased load of heightened invitation licking, flower sniffing, and choosing groomsmen gifts, is the fad of groom showers. Since grooms have a lot more responsibility these days than just skating down the aisle with a tux and smile, it is only just that they get their fair share of celebration, and groom's showers are designed to do just that. But since this is a relatively new trend, here is a brief guide to giving a groom's shower (hint: it's exactly like planning a bridal shower, but with guy stuff).

To begin planning a groom shower, you may want to choose a theme. Bridesmaids bored with the traditional cookie-cutter bridal showers have been livening things up by picking a bridal shower theme-such as the honeymoon destination or bride's favorite pastimes-to freshen the fun. Groom's showers should do the same. Here are a few fun groom shower themes to consider:

A Sports Theme: Okay, it's a no-brainer, but just as most bridal showers feature a lot of lingerie, a groom's shower will generally have a healthy share of sports. Like bra shopping for women, sports are a time-honored male bonding tradition. If the groom you're planning the shower for is a total sports nut, don't be afraid to go all out with a sports-themed groom's shower.

One good way to honor a sports-themed groom's shower through the gifts. Perhaps when shopping for your groomsmen gifts, he saw a few things he might like for himself. Find out if any particular groom's gift caught his eye, then ask groomsmen, family, colleagues, or whomever you've invited to bring a sports-related gift to enhance the theme of the groom's shower. Hint: For practical purposes, it sometime helps to narrow the theme to the groom's all-time favorite sport.

On this note, if the groom is a baseball fan, how about purchasing him an engraved hall of fame baseball bat or personalized baseball and holder? If he's a golf-lover, leather can caddies or a personalized putter make the perfect gift. Sports-related groom shower gifts are special because the groom will think of the giver every time he uses them.

Another good way to incorporate the groom's shower theme is through the food. If you're having a SuperBowl-themed Shower, recreate the joy of this Blessed Event with bowls of potato chips, cold beer and nachos. If you're feeling ambitious, a backyard grill or roll-your-own tacos go great with a side of every man's favorite sport.

Finally, just as with a bridal shower, the games and activities of the groom's shower should also reflect the theme. For a sports theme, put NFL Instant Replays or ESPN on the TV. Set up an indoor golf green, or hit the backyard for an informal game of tackle football. Whatever activities you choose, a sports-themed groom shower is bound to be a fun memory for everyone involved.

An Executive Theme: If you're groom has a high-pressure job that consumes a lot of his time, an Executive-Themed Groom's Shower to show your support for your hardworking pal is a nice idea.

For gifts, buy him a leather mouse pad, a desk clock, or a classic Bentley pen. Chances are it's lonely at the top, so buying your buddy gifts for his office will remind him every day at work that he does have a network of supportive friends in his personal life. Just as with groomsmen gifts, the idea is to remind the groom what a great buddy he's been over the years.

For the food, serve liquor-laced Perrier and Cappuccinos, and serve yuppie foods like cold cuts and crackers, mini sandwiches, and chicken salad. A dessert tray or champagne also makes a festive touch for an executive-themed groom's shower.

For activities, get creative. Sit the groomsmen around the table boardroom style while the best man acts as CEO, pacing the room and firing questions about the grooms weirdest habits, most embarrassing moments, and bizarre trivia at unsuspecting victims.

Make a PowerPoint of pictures, quotes, and moments honoring the bride and the groom. This may seem cheesy, but showers are meant to honor the wedded couple, and the groom is sure to bloom from this affirmation just as much as a bride does. And, just in case things get too Lifetime Television for Women, throw in a few pictures of your pal from childhood, teenage years, or other awkward times, just to make sure the groom doesn't get off too easy.

A Poker Night Theme:Take this timeless tradition to the next level by planning an ultra-classy Poker-themed groom's shower. Far from the playing cards around the gas lantern in the garage, a groom's shower is a chance to take poker night to Vegas-style proportions.

For gifts, since cigars and poker go together like beer and potato chips, why not instruct the groomsmen to bring cigar- themed groom shower presents? A cherry wood humidor, a cigar/flask combo, or a Zippo lighter are all thoughtful gifts that take poker night to a new, elegant level appropriate for a groom's shower.

For food, finger foods again take the cake.(What can we say? Men are simple creatures.) Chicken fingers, BBQ wings, and coconut shrimp help stimulate the strategy session going on behind each poker face. And, much like in Vegas, make sure to keep the booze free flowing all night long.

For activities, here is another opportunity to up the ante by buying the groom a professional poker set. That's right, with real chips and high-quality cards, this groom's shower will feel like the real deal, and there is no better way to set the tone than with a deluxe poker kit. For ambience, put Celebrity Poker on in the background, and later in the night, bring in some showgirls that put Vegas to shame. Your groom will love this thoughtful and entertaining party.

These are just a few ideas of how to chart the course where few men have gone before, but will begin rushing just as soon as they hear the tale of your own adventures. We call the groom's shower one small step for mankind, and one hell of a good time for guys everywhere.