Although consumer researchers have explored the social, cultural and consumption-related tensions involved in being and becoming masculine, prior research has tended to focus on individual men’s experiences. This paper reviews literature in this area together with theories of gender as performed, performative and social practice. Our ethnographic study of male friendship groups in central Scotland explores the gender processes involved in improvising their masculine consumer identities within and across various social settings and interactions. In particular, through consumption-related banter, they played for and played with their ideas of masculinity, thereby engaging in the practising of gender. The boundaries between ‘safe’ and ‘danger’ zones of consumption varied across social groups and contexts, highlighting the complexity and contingency of contemporary masculinities.