Monday, July 25, 2005

New motto for guys: Exfoliate this!

By Lee Ostaszewski

Maybe you are a guy, and maybe every once in a while you catch yourself looking in the mirror and thinking: "Gosh, my skin sure is dry and could use a good moisturizer and perhaps even an exfoliant to help reverse the effects of aging." If so, I have one important piece of advice to offer: Stop it. Stop thinking these thoughts right now. Pull yourself together and remember one thing: you are still a guy, so act like one.

Throughout history, guys have had a major advantage over women, other than the obvious major advantage of not having to go around creating new life by giving birth and becoming so full of hormones for nine months that they can't pass within 100 feet of a baby store without blubbering. Guys only get that emotional over important matters, such as receiving playoff tickets, or while in the presence of a classic sports car.

But the major advantage I was thinking of is that, traditionally, guys don't worry much about their appearance when in public, other than to check that their fly is zipped up.

That's about the extent of a guy's "primping." Any time you see a guy dressed up it is almost always due to a socially mandated circumstance beyond his control, such as a job interview, or getting married. If you want to see how guys really want to dress, and would dress all the time even at their own wedding, then drive along the streets of any neighborhood on a Saturday morning when guys are out in the yard performing massive amounts of fertilizer-company recommended lawn care.

You'll find men wearing worn sneakers, gym shorts in a wide variety of odd colors, and old, yet sentimentally significant T-shirts that predate the wearer's mid-life emergence as an extra-large.

Since I work a lot from home, I have the pleasure of dressing as if it is Saturday morning most days of the week. But many of my brethren (i.e., brothers) are not so lucky.

From what I am told, this problem is compounded further by the so-called "casual Fridays." That's a day when, instead of wearing whatever shirt, suit and tie (all s of blue) that a guy can easily find in his closet while still in a half-comatose state of sleep, corporate America now forces guys into being awake enough every Friday morning to consciously attempt to figure out what casual business attire even means.

This is putting too much pressure on personal appearance for most of us. Going back to the wedding example for a moment, the average bride-to-be spends 1,454 hours actively picking out her wedding dress. A dress that will cost more than the groom spent on his first car. A dress that will be worn once, then carefully packed away in a hermetically sealed, lead-lined box and placed in the newlyweds' attic, where years from now it will still be in the way every time the groom climbs up into the attic to get the Christmas decorations down.

In contrast, the groom rents his wedding tuxedo; a tuxedo that hundreds of other grooms also got married in.

You could imagine a situation in which two women, married in a similar geographical location, and within a year or so of each other, might be looking at each other's wedding album and unbeknownst to them their respective spouses wore the exact same tuxedo. Not merely the same style, mind you, but the actual same one!

So I find disturbing a recent trend showing that some men -- mainly men belonging to the "younger generation" -- are taking an inordinate amount of interest in their appearance, resulting in an increase in sales of skin care and beauty-aid products for men. Hey, do you think tough guy Charles Bronson ever exfoliated? His face looked as smooth and supple as a peach pit. You could have used his cheeks to sand down wood.

And if peach pit skin was good enough for someone who starred in movies with titles such as Death Wish and Death Wish II, then, guys, who are we to argue with that?

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