Entertainment » Graham Gordy




My father had two bars of soap. In the shower (no bath existed in his bathroom; why would it need to?) he always had a bar of Irish Spring. Next to the kitchen sink, he had a bar of Lava, the sandpaper-like bar soap whose advertising campaigns have been based on getting glue, tar and engine grease off your hands for over 50 years. Other than a splash of Old Spice on special occasions, this was pretty much the extent of his grooming supplies. Even the way he shaved — aggressively quick, every morning including Saturdays, and with the oldest razor I've ever seen — seemed rugged.

The world (or manhood itself) has changed a lot since the pre-manscaping days of yore. Sure, there have always been dandies, but you can't imagine Don Draper doing much more each morning than running a comb full of Brylcreem through his hair and changing into a new starched shirt to get the smell of whore off of him.

I have bathroom drawers, containers, and shower caddies full of products I use or don't. I don't want to have them, but I do. I've had 35 years on the planet and, for at least five of those, I would consider myself a man. Therefore, I've decided to assess and give my utterly uninformed opinions on what a real (modern) male needs or doesn't when it comes to the world of grooming.

Shaving (face): A razor. Shaving cream. Maybe some kind of relief for razor burn, but changing your razors more often and cold water should be enough.

Arm, leg, chest and back hair: We're living in a world where sleekness is now prized. But unless you're involved in a competitive sport where you need to lessen your "drag," don't shave your arm or leg hair. And even if you are ... don't shave your arm or leg hair. For chest, unless it gives you that junior high coaches look of a solid half-inch clearance between chest and a cotton t-shirt, leave it alone. As for back, it's become taboo enough. If you're embarrassed taking off your shirt at the beach or pool, it's probably worth doing.

Nether regions: There are two schools of thought here. First school: a man's junk should probably look as much like a man's junk as possible. Conversely: Trim the bush. It makes the tree look bigger.

Shampoo and conditioner: Yes. Both. But the shampoo less often as it strips your hair of beneficial oils.

Eyebrows: Unless you're a former Soviet leader, or a female Mexican painter best known for her self-portraits, you can't get away with it. Trim.

Dyeing your hair: If you paid a whole lot of money to get it done by a professional, we probably can't tell. If it was advertised to you by Keith Hernandez, we can.

Teeth: You want teeth. Chicks dig them.

Teeth-whitening: It seems that for every cent of value the U.S. dollar has lost over the last 20 years, Americans' teeth have gotten a shade whiter. We're clearly hiding something. Then again, we've never consumed so much coffee. Worth considering.

Toenails/fingernails: Clip them. Clean them.

Manicures/pedicures: If done on a good-humored Saturday afternoon with your mate, yes. If you already have a standing appointment, call now, cancel, collect your genitals at the door. (Note: And don't ever use the phrase "mani and pedi" unless you're doing a very good Paul Lynde impersonation.)

Facials/facial masks: See above.

Botox: Three things: 1. You're injecting botulinum toxin into your face. 2. YOU'RE INJECTING BOTULINUM TOXIN INTO YOUR FACE! 3. If these first two aren't enough, see Bruce Jenner.

Moisturize/exfoliate: Moisturize, exfoliate — it's a vicious circle. Moisturizer? Yes, daily. And one with sunscreen. Exfoliating scrub? Yes. Maybe the grittiness will make you feel more manly about doing it, like you're hurting something.

Sunscreen: Yes. You're a grown man now. Sunburn isn't sexy on that girl dancing in circles at Coachella and it's not sexy on you.

Male make-up: Yes, this is a thing. Unless someone else is applying it for you for a specific task — stump speech, drag show, you're playing The Phantom — no, you shouldn't do it.

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