Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gentlemen, It's Only a Matter of Time

Time is not generally considered a friend by most people; at least, not where their appearance is concerned.

Since most of my fellow Baby Boomers are older than I am, I feel perfectly well qualified to point out how incredibly vain many of them are. The amount of money and trouble being expended on maintaining the appearance of youth is mind-boggling. I'd love to have a piece of that action. Hey, I could become a day trader and flip investments between companies like Revlon, Gillette, Mary Kay, Clairol, you name it! However, that's really stressful and would probably take ten years off my life. Call me crazy, but I'd rather live those ten extra years than look ten years younger than I do and bite it sooner.

Maybe it's cockeyed optimism, or maybe it's a protective defiance in the continuing onslaught of new products that take the degree of astounding excess another league's distance further, all while you're waiting twenty minutes for a prescription. Just sit in the waiting area, it's not safe out in those aisles. You'll be rendered into a quivering mass of insecurity faster than a speeding pullet (which are over in the meat section, but they aren't very fast any more).

You know, one of the worst things about all these glorious inventions is that we CALL them "product". "Your hair's a bit unruly; are you using product in it?" On a technical, grammatical basis, you can phrase it that way.... it's just that it sounds so bloody inane. I'm not totally without some concern for my appearance (in spite of what my appearance suggests); I admit, I have a few "product interests". For instance, I have "combination skin"; it's kind of oily in places, and prone to dryness in others, and manages both in a few spots. Now, I WOULD ask when they're going to come out with a "combo skin" product for men, on the argument that our skin is completely different from women's skin. I'll go along with that to the extent that I'd rather be running my hands over a woman's skin than a man's. Are there such products? Naturally, a whole shelf has evolved (Damn Darwin!); however, the lovely hand-made glycerin soaps (with manly scents, too!) that a friend of mine makes do the job extremely well, so screw that shelf full of $12.00 an ounce snob-appeal tomfoolery. However, when picking up some razor blades recently (as if THAT didn't make me angry enough; see post below), in the "men's care" section, there were THREE new variations of a product I'd never seen before: Towelettes for bald mens heads. Now, granted, I have no grasp of the needs of a bald head, but it seemed a bit weird (other than the one that's a sunscreen). Still, are we so lazy that we HAVE to have them in the form of individually-packaged pre-moistened towelettes? I ask you...

If I really need some moisturizer, I need only ask "Mrs. Eye Wit", or more likely, "Miss Eye Witette", for some of the 641 bottles of moisturizer that are crammed into the bathroom cabinet. If you visit me, do NOT open a cabinet, as it may be the last thing you'll ever do. You will, however, look and smell great.

I DO salute the great advances in sunscreen, uh.... dammit!.... products. Here is a genuine cosmetic concern of mine. I'm white. Painfully white. I'm Irish-American, and so sensitive to light that I can burn in the glow of a 60 watt light bulb. Actually, first I'll break out into an epidemic of freckles, then move quickly to a painful burn, and right on to sun poisoning. All before I even actually leave the relative safety of my 60 watt bulb and go out into actual sunlight. Thus have I generally avoided having unprotected "relations" with the sun for most of my life. One result of this is that my skin looks much younger than most men my age (so bite me, Proctor & Gamble!). However, the problem used to be that good sunscreen only came in the form of a thick, greasy white goo that you had to try to spread evenly to avoid the embarrassing "splotch burns" where you missed. Look, I'm on the "furry" side; all you get when you try to rub that stuff in is a slimy foam that the seagulls will come and peck right off of you. So, whoever invented the quick-drying spray-on gel that is so easy to use & works so well? Faboo work, and I'm happy to pay the $12.00 an ounce for it.

Mind you, I'd initially learned of it from a magazine ad. Actually getting it was another story.

After my first aggravating search for it among the aisle that is now fully devoted to men's "products" of all kinds (and how long is it before they come out with some sort of "masculine hygeine pad" or such? Would they be "brief liners" or "boxer liners"? Will they have both? Would you please not tell me?!), I went to have a word with the grocery store manager. Oh, it's not enough to have this population explosion of "product", they have to include the senseless practice of moving everything around every other day. Things used to be easy to find, but now you have to surf the constantly-being-rearranged "men's care" section to locate my desired sunscreen and, for example, the damn generic brand of aftershave I use, which suits me just fine. So, this somewhat prissy fellow who seems more than a little concerned about his outward appearance (whatever, if you have the patience, money & desire) smilingly pointed to the trendy new name-brand aftershaves. I said, no, I didn't ASK for that, I want the store-brand equivalent of this one here that costs more than twice as much and is clearly made by the exact same manufacturer. Still, he tried to convince me that "these are better and will enchance your personal grooming experience!" I stood my ground, so finally, he stuck his hand way down to the back of the bottom shelf, pulling out what I wanted which was obviously hidden to con me into buying the pricier, more fashionable scents. As he did so, a brown recluse spider bit his hand, as they like dark places where things are stashed away. He cursed me and my pedestrian taste as he went quickly over to the pharmacist for help, but not before stopping and asking me to accessorize better the next time I came into the store.

Stuff like that is so maddening, and creates so much negative energy, that it can make you old before your time. And that is precisely why they do all of these things; sure, it's on purpose! Are you getting old before your time with rage over this mass-marketed idiocy?

Great! That means you'll be buying yet more "product"!

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