When You Need To Shave With An Axe . . .

I get all kinds of weird email offers and see strange products on pop-up ads, but I think I’ve just seen something that tops them all.  It’s the “Viking Celtic Nordic style straight razor warrior axe.”

magic-ethnics-warrior-axe-straight-razor-4As the name suggests, the product is a straight razor in the form of a miniature axe, one that some designer apparently thinks looks like the kind of lethal but cool axe that the “Viking Celtic Nordic” guys might have used in days gone by.  And it’s not only got the faux ancient axe design — it also comes in a box shaped like a block of wood, with a little carve-out area for the axe.  You know, like the kind of wooden box the “Viking Celtic Nordic” guys used to carry their shaving supplies when they went on one of their raids.

It’s as if the simple act of shaving isn’t “manly” enough, so now we’ve got to up the ante by using a fake axe instead of a plain straight razor — or a safety razor with multiple blades, which is what I use.  Presumably after lopping off their facial hairs, the axe shavers are all charged up to go out and loot and pillage and ransack, just like the “Viking Celtic Nordic” studs used to do back when men were axe-shaving men.

It all seems kind of silly and desperate, doesn’t it?  Are there really guys out there who feel the need to buy this kind of stuff?  You can get it on Amazon for only $125.

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Women’s Hair, Men’s Hair

I get my hair cut at one of those unisex hair styling salons by the Platinum Stylist.  Kish gets her hair done there by the PS, too.  It’s a nice place with friendly staffers, conveniently located about halfway between the office and our house, and the Platinum Stylist always does a terrific job.

Because I go to a unisex salon, where about two-thirds of the clientele on any given visit are female, my appointments give me a brief exposure to the trends in women’s hair through the big posters that are always advertising women’s hair care products and styles — like this one that was hanging in the front window yesterday.  The posters always feature sultry, heavy-lidded women with vaguely haunted looks whose hair is carefully arranged to look . . . well, unarranged.  It’s as if some women want to go to the stylist and come out looking like they haven’t been there at all.  For most men, though, the goal is the exact opposite.  We want to get a clearly noticeable haircut, whatever style or amount of barbering we might choose, so that the whole process facially justifies the cost.

The words used in the women’s hair care posters inevitably are different than what would be used in male-oriented ads, too.  Sure, “effortless” would appeal to both men and women, but I’m guessing men would define it differently.  For women, an “effortless” coiff might require ten minutes of curling, claying, molding, brushing, shaping and spraying.  For men, an “effortless” style means something that can be toweled off after a shower and put into place with no more than ten seconds of diffident combing.

I’m not sure most men would be attracted by the promise that a certain product would leave their hair looking “touchable” or “tousled,” either.  I’m not particularly keen about anybody touching my hair; in fact, I don’t particularly want to touch it myself.  It’s hair, after all.  My basic hair goal is the opposite of the “tousled,” just rolled out of bed look.  Instead, I want to at least appear to have tried to do something to attack the stupid cowlick that always pops up on the crown of my head.  And whereas women’s hair ads always seem to be talking about “texture,” that seems like a lost cause to me.  When the word that best describes the “texture” of your hair would probably be “grizzled,” no “texture tonic” is going to help.

Into The Clothing Danger Zone

Yesterday I got one of the endless number of emails trying to sell me something that bombard my inbox.  This one was trying to sell me “Barbie PJs.”  The picture showed what looked to me like standard PJs that were pink with a silhouette of a Barbie head on the top.  “Hmmm,” I thought idly, “I wonder if Kish would like those, or hate them.”  And then I hit the delete button.

newthumb_3__3I wish I could effectively communicate to that company, and others that try to sell me women’s clothing, how absolutely unlikely I am to buy anything they’re offering.  I haven’t bought Kish any kind of garment — or footwear, hats, you name it — for more than three decades, because I long ago learned that I have no sense of fashion and really don’t know what she likes and what she doesn’t like on the apparel front.  In short, if an item can be donned or doffed, I’m far out of my depth.

This profound condition of clothing cluelessness became clear when I tried to buy Kish some clothes one long-ago Christmas, and each purchase — boots, a blouse, a winter cap — was a miserable failure that she looked at quizzically.  “How did you happen to buy purple boots?” she asked after opening one of the presents.  “I thought purple was your favorite color,” I stammered in response.  “No, it’s green,” she said.

Fortunately, I had retained all of the receipts for the ill-advised gifts, so she was able to return them and get some things she really liked and wanted — and we moved forward with the implicit understanding that I would never again try to buy clothes for her.  In fact, I’ve always suspected that the “returns” department at stores was created by a department store proprietor who, after totally flubbing some gift for his wife or girlfriend, realized that there was a desperate need for a special area where puzzled women could discreetly return the reckless clothing purchases of misguided males.

So don’t try to sell me “Barbie PJs,” or poofy fashion scarves, or knee-high boots.  Those kinds of purchases fall entirely into the “Kish self-purchase category.”  I’ll happily buy her objects, or even perfume if I receive sufficiently explicit instruction that can be communicated to the helpful saleswoman at the perfume department at Nordstrom’s.  Attire, however, is in the danger zone.

Every Man A Groper (Or Worse)

Every day, it’s getting more embarrassing to be a guy.

Every day, it seems, some new revelation comes out about some guy doing something that is just flat out appalling and inexcusable — if not outright criminal.

623-03695485Every day, it seems, some prominent actor, director, or other entertainment figure, or some well-known liberal or conservative politician, or some high-powered business executive, is alleged or shown to have engaged in activities that could easily be characterized as gross sexual imposition, indecent behavior, sexual assault, or outright rape.  The steady drip, drip, drip of allegations makes you wonder whether there is any widely known male public figure who hasn’t grabbed what they shouldn’t have grabbed, or exposed what they shouldn’t have exposed, or tried to grope a young girl, or engaged in some forced sexual activity with someone who was unwilling.   And it’s to the point now where you wake up each day and ask:  Who’s next?  Who else is going to be shown to have done something that is totally, disgustingly inconsistent with their pure-as-the-driven-snow public reputation?

Once, in the past, there was a sense of chivalry and manners, a pride in self-control and behaving like a gentleman, and a Victorian attitude about treating all people with politeness and decency and respect.  I’d like to think that there are still men out there in positions of power who continue to adhere to those concepts.  But the news we’ve heard over the past several weeks, from the Harvey Weinstein disclosures to whoever is the subject of today’s revelations, really makes you wonder how many of those decent people are left.

Men need to start rethinking what it means to be a man, and how we can teach boys a code of conduct that allows them to be proud, upright members of society, rather than evil predators who ruin people’s lives with their depredations.  The problem here seems to run awfully deep.

Mysteries Of The Opposite Sex

  
Last night I passed this sign on my way to dinner, and it stopped me in my tracks.  What is “eyebrow threading,” I wondered, and how does it produce the promised “unique shape”?  Perhaps, I thought, it involves something like threading a needle.

Alas, the storefront of the business provided no ready answers.  It featured a video of an eye being subjected to a complicated eyebrow-related procedure involving what looked like a rubber band.  It also appeared to be a painful operation for the disembodied eye, frankly.  I hurried on, disturbed by the Daliesque quality of the video, which looked like an outtake from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Why would anyone go through a potentially painful procedure to achieve a unique eyebrow shape?  If the eyebrow had become unacceptably unruly, why not simply trim it?  Beats me, but then I’m a guy who can’t keep straight the difference between eyeliner and mascara.  The realities of eyebrow threading will just have to remain one of the many  curious mysteries of the fairer sex.

Chinny Chin Chins

There’s a popular new trend in the cosmetic surgery world of New York City, according to the New York PostMen are going to plastic surgeons in droves to get treated with a new drug that is supposed to get rid of those dreaded double chins.

Ah, the double chin.  That unsightly, flabby slackness of the upper neck that makes you look old and unfit and weak, all at the same time.  It’s an embarrassing feature for any successful man who wants to radiate virility and good health and ruggedness.

But, what to do if you have those worrisome wobbling wattles?  There aren’t exactly neck crunches or other exercises that precisely target that one, flaccid spot.  But now there’s Kybella, a new drug that is supposed to melt that under-chin flab.  Turkey-necked men can go to an approved Kybella practitioner, get multiple injections into their double-chin neck fat in a series of 2 or 4 or 6 treatments — at a price tag of $800 to $1800 a treatment, depending upon how much of the Kybella is needed — and watch the fat cells dissolve and the saggy necks tighten.  Some people might freak out at having a needle repeatedly jabbed into their throat region, but that doesn’t seem to be discouraging too many patients.  In fact, so many people are having the procedures that NYC plastic surgeons have had to increase their office hours.

These days, it seems like there is an injection or surgery or wonder drug for just about every less than perfect physical feature.  If only cancer could be dispatched as easily as fat cells in the neck!  Of course, the cost of Kybella might be more than some vain but loose-necked men can afford.  For those members of the double-chin brigade, there is always the alternative that I selected:  grow a beard and forget about it.

The Scarf-Tying Test

There are some obvious, time-honored ways by which to distinguish American women from American men.

One group thinks The Three Stooges are hilarious; the other thinks they are appalling.

One group likes “baby showers” so much they invented “couples showers,” and the other thinks “couples showers” is the worst, most dangerous invention since lawn darts.

One group has a set of “functional boots” and another set of “fashion boots,” and the other can’t even grasp the concept.

IMG_4814And one group can tie a scarf so that it looks poofy and kicky and fashionable, and the other is incapable of doing so.

I’ve learned this lesson this cold, miserable, unending winter, when wearing a scarf is a crucial tool in the Midwesterners’ arsenal of survival gear.  My scarf is a long, scarlet and gray piece that I got from the OSU Development Office.  I’ve tried winding it around my neck, bunching it up, and other scarf-tying efforts; now I just double up the scarf, loop it around my neck, and cinch it up to the chin.  It’s warm, solidly functional and keeps the wind off my neck, but it makes no fashion statement whatsoever.

As you walk around downtown Columbus on a cold winter morning — and today the weather app on my phone says it’s 1 degree outside — you see pinch-faced men walking hunched against the wind.  They all have a dull gray look to them.  The women, on the other hand, look colorful and bright in their gay scarves and snazzy boots.

So why don’t they like The Three Stooges?