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'Ugly consultant' says men must save face without tints

June 19, 2007|by TIM ROWLAND

Commentary

I have discovered the line between young and old, and unfortunately I have crossed it. When you're young, you see a police cruiser and think, "Oh no." When you're old and you see a police cruiser you think, "Oh good."

I caught myself being happy at seeing a cop car this spring and was depressed for a month. The nice thing about aging, however, is that you don't have to buy into every stupid trend that comes hurling at you seemingly from outer space.

Like male makeup.

According to Forbes, "Experts say it's only natural that men would turn to makeup to look their best. Grooming, after all, has never been more acceptable. Last year, $4.8 million was spent on male grooming products in the U.S., a 7 percent increase over the year before and a whopping 42 percent increase from 2001."

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Notice the words "men" and "grooming" did not quite make it into the same sentence, but historically, that's probably about as close as they have ever come.

And I know a lot of women are sitting at home right now thinking, men find grooming acceptable? Since when?

Many females would be pleased if their man would introduce himself to a comb, much less a tin of rouge, but events seem to be snowballing out of control.

"I think men are much more receptive to the whole grooming concept from start to finish. Makeup is sort of the final frontier," beauty consultant Wendy Lewis told Forbes. "They're certainly concerned about camouflaging imperfections. The idea of a little light dusting of powder is no longer an extreme measure."

Personally, I will believe it when I personally see beauty consultant Wendy Lewis walk into a bar in Aliquippa, Pa., and say that. Anyone who tells Barstool Butch he needs a light dusting is likely to receiving a heavy dusting in return.

And even though my own mug is laden with 47 years worth of scars and pock marks, the only dusting I want to see is powdered sugar on a doughnut.

Still, male makeup products from Clinique, Clarins and Jean Paul Gaultier are on sale in upscale department stores. "KenMen, a Montreal-based cosmetics line founded in 2004 by Lee Gilbert, includes skin tints, body and face highlighter, and skin correcting sticks (otherwise known as concealer)," and Forbes also reports that such products might "amp up skin color while evening out skin tone."

Look, amp this. I have trouble remembering to brush my teeth. I don't care if my skin tone is as uneven as a brick of Neapolitan ice cream, I ain't buying no "Clarens' Self-Tanning Gel for Men."

Guys, please hear me. Unless you're a Kabuki actor ginning up for a performance of "The Mikado" or Mel Kiper on the set of NFL draft day, you have no business lathering up with product. You're a man, for crying out loud. Unless you have an imperfection on par with having your nose shot off in the Civil War, you have no reason to conceal anything.

I smell women - women such as beauty consultant Wendy Lewis - behind this whole rotten affair. Women know that the area of looks alteration is perhaps the last arena where men are still smarter than them.

That eats at them, but rather than go natural, their tactic is to drag us men down into the mudpack with them.

I, for one, am not falling for it. I am taking a stand. Men, if women have their beauty consultants, think of me as your ugly consultant.

It is right that a haircut should take five minutes, not five days. It is right that legs be unencumbered by the pinch of hosiery. It is right that the heels of shoes do not propel the wearer into another USDA climate zone.

We are smarter than women on these fronts and we should not surrender the high ground. If you want to clip a nose hair from time to time, that's one thing. But I don't care if your face looks like the dark side of the moon, you should not stoop to actually buying a product to disguise the geology.

Women have passed us in almost every other aspect of life, but at least we can take comfort in the fact that it doesn't take us 45 minutes to "put on our face."

We might still fall asleep drunk on the couch at 11 in the morning, but at least we won't be wearing a Wonderbra when we do it. You hear that Wendy?

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, on www.antpod.com.

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