The Pains of Male Grooming

BY FIACHRA O'MAOLCRAOIBHE

Rasur des Tages – Dharion – Flickr

Male grooming is for the most part an enigmatic term. While it presumes that males may in fact groom themselves, it is also true that there are varying degrees of grooming.

At its basic level showering, brushing teeth, spraying deodorant, shaving and having your hair cut all qualify as methods of grooming. What’s wrong with that? A man who achieves in performing each and every one of these tasks on a daily basis is doing well in most men’s opinion. They are essentially members of the human race with a keen sense of personal hygiene and a relative sense of pride in their appearance.

The problem I have with the term ‘male grooming’ however, is when these menial and simple tasks become primary to a whole host of methods and techniques that some men use to appear more appealing or glamorous. This gives rise to a market and, as such, there is an opportunity for massive cosmetic and grooming companies to make money out of our petty insecurities.

Our consumer driven and commercialised society plays on our lack of sensibility and drives us to the point where the market for male grooming is now as competitive as it is for women. Waves of mass marketing brands tell us that we must have the latest in shaving technology; that our skin will go dry and fall off unless we rub the best moisturising cream into the pores of ageing faces; that our hair is greying and we should fight back; that in actual fact we’re not all perfect and that it simply isn’t acceptable…yeah right! We have all fallen into the trap of believing the bullshit and we keep on falling for it because brands use our favourite sporting icons to deliver the message through gender specific advertising. For example, who wouldn’t want to buy a bottle of Head and Shoulders after seeing Jenson Button running his fingers through his silky locks? Not me anyway.

The simple fact is that there is a market for male grooming and as such there is money to be made out of selling useless products to people that they don’t really need. That is my problem with male grooming. If you can’t afford it then why should you have it? Just look after yourself better, eat better, drink less, exercise more, quit smoking and get on with your lives. Just accept that we’re not all going to look like David Beckham at some point in our lives (unless you had that horrendous 90s fringe when you were a child). Leave your inhibitions at home and get on with it. Being comfortable with yourself is essentially a question of mind over matter and if you can come to terms with that, well then you’re doing pretty well as far as I’m concerned.

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