Posts from the ‘Style’ Category

Day 5/100 Happy Days – Baby Faces

 

shaving 2

Day 5/100 Happy Days

Twice a year, you can always recognize the serving Army guys. They are the ones sporting the hockey playoff beards, the mutton chops, the goatees and other facial hair during the summer and most definitely over the Christmas break.  I am not sure if it is some sort of low-level mutiny, a full-scale rebellion, or just a desire to take a break from the daily ritual of dragging a piece of steel across their faces.

Facial hair – you either love it or hate it.

And if 1 December is an indication, I am guessing the majority are not fans. I have never seen such looks of relief on so many partner’s faces as when the Movemberites shaves of the 30 days of growth.

Since I was a young lad,  I have been gifted with the werewolf look (except on top of my head). I had to start shaving at a young age, secretly at first.  My father warned me that my silky, but ugly, adolescent boy-beard would gradually morph into unsightly, coarse stubble. This transition was the gateway to manhood.

I remember watching my Dad using his Noxzema shaving cream, a cracked plastic measuring cup, and a double edged safety razor to complete this daily ritual, seven days a week. It was so manly.

I know this does not make sense to many of you. Maybe you do not have a beard; maybe you have a beard but you can shave with Kleenex. Maybe you put milk on your face and let the cat lick off your beard. If that is your fortune, you probably don’t get it.

But to many of us, shaving has just become one of those grooming things we have to do – like putting on deodorant or flossing our teeth. What a shame!

It is a unique rite of manhood!

As a 20th century man, I moved through a multitude of razors to achieve a closer and closer shave: first the disposable safety razors by Bic et al; then through the chain of cartridge razors – first the Mach series, and then Fusion series, and now I am wooed by the Pro-Glide FlexBall!.Oh, the money I have spent!

I have even tried the electric razor – but that experiment did not last long.

And I won’t even delve into the different types of creams – gels or foams, menthol or tropical breeze, tube or can  – or the pre-shave exfoliants, the post- shave balms, other razor burn soothers and the sometimes required step It is boggling.

Alongside the razors, the cream, and the various other products, I have adopted many different strategies to maintain the Army grooming standard. I am trying hard to forget the dry shave that many a man has tried while rouging it in the deep of winter – when warming up cold water and stripping off the shirt is just too manly to attempt.

I have tried hot shaving cream, hot towels, evening shaves, and shaving in the shower. For pure ease and convenience, plus the added benefit of spending time under soothing massaging jets, shaving in the shower is the winner – if you can find the right mirror that doesn’t fog and stays put!

I have always loved to grow outlandish facial hair when I could. To grow be Lemmy, the Fu-Manchu,  the Boer War Chops, or the Breaking Bad  has been fun – even if my wife and friends think I’m a nut!

After this Movember, I splurged for a relaxing straight razor shavette to smooth my bald pate and baby-faced cheeks. If you have not pampered yourself by fully reclining in an old fashioned barber’s chair, by having your face lovingly swaddled in almost too hot wet towels, by allowing liberal applications of facial pre-shave creams and hot mugs of foamy lather, by experiencing a slow, deliberate with-the-grain and against-the-grain straight shave, and ending with an invigorating facial massage – you are just not living to your potential!

It is the male equivalent of the pedicure and toe nail polish.  Expensive, yes – but I would argue, a periodic necessity!

During my time in the Army, I saw shaving as a necessity – something that had to be done, sometimes twice a day.  And even though I still can pull off the two minute panic shave to get myself to work on time, I believe that taking the time to pamper your face is important.

Occasionally you just need slow it down and to reconnect with males from yore. You need to wet the shaving brush, vigorously work up a lather in a shaving cream mug, carefully and liberally paint your face lovingly with warm , and slowly, deliberately and shave those whiskers off your face as you enjoy the unique sound of one thins steel blade dispensing with the whiskers in the traditional way .

In these hectic times, a slow, cautious, deliberate shave is a meditative experience that kindles thoughts of a simpler time! Something all we men deserve to be happy, happy!

Later,

ASF

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What happened to the cape?…

What happened to the cape? I mean when I was younger they were so cool – where did they all go?

As for me, I have worn a cape – seriously, mind you – twice in my life…once when I was three years old –  a safety-pinned old blue towel and I was Batman – and the other was in my early twenties, as part of the ceremonial dress at Military College.

While one was definitely cuter than the other, I have to admit that the Scarlet jacket and the dark blue/black cape (worn with the one side thrown casually over the right shoulder, with the red-silk lining showing) were pretty dashing. It sort of captures everything good about a cape. Unfortunately, not the best look to meet the ladies at The Sting, or The Forge, in Victoria BC!

So…where did they go?  Once upon a time they were everywhere…on TV, in comics, on pop-stars, on daredevils.  Wherever anyone looked, there seemed to some cape-wearing star.

There were the glitzy, flashy ones….like Elvis’s.  Sadly it was not the cool 1960s black-leather Elvis, but the later Elvis…the puffier, sweatier one. Older, flabbier but, somehow, still a panty-magnet! Wise men say… it must have been the cape.

And then at the other end of the over the top cape-scene was Liberace.  Polished, svelte…playing it safe and appealing to both sexes…panties and boxers flying everywhere…

And who could forget Evel – before the jumps he would get that cape flowing as he did wheelies and practice runs up the ramps – teasing everyone that this might the flight over the gap.  The cape on my toy SST Knievel never flowed as well as his real-life one.  Funny, I never saw the cape at Snake River Canyon…

And after that there were the ones that graced the pages of Marvel and DC.  Capes that created the mystery, the power, the persona.  The superheroes and the villains…goodness and malevolence…colour and form….a world where capes were just part of the wardrobe.  So many styles and so many heroes…so easily replicated by a toddler sporting a pinned towel.

And then there were the monsters…the monochromatic, black and white ones, that scared the bejeezus out of us on late nights or 35mm film…back when the frights were all implied – not the graphic nastiness of today that leaves nothing to the imagination.  It was a time when Karloff and Lugosi and Chaney ruled…and all you needed to fight off the baddies were Abbott and Costello . And who could forget the badass  cape from Star Wars…”No. I am your father…” just wouldn’t have had the same impact without the menace of a helmeted, asthmatic capester.

But to quote PonyBoy and Soda Pop…that was then, this is now.  Who really wears a cape today…fashionistas like Lady Gaga (meat or hair, take your choice (Bleccchhhh), or Little Red Riding Hood (on the internet at least)…

Now that I think about it, I suppose capes are no longer cool. (Hey, I figured that out all by myself – I did not even need a teenager to tell me that.) Such a shame…I was hoping they would make a come-back.  Guess I’ll throw out the torn towel and utility belt now…

Later,

ASF

Hair today…gone tomorrow…I hope.

At least he has nice teeth and a nice jacket…

I have just noticed the ridiculous number of ludicrous hair styles among some obscenely paid professional athletes.  It is as if, to stand out, they are trying harder and harder to outdo each other.  Flowing locks, curled locks, tethered locks, coloured locks, braided locks, beaded locks…it is all there on the pitch.  It is absolutely hair-raising!  And then, like when all you can do is think of elephants when someone says don’t think of them, I noticed male haircuts and hair styles in other sports, and on rock stars, and on American Idols [Idles] or on Britain’s Got [No] Talent, and on the London Underground…everywhere in fact.

And I can say, with the solid backing of the Experimental Method, that outlandish coiffures are not the sole domain of the rich and the wannabes. Men with bad haircuts are everywhere…

Now, to be honest, I have had my share of hair disasters…when I was young, my dad tried to save a few bucks and cut my and my brother’s hair.  That may not be a bad idea – if you understood anything about the mechanics of the buzzer, the geometry of the human head, how to layer and most importantly, how to cut in a straight line.  But Dad did not appreciate any of that, and my late primary school and early junior high days were a misery…it is hard to look cool when your bangs look like the top of a castle wall and your head looks like it lost a fight with a weed whacker.  He would have done 1000% better if he had used a cereal bowl. For those that were at my 40th , you have seen the pic enlarged to preposterous  proportions  – it remains an absurdly comic tragedy. For the rest of you – here’s a scan…be kind, I am still scarred and not keen to have that snap show up in an internet search for Bad Haircuts!

But I was 10 years old – I had no choice. I had to march down to the unfinished basement, sit under the bare bulb, wrap the torn bath towel around my neck, and then face the tools of shame – in retrospect, it all had a bit of a hostile interrogation feel to it.  I was trapped, so I suppose I have an excuse; being kind, may be others with bad haircuts have an excuse, too.  BUT, that kind of logic is kind and pure and honest and worthy.  Those sentiments have no place in a blog!

So I will put those virtues aside, and will maintain the aim – the aim of today’s blog is to entertain and run through the Best of the Worst…haircut choices that just make you ask, “ Why?”

So here goes with the easiest first –

The Mullet.  The Mississippi Mud Flap just says, “Business up front, party out back”.  This haircut just begs for a number of descriptors:  hillbilly, redneck, NASCAR, Whitesnake, 80s, squirrel pie, bad judgement, acid- or stone-washed denim, European Hockey Star (ask Jaromir Jagr) …add your own to the list– its fun! And I am sure you have some good ones…

The Afro.  The Afro still sends a political  statement.  It still denotes all the 60s “black-pride” – Soul Train, TV shows like Good Times, the bad-asses on early Dirty Harry flicks, disco, the Jackson 5.  Black Afros are styling…I just don’t get the White-fro…that is a totally different statement: “I am Shaft – a pale Shaft, mind you…or I am a huge Gino Vanelli fan.”

The Fauxhawk (aka the Cockatoo…by me anyway).  The Mohawk is bad enough – and unless you have a safety-pin nestled in your cheek and hang around London’s Camden Market, or are entering the Thunder Dome sporting hockey shoulder pads before  your grudge match with Mel Gibson, you have no right to wear one. But a Fauxhawk The FH says, “I love the haircut, but I don’t have the cojones to go the Full Monty. I lack the strength to commit.”  If you like the Mohawk so much…do it right…not half-assed.  No one that I know would tangle with a guy (or gal) wearing a real Mohawk – if they are crazy enough to get one of those, then they are crazy enough to do anything.  But unlike its cool and intimidating cousin, a FH just dares the onlooker to gawk and ridicule the wearer. (As an aside, during the last rugby game I saw, a fellow spectator had a lovely statement of originality…a Fauxhawk that ended in a Mullet….I call it the “Hawklet”.  I would define the Hawklet as a misguided attempt to look mean and fun-loving at the same time – and while not committing to either, he failed to convey that happy-go-lucky toughness he so obviously intended.)

The Pony Tail.  Okay, this one is not for me, but apparently it appeals to men of all ages. What does the pony tail say?  Does it say, “I am confident enough to sport long hair, but practical enough to know I must leash it?”  Or does it say, “ I am a non-conformist, and I single-digit salute The Establishment?” Or is it just a guy who is too lazy to go to the Barber.  It is such a popular style that it comes with several variations including…

  • The beaded El Divin Codino (the divine ponytail…)  worn by Roberto Baggio – famous for missing the entire 192 square feet of goal in the penatly shoot-out.to hand Brazil the 1994 FIFA World Cup
  • The Steven Segalan old guy just trying to look hip. Give it up Grandpa
  • The Beckham…which I also call the School Girl…actually, when you search for Beckham hairstyles you will find he has been a veritable coiffure chameleon…how posh!

The Page-boyOkay this one is plain creepy. Famous page-boys were  John Paul Jones circa 1970 (before he joined TCV and just looked stylin’), Damien from The Omen, Velma Dinkley (who is not a man, but had a great page-boy), and lastly, sported with creepy creepiness by Anton Chighur – the relentless “Unstoppable Evil” from No Country for Old Men…Damien, Anton, Scooby’s girl-bud….brrrrrrr. Shivers, man, shivers.  

Now, before I discuss the last few styles…let’s share just a few word about male pattern baldness.  Some will look at us follicly-challenged and say, “Poor bastards…lost their hair already – they’re just not complete men.” They will try to sell us Rogaine and Propecia and toupees and a million other hair remedies.  But really, early hair loss is not a symptom of losing manhood – it actually means too much dihydrotestosterone (DHT)…(and if you were wondering  DHT has about three times greater affinity for androgen receptors than testosterone and has 15-30 times greater affinity than adrenal androgens.  During preganancy,  it has an essential role forming the male external genitalia…it’s simple, more DHT, less hair but bigger man-bits!)  So take that, those of you with full heads of hair are just slightly lower on the male hormone scale than us baldies.  Public service announcement over…

But sadly, there are those that just can’t accept that their follicles are under siege (and losing) and will go to all the lengths of a complex military operation to avoid it – camouflage, deception, denial.  They deploy a series of tactics to hold off the inevitable, including:

The Perruque aka the wig, the toupee, the hairpiece, the rug, the squirrel, carpet… 

The Comb-Over.  Yes!  You were probably waiting for this one…the King of the Denial styles.  Sort of like the ammoniated beef of haircuts…not quite a lie, but as close as you can get to lying without crossing the line.  The Comb-Over screams, “I cannot be a man without my hair!” 

The category has one Überlord – The Trump. Check out the complexity of his C-O: four distinct grooming phases, four distinct growing regions. Would love to see it exiting the pool….it would be awesome to behold and probably look like “Cousin Itt”.

 

These fellas can justify their grooming choice however they wish, but the Comb-Over says only one thing to me… “Mock me – please. I am insecure.”.  Give it up Comb-Over Man…nature has given you lemons – drink the lemonade.

So that leads me to the best haircut to adopt.  Without a doubt it is the Wilstassier (pronounced will-stah’-see- yay).  The WHAT – you ask? 

It is the Zero on the Wahl …the no mess, no fuss, no sh*t haircut…sported by the one man one who brought down Hans Gruber at the Nakatomi Plaza…worn with pride by the Cockney who took on the Mob and brought pikey Brad Pitt into the bare knuckle boxing ring…and the same “ ’do” that led the Oilers and the Rangers to Stanley Cup nirvana. Yes, the Willis-Statham-Messier.  You just do not mess with these guys…or their haircut.  Look around, they made male pattern baldness cool!

And that is how a man should be…straight up.  No gel, no dye, no primping, no hair appliances, no stylist, no beads, no jheri curl…just clean, smooth, bald beauty – Yul Brenner style – self-administered by the Mach III or the Braun.   That is the way real men do it – just before they eat their Quiche.  So go on lads, shave it down to the wood…liberate yourself. Be free.  No one mocks The Wilstassier…at least not to your face…

Later,

ASF