Men, for the most part, don't really care about their skin, other than saving it when threatened. Unlike women, who comprise marketing executives' dreams when it comes to offerings that will smooth, soothe, and remove years from their aged epidermis. Open any magazine aimed at the fairer sex and you will see ads galore for moisturizers, conditioners, skin tighteners and wrinkle removers, all designed to appeal to vanity. Commercials on television extoll the virtues of various skin products, usually hyped by famous and beautiful women, who swear that such products are the reason they look so wonderful, when we all know they are repeat clients for plastic surgeons.
However, some of us manly men have noticed how time ravages our complexion. There is a simple test: Grab a hand mirror, lay it on the table, and peer into it with your face directly above. You may be horrified how far those saggy jowls, eyelids, and neck waddles drop to the point that you don't even recognize yourself!
I confess, I happened to do this a few years ago while trying to trim some stray nose hairs (a subject for another article). Upon hearing my screams, my wife first advised me to never look into a mirror that way. Then, she took the opportunity to introduce me to the world of skin maintenance. Apparently, women have a secret longing to find any opportunity to convey their knowledge of skin enhancement to their spouses. Note to the wise, men.
I had always wondered why so many bottles and jars occupied her part of the bathroom counter and cabinets. We may have a 50-50 marriage but that does not apply to space occupied by makeup. It's more like 80-20 in her favor.
Taking advantage of my self-acknowledged facial deformities, she bade me sit while selecting a variety of concoctions to anoint on my sad face. After a quick survey of my features, she decided that I required moisturizers in some places and grease-removers in others. Evidently, my oil glands do not function consistently. The crows-feet around my eyes, she expertly noted, could be addressed with a concoction that would actually inflame the skin, which would make it "plumper" and smooth out the wrinkles. I was concerned about using something that promoted inflammation, but she assured me it was perfectly fine. But first, she decided my face needed a deep cleaning to remove those icky blackheads and God knows what else stuck in my pores.
She had me lay back on a towel while she applied some kind of gel to my face, in a manner similar to spackling a wall. I would then have to wait until it dried, which took about 30 minutes, then she slowly peeled it off. I think this part provided her some kind of perverse pleasure, trying to get the peel off in one piece. Then she held it up like a prize trophy to show the debris pulled out of my face. It was an amount sufficient enough that she advised a second go-round.
Once she determined I was clean, she began applying her various lotions. By this point, I was sort of enjoying the attention, so I just zoned out and let her have her way with me. I could hear her muttering to herself as she rummaged through the cabinet drawers. There was an impressive array of products strewn on the counter by now, and she was applying some of them with small brushes and cotton tips.
She then announced that she was finished and held up the mirror for my inspection. I was amazed! My skin was no longer pitted. Those little red spots and veins were no longer noticeable. The wrinkles were less pronounced, and my facial coloring was more consistent. I was...beautiful!
My wife admired her handiwork, then admitted she may have gone a little overboard by using her blush, foundation, and eyeliner on me. Yeah, that was way overboard in my book! I thanked her for the make-over and knowledged that I had potential beauty, but I wasn't going to go out looking like this. I would have to turn in my man card if the guys saw me. Besides, I couldn't spend the time every day making the transformation. But I did decide to start using sunscreen lotion on my temples and around my eyes as protection from skin cancer.
Recently, I've been plagued by dry itchy skin on my ankles and feet. Wonder what she has in the cabinet for that?
-- Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.