I’m not the man I used to be and what many a men’s magazine — and, no doubt, Dr. Jordan Peterson — say I should be.
I’m still alright with that and roll along my way as best I can.
So I confess I don’t leap on every male bandwagon, rousing the horses with a hee-haw and a giddyup.
But I do feel an urge to mention a particular class of male-oriented gadgets that I’ve resisted for perhaps too long — the personal shaving machine.
I feel sure it’s a good idea. I feel slightly less sure that the way it’s about to be advertised is, well, entirely edifying.
You see, I’ve just stumbled into a new ad for Manscaped’s Beard Hedger.
Or, according to its more comprehensive Amazon description, the “MANSCAPED® The Beard Hedger™ Premium Precision Beard Trimmer, 20 Length Adjustable Blade Wheel, Stainless Steel T-Blade for Precision Facial Hair Trimming, Cordless Waterproof Wet / Dry Clipper.”
How would you present such an apparently useful product to the world?
Would you show the world’s strongest men trimming their beards before competition? Would you perhaps show rows of delirious hipster men trimming their beards and claiming it improves their coffee-drinking technique and hygiene?
Or would you show a famous golfer and his son chatting about how, in dad’s day, women allegedly liked men to be hirsute downstairs?
You might guess that Manscaped chose the last option. For here is golfing legend John Daly and his son, University of Arkansas golfer Little John Daly, discussing, well, dad’s pubic orchard.
Dad asks his son which club he should use. Little John, for some reason, believes dad is talking about his beard and suggests dad try this little machine.
“Manscaped, huh?” The dad says. “Son, back in my day ladies loved grass in the fairways.” Then he appears to be about to show his son his, well, grass.
Do I hear a ho-ho?
Look, it’s not you, it’s me.
You’ll tell me it’s perfectly normal for a dad to chat with his son about the landscaping of his nether regions. And I’ll tell you that you’re right, while quietly squirming.
Little John has to explain to Big John that this particular gadget is for his face, rather than beneath his belly. Then a voiceover pops up to explain this thing has 20 settings, which sounds quite marvelous.
The two stars play the ad very well. There’s even a tinge of fine comic timing.
Personally, though, I find the best way to deal with my beard is to shave it off completely every ten days. That way, I look slightly different every day.
Here, though, we’re being told that a man’s beard should have a consistent look — which, should you be familiar with Big John’s highly subjective daily attire, isn’t usually the case for him.
Male personal grooming is a highly lucrative market — $55 billion, it seems. This is because many men have a great need to present themselves in a very particular way. Surely you’ve seen at least one session of Congress to appreciate that.
But oh, dad and son talking about, you know, downstairs? That may be a little too liberal for some.