I was recently unfollowed on Twitter because I replied incorrectly to a tweet about how a guy loses “man points” if he exfoliates.
Thinking it was a joke, I said, “How does scraping your face with jagged shards of apricot pit make you less manly?”
The unfollowing that followed made me wonder if the original tweet really was a joke. And if it was, do you lose man points for not having the sense of humor to field a jest with grace?
But what if the tweet was serious? What’s your score if you’re too insecure to butt heads with a challenger?
The episode reminded me of the movie Heathers, in which Winona Rider and Christian Slater plot the murder of two hard-guy jocks by luring them to a secluded area on the promise of kinky sex (with Rider, not Slater). To cover up, the stars plant items at the scene to suggest the victims were gay. One of those items: bottled water.
And, guess what? As ridiculous as it sounds now, in 1988 it was the bottled water that convinced the authorities the pair were, in fact, gay.
In other words, not manly.
And then there’s the character in A Mighty Wind, the Christopher Guest parody of folk music, in which Harry Scherer’s character gets interested in skin care—exfoliating!—and that leads him to discover that he’s really a woman trapped in a man’s body.
Those two, dear ManWARriors, are examples of brilliant satire.
I mean, really. If removing unhealthy dead skin cells from your face makes you less manly, are there other good ideas men should avoid? Wearing seat belts? Giving up smoking? Sitting down with the missus to watch Secrets From a Stylist on HGTV, which is hosted by this blond, bewitching babe, Emily Henderson?
I do the laundry in my household. Why wouldn’t I? I wear clothes. Doing laundry is tedious and requires physical effort. Would it be more manly for me to stick my wife with a household chore I thought was too hard, too dull or beneath me? Shouldn’t I think that if something’s beneath me, it’s also beneath the woman I love?
I cook dinner. Why wouldn’t I? I eat. Besides, my grandfather was an excellent cook, and I’m sure there were many people who had all their teeth because they possessed the wisdom not to contest his masculinity for putting a pot of tomato sauce on the table.
I wash the floors. Why wouldn’t I? I walk. Again, would I be more manly if I made my wife move around furniture and get down on her knees with a wet rag in her hand?
Come to think of it, how does being incapable of doing anything that’s “so easy a woman can do it” make any man more manly?
But, ladies, don’t think you’re immune to this kind of nonsense. While staying home with my infant daughter twenty-four years ago, I got into line at the grocery store and heard this from a woman in front of me: “No man should be home taking care of babies.”
My daughter turned out fine. She graduated with honors from a top university and is going to law school. She’s traveled the world, lived in other countries and is pretty good at taking care of herself. Does any of that make her less womanly?
We have clean clothes and nice floors and eat well around here—because I’m not manly?
Ask my wife. In spite of the chores—and the tube of St. Yves exfoliating gel I keep next to the sink—she’s never in 29 years threatened to unfollow me for being a wuss.
P.S. My daughter also turned me on to washing my face with a mix of one part castor oil to three parts olive oil every other day, and I’d recommend it to everyone who thinks it’s a good idea to have skin covering their skull.