Ugly clothes and greasy kid stuff

A little dab’ll do ya

By Cole Williams

Designer of The Journal

  Lately I’ve been thinking about we men’s endless attempts at attracting women. We fail at it often enough to make me wonder how we manage to procreate at all.

Do guys today really think wearing baseball caps and cargo shorts is appropriate in a nice restaurant after 6:00pm? It isn’t. The thing that lots of young men do these days that frankly creeps me out is all the body shaving. It begs the question: do women really want men to look like tall nine-year-old boys? Hell, maybe they do. I imagine it must be like snuggling up to a saguaro cactus in more intimate moments.

Of course in my day men brought looking ridiculous to an entirely new level. Just look at any men’s fashion adverts from the sixties and seventies. Gigantic collars and bell-bottom pants all done up in screaming paisley and enormous plaid patterns. In the mid to late seventies the leisure suit reared its hideous, unnaturally-colored polyester head. I don’t know how women looked at us without going blind.

On the hair front we let the protein flow in myriad configurations. No man buns then, but goofy shag hairdos abounded on both sexes that later morphed into mullets. I personally chose the one-length parted down the middle hippie-hairdo and sported a wispy pornstache through most of the seventies. Trés chic. Actually, lots of women liked the hippie hair. Some of the more straight-laced among them would secretly hang out with us freaks. Go figure.

Before that, there was acrid, petroleum-based Brylcreem hair dressing. Men didn’t wash their hair every day back in the early sixties so they needed something to make sure their hair stayed “extra greasy,” I guess. The tagline was “They (women) love to run their fingers through your hair.” And then frantically look for a bar of soap containing enough solvent to cut through the viscous goo on their hands.

The one front where men fail often and spectacularly is in their attempts at “smellin’ good.” Who among us has not sat next to a nose-blind man who has applied far too much cologne or aftershave? I don’t think women want headaches and watery eyes on a date. Or hives.

If you want to see something funny, do a Youtube search for Hai Karate aftershave TV commercials. These always featured a nerdy guy applying a splash of Hai Karate aftershave. He is immediately accosted by a group of beautiful women. He must defend himself from the salacious attack with inept karate chops and he always loses his eyeglasses somewhere along the way. The ad copy read “So powerful it drives women right out of their minds.” I don’t know about women losing their minds, but apparently this commercial made a number of lonely, desperate men lose theirs.

In the 4th grade at St. Theresa Catholic School, the sexes were segregated. We only got to socialize with the girls on the busses and during recess. All us boys had crewcuts and wore kaki uniforms. I figured if I got something to make me smell good I would stand out from the crowd. I bought a can of 007 Cologne. It came in a silver and black can with Sean Connery’s eyes and eyebrows on it. My guess is that, given my youth and enthusiasm, I probably sprayed on more than necessary. Lots more. It is said that female humans’ sense of smell is 30% more acute than their hairy counterparts. I believe I went from the girls not caring whether or not I existed to actively wishing I didn’t.

Finally, Hai Karate aftershave was a product of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Yep, the same folks who brought you Chapstick® and those little blue pills so popular among men my age. I think their catch phrase for Hai Karate pretty much sums up everything discussed here: “Be careful how you use it.”


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