FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: The Manscaper


by Dave Markwell

While standing a little closer to the mirror than I am generally comfortable with this morning, I noticed a couple of stray eyebrow hairs sticking straight out like cockroach antennae. I promptly snatched them in my fingers and plucked them. After my eyes stopped watering, I stepped up to the mirror again for further examination. This was not a good idea and proved, again, that ignorance truly is bliss. I have a lot of stray hairs growing in some odd places. I anticipate an exponential increase in this phenomenon in the coming years. Not good.

I call this strange phenomenon the “conservation of hair law”. When faced with the misfortune of seeing the top of my head in some misplaced mirror, I notice my egg-shaped, sparsely covered scalp. The egg size has grown with the passing of my birthdays. While the hair on my dome seems to be leaving me, it is, in actuality, just changing places. The conservation of hair law is in action here. Instead of my head, my hair now finds homes in my nose and ears and on my back and shoulders. The eyebrows seem to be fertile territory as well. I anticipate a future in which I will not need a sun visor due to my eyebrows being so long and unruly that they will shade me just fine, very Andy Rooney-esque. My chest also gets a lot of action.

I don’t do a lot of “manscaping” to combat this. Though, some nominal maintenance is necessary to remain looking like I don’t sleep in a van. For example, to avoid looking like I am smuggling ferret tails, I do trim the chest hairs that creep above my shirt collar. Also, when I notice, I will pull the long nose hairs, that if left unattended, would have me looking a little bit too much like a taller Hitler in no time. I shave the “birds’ nests” on my shoulders so my shirts fit properly and when the long, anomalous neck hair starts to tickle, it goes bye-bye.

I am, gratefully, not terrifically vain about this. Metro-sexuality is a steep climb for me. I consider men who take too much care in how they look a little untrustworthy and a lot unmanly. Long lapses in my grooming exist. I cut my own hair. In fact, I haven’t paid for a haircut in over ten years. I clip my own. I don’t pluck, trim or shave very often. When I do, though, I receive many compliments. People notice when I look put together. I’m not sure if I actually look “good” or just “good for me”, but I don’t really care either way. So, while I am not super vain, I am slightly insecure and I like it when people say nice things to me.

In the future that I hope to be around for, I will, out of necessity, be forced to ramp up my manscaping efforts. The clippers must be well-oiled and sharp. Those coarse, thick old man hairs are probably tough. I hope to get them and find out for sure. By that time, though, it is likely I will have stopped caring much at all about this stuff. I have known many old men and very few well-groomed ones. I suppose there are bigger fish to fry at this point. I say this with reverence and without judgment. I hope, one day, to join this club. It is a good club to belong to. It is filled with rich lives and no pretense and an understanding that only comes with years. This club contains the disheveled and unkempt best that humanity can produce. I want to be president of this club and, as I observe the peculiar new tufts of fur appearing in strange new and unlikely places, I think I’ve got a decent shot.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his new exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]


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