Manolo says, witness the latest trend in facial-hair stupidity, the monkey-tail beard.
Manolo says, witness the latest trend in facial-hair stupidity, the monkey-tail beard.
After a long flight, when you need to look alert and fresh at a business meeting, nothing gets you there like a shave. As soon as you disembark, nip into the men’s room, strip to the waist, shave and put on a clean shirt.
To really feel clean, shave under your arms.
That’s right, men. Shave those pits like a European footballer. Clark Gable did it, and who could question his masculinity?
Ignore snide remarks from macho idiots harboring secret doubts about their virility. A regime of shaving the armpits daily usually eliminates the need for deodorant. Do we really understand the long term health effects of antiperspirant aluminum compounds absorbed through the pores?
The best tactics to reduce underarm odor are through exercise, hygiene and diet. Get up a good sweat every day, wash, eat cleanly, and drink lots of water.
The general rule for hair is this: As you get older, your hair should get shorter. This goes for head as well as facial hair.
For better relations with womenfolk, shave your grizzled face. When bussing mother-in-law, auntie, or sis, do it with a smooth face. You may need their alliances on days when your wife goes bananas.
One of the great joys of facial hair is observing snow sticking to it, thus proving the beard’s insulating powers. Best of all is when giant carbuncles of ice form, as on Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the British globetrotter thought by many to be the world’s greatest living explorer. Whether or not that is hyperbole, he certainly competes with Ewan Mcgregor for world’s greatest hair, adventurer category. (While there appears to have been some photoshoppery involved in the bookcover photo (his jacket appears to have been taken from the photo on the left), Izzy includes it since it show Fiennes’ weather-beaten mane at its most spectacular.)
Even when relaxing in the comfort of his home study, as seen below, the adventurer maintains his devil-may-care approach, with ancient (torn?) desert boots and khakis with frayed hems. Alas, his plentiful testosterone has exposed his scalp to the elements.
In the interview accompanying the photo, Fiennes explains:
Everything in my wardrobe is old. I haven’t bought a suit in 10 years, that’s for sure. My dinner jacket must be at least 20 years old. My shoes, which I had in the Army, must be over 30 years old. I don’t like buying clothing.
Asked about his grooming routine, he continues:
For 25 years I have worn Clarins day and night creams. When I was in Antarctica I got seborrhoeic dermatitis, which affected the areas between my eyebrows and next to my nose. I ran out of cortisone cream and discovered that Clarins day and night creams for women do the same job without the side-effects. I’ve continued to use them ever since.
When a man has circumnavigated the earth from pole to pole via land, he may casually admit to wearing women’s cosmetics.
Perhaps Fiennes should have started moisturizing at a younger age. He was once considered to play the part of James Bond in the movies (Roger Moore was selected instead), but the producer rejected him for having “hands too big and a face like a farmer.” This, presumably, was before Fiennes cut off the tips of his frostbitten fingers with a Black & Decker power tool.
Izzy apologizes for his long absence. Some months ago, in a foolhardy moment, he answered the following advertisement:
MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS,
CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS.
To his surprise, rather an a frozen slog across Antarctica–easy enough to endure–the journey was in fact a trip through the benthic regions of the soul. “When you stare into the Abyss, the Abyss stares into you,” said Nietzsche. Izzy would like to think that he won a staring contest with the Abyss. (This, despite the fact that the Abyss, not playing fair, contorted its face into a ridiculous cockeyed grimace.)
Now safely back in the Shallow, Izzy would like to turn your attention to another achievement of Nietzsche’s, his moustache.
Long before his signature facial hair reached absurd proportions worthy of a machete, one of his students described the philosopher’s appearance:
I had not expected that the professor would come storming into the room . . . like Burkhardt. I also knew well enough that a challenging tone in a writer does not always echo his behavior as a private man. But I was nonetheless surprised by the modesty, even humility, of Nietzsche’s demeanor when he came in. In addition he was of small rather than middle stature . . . And the iridescent glasses and deep mustache gave his face that impression of intellectuality which often makes even short men somewhat imposing.
While it is known that Nietzsche devoted great concern to his appearance, the famous photographs of him with with whiskers completely covering his mouth are not indicative of his own taste. By the time those photos were taken, Nietzsche was living in a sanitorium under the care of his far-more-insane sister, a proto- and later actual Nazi, who made the eccentric grooming choice for him.
Izzy is going to heed the lesson here, and make sure that his living will includes a clause about appropriate facial hair.
Manolo says, behold the power of the photoshop makeover!
And, what would motivate such dramatic potential changes? It is all about the Benjamins!
Richard Rodriguez, the gang member who was kicked in the head by an El Monte police officer after a televised car chase, has filed a $5-million legal claim against the city. But before he appears in court, he’ll possibly be undergoing a serious makeover.
Rodriguez’s attorney, Nick Pacheco, has suggested that his client ditch his thuggish look (seen in his mug shot on the left), in favor of a more conservative — albeit less eye-catching — visage (seen in the photoshopped version on the right).
In the booking photo, Rodriguez’s head is shaved, and the name of his gang hangs over his lip. Tattoos climb his neck. In the “after” rendition, he’s wearing a black suit with a metallic gray tie, neatly combed hair and a lush mustache.
Pacheco hopes Rodriguez’s makeover will allow the jury to be sympathetic to Rodriguez, who claims to suffer headaches and blurred vision as a result of his arrest.
“People get past looks when you put on a suit and your hair is grown,” said Pacheco.
Even with the “lush mustache” Mr. Rodriguez is no George Clooney, but still, his lawyer is essentially correct: the power of good grooming (and the necessity of avoiding facial tattoos) is perfectly self-evident.
Manolo says, here is the idea whose time has not come.
I admit it: I like guys in makeup.
Not just any guy, though. I’m a sucker for those sexy, bird-flipping bad boy rock stars in their skinny jeans, smudged kohl eyeliner and just-rolled-out-of-bed hair. Think Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day or Good Charlotte twins Benji and Joel Madden. Better yet, picture a deliciously sinuous Scott Weiland from the Stone Temple Pilots, for whom I’ve always nursed a distant crush.
But my guy in makeup? Well, why not. According to Jane McKay, senior makeup artist with M.A.C Cosmetics, he wouldn’t be alone.
“There is a trend emerging from the rock world that’s filtering to the street,” says McKay. “When you look at people like Adam Lambert from American Idol, he’s androgynous and willing to wear makeup and shows men that other men look quite good.
“Men in eyeliner is not as bizarre as you’d think. In evolution, a lot of animals have a dark rim around their eye. It’s just evolved from nature.”
Evolved from nature, just like prehensile tongues and using long sticks to extract termites from their mounds.
The entire trend towards the man makeup is misguided and unlikely to endure. Indeed, the Manolo agrees with Guardian writer Paul MacInnes
A man wearing makeup is like a toddler with a mortgage. It’s unnatural and likely to end in disaster.
Good haircuts, clean teeth, proper skin care, and the moderate fitness regime, this is all the average man requires to look his best.
Now sporting a full beard, darker than his blond locks, Britian’s Prince William is looking excedeedingly kingly—and it also happens to emphasize his eyes (royal blue?). But will he continue the bold style when he takes the crown? As far as Izzy can tell, the last leonine King of Britain was George V, who ruled from 1910 to 1936.
In a bit of nose-in-cheek marketing, Burger King is selling a fragrance called “Flame,” which it describes as “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” The fast-food chain has set up a special website for the whopper of a body spray, which features clichéd scenes of romantic enticement, including the hairy-chested, incredibly creepy King character reclining in front of a fire while wearing nothing but a strategically placed blanket (an homage to Burt Reynold’s near-nude appearance in Playgirl?). If the site doesn’t bring a smile to your face and make you exclaim “Ohhh yeaaah” in your best imitation of Barry White, you must be a vegetarian.
Izzy hasn’t inhaled Flame yet, but if it smells as advertised, you can be sure it is exactly the wrong thing to wear when trapped for weeks in a lifeboat with a starving lecher.
While political corruption is a dog-bites-man story, according to the New York Times the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama has been “charged in [an] 101-count indictment with taking over $230,000 in cash, clothing, and jewelry.” Could this be an alleged crooked pol Izzy can sympathize with? Not if the mayor’s ill-gotten gains include that painfully loud Burberry-esque shirt. He does have great hair, though.
While recently reading Piers Brendon’s excellent new book The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, Izzy came across this fascinating digression on how the imperial British moustache largely originated in India:
Also reflecting the customs of [India] was the growth of “the Moustache movement.” Some British officers had begun to sport hair on their top lip during the Napoleonic Wars. They did so, largely, it seems, in dashing imitation of coxcombical Frenchmen, who took the Spanish view that an “an hombre de bigote” was a man of resolution, their whiskers evidently being “appurtenences of Terror.” The mode became imperative in India, where beards were deemed sacred but the moustache was a symbol of virility. . . . So in 1831 the 16th Lancers hailed with delight an order permitting them to wear moustaches. . . . In 1854 moustaches were made compulsory for European troops of the Company’s Bombay army and they were enthusiastically adopted elsewhere. . . .
Moustaches were clipped and trimmed until they curved like sabers and bristled like bayonets. Their ends were waxed and given a soldierly erection. Imitating warriors, civilians too stiffened their upper lips: Frederich Engels mocked Anglo-Irish aristocrats with “enormous moustaches under colossal noses.” . . . For different reasons sailors and parsons eschewed the fashion but it was jealously guarded by the beau monde. Edwardian tuskers rebuked servants who aped the “fancy hairdressing” of their betters. Nothing would be permitted to devalue these military insignia, which achieved their apotheosis in the crossed scimitars of Lord Kitchener and gained iconic status in the famous Great War recruiting poster. So the moustache became the emblem of empire, roughly coterminous with the Raj but largely derived from it—much as the Romans derived the habit of wearing trousers from the barbarians.
The tradition of warriors choosing to be proudly hirsute lives on in the U.S. Special Forces, whose soldiers are the only American troops permitted to wear facial hair (and not just so they can blend in with locals abroad). It’s hard to quantify such things, but sometimes it appears that an outright majority of Navy SEALs wear mustaches. Of course, such facial hair is also a badge of honor, allowing the elite to stand out from the ordinary rank-and-file.
In honor of the belated release of Guns N’ Roses’ latest album, it’s worth remembering why no one regretted Axl Rose’s disappearance from the collective consciousness. Most men, even the most aesthetically clueless, know that the world does not want to see a vast swath of denuded pinkness. And is it Izzy’s imagination or is that cross trying to get as far as it can from Axl’s chest?