There's something about us Aqua Velva men

  Thereís something about an Aqua Velva man. I know. Iím one of Ďem.

 Yeah, yeah, it may not smell that great, but tell me this -- if you had a flat tire on a deserted road, who would you want to happen by: an Aqua Velva man or a guy who spent 55 bucks on a 3.4 ounce bottle of Ralph Lauren Romance for Men?

    Or a fella who is dressed in 2001's hottest male fashion statement Ė the kilt? The fashion design house of Burberry introduced a line of menís kilts for the winter season, which sold out immediately. They are now taking names for the waiting list Ė at $775 a pop.

    Gee, Iíd like to help you with that tire Maíam, but Iím having some trouble squatting down in my kilt.

    I confess I may not be the trendiest guy around. For me fashion is something which I talk about to my wife when she tells me to take the trash out Ė "Iíll get to it after a fashion, honey." But I still have to wonder about this stuff.

    Itís almost like there are four genders now. Regular men, regular women, men who wear kilts and women who wear those things with the feathers you see in the fashion magazines.

    Some of the historical changes in how we prepare ourselves to go out in the day are certainly boons to civilization. Not every product once considered a silly indulgence is without its merit. Deodorant, for example. Still, there seems to be a lot stuff out there which at least someone must be buying and you have to wonder, what for?

    For every new way to save money that comes along, there are two new ways to spend it. Iím pretty good about using my electronic scan card at the supermarket. Sure, itís unsettling to know thereís a big computer which knows how often I have to buy razor blades, cigarettes and Captain Crunch, but heck, everybodyís for sale. Alex Rodriguez gets $250 million. Iíll take the 3 or 4 bucks they take off at the checkout line.

    My supermegamarket just added a new feature to its receipts which shows how much money I saved for the entire year. Last year it was over 400 bucks. Not bad, enough money for some new clothes or a weekend away but not exactly a new car.

    Thatís another thing the marketers are trying to make me feel bad about. My car is five years old. Thereís an ad on television Ė I think itís for Mitsubishi Ė that shows a guy picking up a date for the first time and she walks to the shiny, new car parked out front. The poor shmoe has to give her an embarrassed "ahem" and open the door of his not-a-Mitsubishi car.

    Say goodnight to getting lucky.

    Itís a good thing Iím married, to a wife who thinks cars arenít even broken in until they have 125,000 miles. If we were old enough to have had a DeSoto, we would still have it.

    Now, if cars really worked for getting babes, maybe the marketing of them would be okay. But I still remember being single, and I had a hot car. A real hot car. A shiny red Corvette. And even though it was a two-seater, there still should have been plenty of room for Mr. Lucky.

    But he rarely came along. Maybe it was the Aqua Velva.

    Or it could have been dry skin. Nivea ( a skin lotion I remember my grandmother being fond of) has a whole line of products for men. Their website has a section called "Questions men care about." Hereís one of them:

    Q: I often find that my skin is very dry after showering, sometimes even becoming tight or itching. Is this normal?

    A: The skin possesses its own natural protective layer; the hydrolipid film. If you have too hot a shower, to give an example, this film can be damaged by sebum and water, as a result of which too much moisture is extracted. So make absolutely sure you use a gentle and replenishing shower gel, which preserves the skinís moisture. Care hint: NIVEA Gentle Shower Invigorating Fresh FOR MEN .

    There you have it. The hydrolipid film can be damaged by sebum. Now Iím not such a caveman I donít recognize that the things men are supposed to know change over time. Hardly anyone knows how to harpoon a whale anymore, for instance.

    Iíll bet you dollars to doughnuts that if you know what sebum is, you canít change a tire. Heck, I looked it up and still donít know what it is. But I do know how to fix a flat.

    Donít get me wrong. Itís okay for men to get gussied up on special occasions. Thatís what Old Spice is for.


March 14, 2001