3 Cheap Ways to Win Over the Ladies (by Looking Better)
I used to be a slovenly brute. OK, not so much slovenly as... average. My morning routine including a shave, shower, and deodorant. I figured that was all a guy had to do to look good. My chiseled features and bulging muscles didn't hurt, either.
By the way, just scroll down to the bottom if you don't want to read my justification for man-grooming. I do feel the need to explain, but if you are just looking for tips, they're at the bottom.
Any guy who has ever spent more than 30 minutes near a woman knows that most gals spend a good part of their morning getting ready. Not all women are like this, obviously, but I'd say that the majority are. There's a vast discrepancy between the genders when it comes to grooming rituals. That's probably a good topic for another blog post. My point is that women go to a lot of effort to look nice, even if it is artificially nice, whereas men, to quote Dave Barry, pretty much feel that they are always "about 2 push-ups from sleeping with Cindy Crawford." Such was my situation.
So, I always thought I looked nice enough until I got into a relationship with a gal named Lisa. Lisa was really well put-together. She explained to me that she didn't have time to mess with most of the beauty stuff on her own, so she outsourced it all. Every week, she'd treat herself to the whole barrage of beauty treatments while she listened to books on tape - nails, hair, massage, waxing. It seemed excessive to me, but whatever. Women, you know?
Anyway, after we'd been dating for a few weeks, we had a conversation that could only be described as "honest". I can't remember exactly how it started, but I remember that it culminated with Lisa saying, "I almost didn't go out with you because of your nails." For some reason, my first thought had to do with hardware. My nails? The rusty jar of nails in my garage?
Lisa was looking at my hands.
"Oh! My nails... what the hell is wrong with my nails?"
"It's your cuticles." Then she made a face that conveyed the general idea of "Ew."
"Lisa," I patiently explained, "I'm a man. Men don't get manicures."
"Troy," Lisa sort of sighed, "Lots of men DO get manicures. But you don't have to have a manicure to have decent looking cuticles. You just have to trim back those bad boys until I can actually see the nail underneath."
Fine, I figured. Thoughts of breaking out the Swiss Army knife once I got back home flashed through my mind. I could use the little scissors on that puppy, and I'd be golden.
Lisa must have sensed my plan, because she looked alarmed. Touching my arm lightly, she said, "You know, I'm going to give you a man-over."
"No way!" I think I bellowed this, but it might have come out more as a squeak.
"Look, Troy," said Lisa... and then she proceeded to explain something very explicit. I won't go into details, but let's just say that she let me know that my nasty cuticles and the hands that they were attached to would be getting nowhere near her naked skin at any point in the near future.
That pretty much sealed it.
Lisa told me that the three main things that I needed to take care of were my nails/cuticles, eyebrows, and neck. She said that since I didn't have ear or nose hair hanging out all over the place, I could cross those off of my list. It's obvious that I didn't see any problem with my nails, or my eyebrows or my neck. But Lisa had explained in no uncertain terms what these things meant to her, so I obliged.
It turns out that these things matter to a LOT of women. And because men NEED women, not just as lovers and girlfriends and wives, but as friends and coworkers and bosses, we do have to take their concerns into consideration, even if it strikes us as unnecessary and kind of wussy. I say this to point out that I don't expect guys to go all metrosexual and start getting facials, but there are certain things that we often let slide that women think are downright disgusting. The top three things are actually really easy, and cheap, to fix.
Nails - $5 Every Month or So
I've noticed lots and lots of men with nasty, overgrown, or infected cuticles since I started taking care of mine, and frankly, I can sort of see why women wouldn't want to be touched by those kinds of cuticles. Not only are they rough and gross, they can make handshakes feel odd and reflect badly on you overall.
I don't mean that women see cuticles as the window to your soul, but apparently they think things like "Well, jeez, if he can't keep those nice, what about the OTHER PARTS OF HIS BODY?". Only they probably think very specific words instead of dumb phrases like "OTHER PARTS OF HIS BODY."
If you already keep your nails short, that's good. If you bite them, dude, learn to stop. Not only do you look like a doofus chewing on the ends of your fingers, but the result is pretty hard to look at.
Lots of people buy cuticle trimmers. Those are fine, unless you are clumsy and end up cutting yourself with them. Lisa introduced me to something even better. It's called cuticle cream, and the best stuff is made by Burt's Bees. It's only $5, and you basically slap it around your nails before you go to sleep. In the morning, you can scrape away the dead skin with ease. Use it on your toes, too, if you plan on wearing mandals or anything. Not that I would. I'm just sayin'.
Eyebrows - One Easy Installment of $14.95!
Eyebrows are tricky. I don't think any man should be trusted to wield a pair of tweezers near his eyes, but apparently some guys do this well. My advice: find a salon that specializes in men. There are lots of places opening up around the country that do this. They feature manly dark furniture, and they call a manicure something like "handshake maintenance". You know, so you don't feel like a pansy while you get your hands dipped in paraffin or whatever.
Get your brows waxed (hurts like a beyotch, do it in the afternoon and evening and don't go anywhere public until the next morning). Make sure that the person waxing your brows doesn't look like Pamela Anderson. Well, she can look like Pamela Anderson, but it's not a good thing if they have Pam's eyebrows. Apparently she doesn't have good eyebrows. I never noticed. This is just what the women tell me.
Anyway, the most important thing to do with eyebrows is to have two of them. Ban the unibrow. Also, the hairs that grow on your eyelids, the ones that hurt like hell to pull out? Those need to go. Men don't need to have arched eyebrows. Just make sure to get rid of the strays. Once you see how a pro does your brows (this should cost $15), you can do them yourself. Don't over-pluck! It's better to have too much hair than not enough. And eyebrows don't always grow back.
Neck - 0% Down! 0 Lifetime Payments!
This is something I certainly never noticed before, even though I'm sure I noticed a unibrow or two before Lisa got ahold of me. But apparently lots of women notice your neck - I'm not sure if this is some sort of sexual thing or not. And even if you don't need a haircut, apparently lots of men need to get their necks shaved every week or so, because they are hairy, hairy bastards. And having hairs crawling out from under your collar makes some women think of spiders. And we know how women feel about spiders. Am I right? Eh? Eh? Anyone? (silence... sound of crickets)
Anyway, I am among the hairy bastards, as Lisa kindly pointed out, so I learned to shave my neck.
You can do this at home. Just don't go crazy. You can use your beard trimmer or electric clippers, or if you are double-jointed, you can use a razor. I use clippers and a couple of well-positioned mirrors. You can also go to your barber and get it done for cheap - some guys will take pity on you and do it for free, just make sure to tip big next time you come in for a trim.
What We've Learned
Not every guy is going to feel like he needs to worry about this, and that's fine. I've just found that women tend to be relieved when we do the things that they traditionally had to take care of, like cooking and making sure that the family walks out of the house fully clothed and presentable to society. And I figure that since women are increasingly bringing home the bacon, the least I can do it make sure that I don't leave bits of bacon stuck in my teeth when I'm out on a date.