The male body is a catastrophic shit-heap of a machine, the organic equivalent of a Delorean. It spends the entirety of your teenage life in a state of constant flux, and your total lack of reason and judgment forms the other side of the unfuckable double-helix. We did our best to control it with the grab bag of advice we gathered from our friends, our parents and the media, but we still ended up with red faces, waist length hair and things growing out of more or less everywhere.
But as we move from teens to twenties, we become a little more rational, a touch more self aware, and some, SOME of the advice starts to get through. We even pick up a few slightly less obvious tidbits along the way, which I think might be the male equivalent of gathering pie recipes. And so, here is some of what a man once described as “a charmingly scruffy screen presence” has learned about grooming.
There’s Such a Thing as Too Thrifty
I know it’s tempting. You can get a pack of five disposable razors with 2-3 blades for about £4, but you can get twenty with one blade for like 75p. Similarly, vats of conditioner come in French-Name or Stores-Own editions. For the money you’d save, you could buy a koi carp. But once you’re out of the bathroom, you’ll look like a thatched cottage with psoriasis.
The Thing That’s Fucking Up Your Face Is Probably Milk
You’d be amazed how many people are fully lactose intolerant and don’t have the first clue. Seriously, if you get any vague kind of blemishes I’d at least consider running it past your GP. Milk’s a bullshit liquid anyway. It makes you sleepy, fat, snotty, gassy; it takes a really nice drink like tea and makes it undrinkable. What even ARE bones, anyway.
Exercise Some Facial Hair Self-Awareness
Some people need beards. You’ll know this if you’ve ever seen footage of Billy Connelly without one, which is as close to staring into the abyss as I’ll ever be happy to go. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a beard.
Now’s the time to be honest with yourself; does that goatee, Grizzly Adams or – God help you – soul patch settle into your face like the cracks in an old leather chair? Or do you look like you’ve got extra eyebrows on your lip? For God’s sake, sort yourself out, before you end up like this homunculus.
Toothpaste is Some Kind of Miracle Cream
I need someone to sit me down and explain toothpaste. What is it, really? If I rub it on my teeth regularly I can avoid the mouthful-candy-corn thing that Shane McGowan has going on, which is already some kind of miracle. But then if you put some on a spot and leave it overnight, it’ll literally eat it off your face. Now what the fuck is happening there. Is that what osmosis is? Is toothpaste an animal? Is it people? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
There IS a Correct Way To Present Your Down-Thurr-Fur
Getting a general consensus out of girls for this one is nigh on impossible; I’ve heard both “Don’t all guys wax?!” to “What? No! It looks freakish and unnatural.” from, I think, the same person.
Luckily for you, there’s an actual correct answer to this one. Just get a pair of scissors and cut off as much as you can, leaving you with roughly the same thickness of fur as a micro pig. Trust me on this. Leaving them makes you seem inattentive or, worse, like you’re making some kind of statement. And shaving them all off either makes you look like a 12 year old, or like you’re the type who’ll wax their whole body and slip around in a brook like an otter.
But with the trim, you’ll not only have the satisfaction of having done a Correct Thing, but also of knowing that your penis looks BEAUTIFUL. What was previously a small, fleshy sigh hiding in a thicket is now a proud, triumphant stallion, head raised majestically towards the sun, standing in a well mown field. You’ll get invited to better parties on sexier yachts.
Unfortunately, there’s pretty much nothing you can do about butt hair until you’re famous. Not without defying the scriptures, at least.
Defy at Least Some of Your Girlfriend’s Wishes…
…because there’s always one weird thing that they’ll inexplicably insist that you stick with because they somehow prefer it that way. And that’s why I look like Devendra Banhart’s maned owl in my passport photo.
Deoderant Should Only Go In Your Armpits
Yeah, this seems obvious, but when I was about 13 I thought you were supposed to do your wrists too. I’d seen so many women testing perfume there in Boots, I kinda just assumed that girls like a fragrant wrist. I spent a very confused few months inadvertently handing out Lynx Africa stinkpalms.
So there you have it: all the wisdom I have to impart about matters of the male body, apart from the stuff that I couldn’t think of any jokes for, like how you should remember to buy hairbrushes because no man ever remembers to do that and then you spend all your time looking for a brush you don’t have.
Follow all this advice to the letter and.. you probably won’t start having all the sex you wanted. But you MIGHT start feeling a little better about yourself, and THAT might get you all the sex you wanted.
Posted by Duncan Vicat-Brown
Duncan is WIP's assistant editor, community manager and office dachshund. When he's not tweeting from @WorkInProwess, he tweets from @DuncanVB, and he can very occasionally be found elsewhere on the internet.