A Clumps of Mascara first: Beauty from a male’s view.
Check out what Kenneth has to say about “The M-word”.
When it comes to societal norms, one thing that I have never quite grasped is why it is largely socially unacceptable for men to take care of their bodies—inside and out. I am thoroughly convinced that one of the reasons that women, in some circumstances, do not end up with men that they are happy to be with is because some women really don’t know what they want in a man. On one hand you say, I want a “manly man” who exhibits all of the macho images in the media. Then you turn around and denigrate those men who do dress nicely and take care of themselves in special ways. You leave men to wonder, “which is it?” What I find even more curious is that some women who say that they want a “manly man” feed into this stereotype.
What I have never quite grasped is why any woman would want to be with a man who is less than clean, neat and well put together? Someone, somewhere has come up with a list of items that “manly men” are not to engage in. And it seems like every day the number of “unmanly” things increases. To date, here is just a small list of what women have told me manly men should not do:
-Pluck or manage their eyebrows
-Shave their underarm hair or chest hair
-Get a facial, pedicure, or massage
-Use chap stick on their lips
-Applying lotion daily
-Have soft hands
-Eat a salad (yes!)
The list could certainly go on, but you understand what I am getting at. Now, ladies, close your eyes and think for a moment about the “manly man” who is a result of not taking care of himself by doing none of these things. He has eyebrows going every which way, hair growing out from under his arms, his nails are jagged, his lips are chapped, his skin is chaffed, and he is an overall disaster. Now pucker up to kiss this Adonis of a man!
The point might be made that men, themselves, also play a role in this quandary. I do not disagree. Once I was reading a book on etiquette and a male friend of mine called me the dirty M-word,“Metro.” I find these men to be just plain jealous, or “haters”. Many of these men do not want to take the time or energy to be neat, clean and dress nicely. Why? Beauty doesn’t just happen after all, you have to work at it!
Let me be clear on this. I am all for men playing their natural role in society. Yes, there is such a thing as taking it over the top on beautifying oneself as a man. However, we have taken it too far as a society when we refer to a man as the dirty “M-word” for exfoliating his skin or using lip balm. We, as men, must play our part to not allow the stereotypes to keep us from taking care of ourselves. Exfoliating your skin says nothing about your manliness, your sexual orientation or your ability to play the natural role that God has ordained men to play in our society. “Clump” readers, the paradigm shift begins with you. Begin to celebrate and appreciate those men that do take the time to take care of themselves, and hope that you end up with one!
So ladies Do you want your man groomed? When he takes the initiative do you call him the “M” word? Would he take offense if you did?
Kenneth D. Pratt, Esq.
Kenneth D. Pratt is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Florida State University College of Law. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, he began his career there, as a certified legal intern at the Office of the State Attorney and progressed to the Office of the Attorney General where he served for three years. Pratt has published several short stories, poems, and op eds in National as well as local publications. Kenneth is a member of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church and in his spare time enjoys reading, travel, and sports.