Beauty and……the Male

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

-Dress nicely

-Smell nicely

-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.

  • Connie De Alwis

    This is an excellent post, Kenneth! I loved every bit of it. My boy is a tad iffy about beauty treatments for men but he’s lucky to have good skin and no pits/chest hair. I do find pit hair that sticks out very unappealing! He also doesn’t pick his zits to prevent scarring and often extracts the whiteheads on his nose. I’m grateful enough for that!

  • Hijabi Apprentice

    I prefer a bit of a metrosexual. Grooming is essential! Who really wants to snuggle up to a chapped lipped ashy handed monster? My husband is borderline metrosexual which is fine with me as long as he replenishes any products he depletes 😉

  • Tammy M

    I absolutely love the fact that my husband takes care of himself! I would not call him a metro, but as he says, he is secure enough in himself to not be concerned with “labels”.
    As he says, you only have one body and it should be treated like a temple.
    I did not realize that lip balm, lotion and general personal grooming made a man a “metro”. I thought it was just taking care of ones self!

  • Kamika

    I love a groomed man, just not overly groomed. I expect him to be clean shaven with clean nails, smell good, and have his own easy since of style. What I don’t like is a man that primps and spends too much time in the mirror. To me thats a sign of arrogance and/or insecurity that I don’t like to see in a man.

  • Amina

    Great post!!
    I also prefer a man who takes care of himself!!!! I mean who wants chapped lips and sticky armpits..eew

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely love this!!! My man is definately metro and has no problem being called that. He dresses nice, takes care of his skin, wears chapstick, and smells awesome. I wouldn’t have it any other way. When we are together, we are the total package and compliment each other so well!!! Love this!!! Love it, Love it!!!
    Veronica Lynn

  • Miss Yaya

    I love me a man that follows that list. That’s what let’s me keep the lights on at nighy sometimes LOL. I like my honey to take care of himself. That may be different from plenty of norms but then again I’m not looking for a run of the mill man

  • Erica

    My husband does almost all of those things on that list–except pluck his eyebrows. Although he does not go to a professional, he keeps himself groomed. I mean, some of that stuff is just basic good hygiene. And why wouldn’t a man eat a salad, for heaven’s sakes?!
    I will admit that when I see a man who is excessively groomed it does make me wonder–but as long as he is comfortable in himself then that is his business. I will echo the comments of the previous poster regarding a man who spends too much time in the mirror–I have found that it usually does denote insecurity rather than an advanced beauty/fashion aesthetic. The same could be said for some women as well.

  • Starrlite

    There is nothing wrong with a groomed man. My hubby and I both go get pedicure and manicure together.He is very clean cut and well kept and I am ok with that at least when we’re in the bed I no longer have to feel his toes and feet scratching my legs. He’s all the above on that list.

  • Kahnee

    I can’t do a man that exfoliates. But everything was pretty cool. I’ll take a Metro sexual in a heartbeat.

  • Danielle

    Great post. This definitely appeals to the sociologist in me. I don’t think metrosexual is a good word. I mean, we don’t have any special word for women who spend too much time primping, why should men have one that insinuates that their sexuality is something else? I think many men find offense to the “m-word” because what defines men is very narrow. Women have more freedom to express themselves through “masculine” habits, but men are unable to express their “feminine” side without having their sexuality or “manliness” questioned. It’s depressing, really.

  • Lola AM

    I want my man to use chapstick and lotion!!! Also smelling and dressing nice are important!!! These are the key things I look at, and what initially attracts me to a man. Now, soft hands and waxing/shaving all hair…not what I prefer from a man.

  • T.R.

    I AGREE with Mr. Pratt whole heartedly. To womens defense (although I’m not sure if I’m defending well or not :O) most of us don’t really know what a “Man” is. That’s why Steve Harvey has a number one best seller and sir that’s why you have to explain the difference between being “well groomed” and “prancing”.

    I’m stunned any woman would tell you lotion and chapstick is not masculine. WTHeck. As ashy as we can get and it shows LOL…come on why would you tell any man in your life not to partake in lotion or chap stick. That’s just cruel and unusual punishment…LOL

    But all jokes aside. A man (or woman) who takes care of themselves lets you know how they view themselves. Now there’s a difference between being well groomed and self absorbtion.

    Personal I like a well groomed man. I don’t use the M word because I just think it’s some media word to describe what a lot of men have been doing for years: taking care of business with themselves. I love of man who can maneuver causal and professional without any problems. :O) I always say a man has to pass my suit test and my jean test.

  • Shefali

    Awesome awesome awesome post!! You should be a regular contributor here are COM, reviewing products for men. I want my man better groomed and he’s getting there…but reviews of products for men and tips would be wonderful in helping me encouraging the process along!

  • Anonymous

    I am a man. I have thick eyebrows so I pluck them, they have a tendency to want to join together, so I make sure to keep them apart. My lips become dry easy but I am never without a chap stick. I exfoliate a little, plus I shave which is basically an act of exfoliation anyway.

    Am I metro? maybe. I shave my armpits, pluck, consider shaving a 5 step process, use moisturizer daily, take care of my nails, use a good shower wash instead of soap.

    You are probably thinking I am metro but no. My hands may be soft and my touch gentle. I may spend time on my appearance. I may take care of my body. I may do all that but I am no metrosexual, I am a goth so people just consider it as a normal thing for me to do.

    So what do other guys think of me doing all that? not much, I’ve been asked for advice numerous times by “manly” men. Guys seem to want to be able to take care of themselves but few know where to begin … I know years ago I had no clue either and had no clue where to look.

  • Anonymous

    yay for groomed men! lol
    frankly, I don’t care how long a man takes to take care of himself, as long as he doesnt do it in front of me XD
    I know it sounds weird, but I avoid for instance using face masks in front of my boyfriend and stuff like that, and appreciate it if he does the same, though he’ll get some extra love if his skin feels really good XD
    Really love your post K, keep it up bro! Looking forward to the next one!

  • Rachel

    Here’s an “M” word for you that a LOT of guys need to learn–


  • Anonymous

    I often find that men who are the m-word are somewhat snobby and arrogant. I prefer a man who takes care of himself but that is what he is supposed to do. The feminine traits come when he turns his nose up at people as if applying lotion makes him a catch.

    Women do know what we want. That is a cop out that men use because they don't want to give what the woman is asking for.