On Evolving Men
By Ernie Witham
However we actually got here, whether from the imagination of a Supreme
Being with a warped sense of humor, some kid from another galaxy who got a
deluxe home chemistry set for his birthday, or from some great big cosmic
ka-boom, there is no doubt that we are still evolving.
By we, of course, I mean us guys.
And I'm not just talking about shedding a little back hair, standing more
erect, and leaving our private parts alone while in public -- unless we are
baseball players or bowlers. I'm talking about a major evolution in the way we take care of ourselves.
Today, many us have developed true feelings, and we care what we look like
and smell like and we are not afraid to do whatever it takes to get there
and to maintain our new status quo.
Consequently, I was perusing the professional body wraps at my favorite
do-it-yourself salon supply store, trying to choose between the Tight is
Right one-piece suit with peppermint-infused river mud, and the Slim Jim
Elastiser Kit with seaweed toning gels, when a deep voice behind me said:
"Hey buddy. You wanna hand me one of those Big Bad Buff Body Loofahs?"
I carefully removed the implement from the wall and handed it to him.
"That a good one?" I asked.
"Oh yeah. Removes lots of loose flaky skin, but it's much easier on the
nether regions than the pot-scrubbing side of a kitchen sponge, which I used
to use before I found this place -- and it doesn't leave those ugly red
marks either. I like to use it at night before I exfoliate and put on my
"That makes sense to me," I said.
"What's that you got?" Deep Voice pointed at my basket.
"It's the Emergency Pedicure in a Pouch kit. My wife and I are going on an
island vacation and... " I leaned in close... "we'll be wearing flip-flops a
"Got a case of the winter feet, huh?" another guy wearing a Men's Health
t-shirt chimed in.
"Yup. Pale, pruney, and my cuticles are vastly uneven."
"Bummer. What you need is to get your nails trimmed and buffed and then use
some of that instant silkening lotion," he said. "Make your toes feel like
"Another guy joined us. "You can also get one of those all-over spray-on
tans so your toes and other hidden appendages don't look so dead. I just got
one the other day. Check it out."
He lifted his work shirt. His recently waxed chest, stomach and back were
smooth, hairless and shiny. Even the inside of his belly button was tan.
"You ought to see my butt," he said. "Healthiest it's looked in years."
"Cool," we all said, but no one actually asked to see it.
"What do you guys do for puffy eyes and premature eyebrow wrinkling?" the
Men's Health guy asked.
"I like to use this stuff that's got Japanese green tea and vitamin E in
it," Deep Voice said. "Helps fight off the damage caused by free radicals
and even shrinks spider veins. I used to have a regular road map on my nose.
Never know it now."
We checked out his prominent proboscis. It was indeed a thing of beauty.
"What about Botox?" I asked.
A hush came over the group.
Finally, Tan Guy said: "I had it done once. Spent the next few days staring
into a mirror just trying to frown. Nothing. I had the forehead of a teenage
boy -- only without the blackheads. It was truly amazing. Trouble is, my
company insurance plan won't cover it. They call it 'unnecessary.'"
"Right. Just like liposuction and hair plugs are unnecessary," the Men's
Health guy said.
There was some general grumbling.
I looked at my watch. I had to meet my Pilates trainer in fifteen minutes. I
grabbed a handful of Paulie's Personals Pore-Refining facial masks and
handed them out.
"Here's to perfect features," I said.
We all tapped tubes, then I headed off to the grocery store to get a protein
drink and a fresh cucumber for my eyelids.
It's not easy being an ever-evolving guy, but until the next big bang, what
else have we got to do?
Ernie Witham's column, "Ernie's World," appears regularly in the Montecito
Journal and Santa Ynez Valley Journal in Southen California and is
nationally syndicated by Senior Wire News Service. He is a contributing
editor for Chicken Soup Magazine and a contributing writer for seven Chicken
Soup Books. He is also on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writers
Conference http://www.sbwritersconference.com His collection of stories,
Ernie's World, the Book, was published by Fithian Press. You can read more
of his stories at http://www.erniesworld.com