x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Grooming isn't just for your pets

The details of grooming are lost on most men so The National's self-styled expert on the subject has a go at it.

When it comes to fashion decisions, the reason men often receive a bad rap is obvious: they need constant reminders about what is acceptable. Of course, this doesn't just apply to what they should wear, but often to what they should say and how they should behave, too. Personal grooming is one of those areas in which most men do not excel. A clean appearance, however, is as simple as it sounds. Men also need to be reminded of that.

What needs to happen is that men must take a careful look in the mirror on a daily basis and question everything they see. When they see an offending follicle, a protruding hair, a tiny miscreant, a pair of scissors must be used. So women, the next time you notice something on your man that was not there last month or last week, remind him that were the situation reversed, he likely would have said something insensitive, inappropriate or crude. This is simple stuff and, to prove it, here is a grooming checklist that will last until your dying days.


Let us start at the top. The comb-over gives all men a bad reputation. It is the one weapon women have when they attack us. Your comb-over is bigger than you, it is bigger than me, it hurts us all. When you sport the comb-over it makes us all feel a little smaller; it hurts all male pride. So when you decide to shave it off, we all stand a little taller, we are all a little stronger.


Those extra-long nose hairs - there is a reason why your nose is always itchy, and that is because you have a 2cm-long hair hanging out of your left nostril and it keeps touching your top lip. This is basic training for the male-grooming neophyte.


The former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi had the longest eyebrow hairs in the history of eyebrow hairs. He could have kept his chopsticks tucked in them. No doubt, Mr Miyagi of The Karate Kid fame would have been proud of him if he had been a student. He could have caught flies with his those chopsticks in record time.


The hairy back didn't even work for this wrestling Hall of Famer. Avoid having to braid it later in life and deal with it now. I am in no way suggesting you submit to the Beckham special and go for a full waxing, but regular maintenance goes a long way.


This is what I call all the hairs that grow from your ears. Perhaps more than any other hairy outgrowth, this is the one that tells you life as you know it has changed and it is your responsibility to take care of yourself lest you be overgrown with follicles that will offend your friends and colleagues.


Now, after careful attention has been paid to attacking the insidious hairs that have made you more woolly mammoth than man, it is time to move on to a few simple tasks that can improve your appearance. When wearing a dress shirt or even an Oxford button down, please tuck your shirt in at the back. Do not walk out of the bathroom with the tail of your shirt crumpled and untucked. Use your brain and your hands and the mirror and look at yourself before leaving. That giant reflective thing that covers 75 per cent of one wall serves a purpose - so use it. Now, if you are going to wear a tie, wear it. That does not mean simply wrapping it around your neck. It means putting it on and doing your top button up and making sure three things happen: 1) that your tie cannot be seen peeking out from your collar at the back; 2) that your tie is done up completely - as is your top button; and 3) that your tie reaches the waistband of your trousers.


Biting your fingernails is possibly the worst habit a man can have. Women are always looking at a man's hand, specifically his fingernails. If that does not convince you to stop, how about exercising self control. Here is an idea`; stop eating yourself! And while we are at it, can I ask all men to stop with the nose picking (and looking at it) and the teeth picking (and eating it). As gross as what I have just written (and you have just read) may be, the act of doing it is even worse. Michael Jabri-Pickett is the foreign editor of The National. mjp@thenational.ae