Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Real Men Don't Have Time For Fancy Grooming

Back then, ‘grooming’ was an alien concept to men. “To groom for what and for whom” we would ask ourselves. Wearing the same underwear or socks for weeks-on-end without having washed them was no problem to us while deodorants and after shaves were, considered an unnecessary luxury.

If we did buy a deodorant, it was the cheapest brand that Hawker sold like Brut. And in the villages where Hawker did not sell Brut, Village Man would go to the nearest lemon tree, pluck a lemon off, slice it in half and squirt the lime juices into his armpits.

In Kampala, for our haircuts, we would not go to the salon like it is done today, but to Kinyozi. Kinyozi used to ply his trade under the mango trees behind UMA trade show grounds – the road that runs at the back of Shoprite all the way down to Cooper Motors in Naguru. There was no fanfare about it. Simply sit on a stool or ‘foam bench’ and Kinyozi would whip out a mechanical clipper that did not require power and it would all be over in less than ten minutes.

Sadly, today’s man has been spoilt by magazines like Esquire, Men’s Health and GQ. These magazines have encouraged use to pamper ourselves. They want us to look good and to wear clean underwear every day. Eek!

A couple of days ago, I was in a new salon near my house. It was clean and what caught my eye, is that Barber had a vast array of hair cutting appliances neatly laid out much like Dentist or Medical Surgeon would have their tools of the trade laid out.

During the cut, every ten seconds or so he would stop and clean out the cutter with a small shoe brush. If not, he would tilt my head to make sure he was getting the cut right.

As he cut, I sort of dozed off and sliding into a light dream, I thought I felt a brush smoothing down my eyebrows. Groggy, I opened my eyes and yes, I could have sworn I saw him brush down my eyebrows. But what happened next alarmed. He got the trimmer and began to shape and trim my eyebrows much like they do with women.

That move electrocuted me back to life and necessitated an action of the violent kind. I swung round and grabbing Barber by the shirt collar, I assured him to never brush down my eyebrows or give them a trim unless he wanted me to slit his throat. In fright he took off to the entrance to get his nerves back in order.

With the haircut done, he sunk to greater depths. He started to massage my neck. Again I turned round and assured him that real men don’t have their necks massaged and he quickly stopped.

The final straw came when he whipped out some oil to massage my fingers. That was it! I stood up and barked at him and asking him what his problem was, to which he had no response save for a puzzled and very frightened look.

Degrading and further insulting me, he asks for 10k for the cut. Yes, a staggering 10k!

What man pays 10k for a haircut? The most Kinyozi would charge is 2k! And when real men go for haircuts, a haircut is all we want – period! We don’t want pampering, having our eyebrows trimmed and brushed or having our necks and fingers massaged because we are real men – gruff, rugged and who are content to use lemon as a deodorant and wear the same underwear for weeks on end because we have not been spoilt by Esquire, Men’s Health and GQ magazines.


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