Last week, I discovered a large golden envelope in my mailbox decorated with a tantalizing photo of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
The meaning of cookies continues to elude me, since there were no cookies or mention of cookies inside. But whatever.
The front of the envelope read “New Jersey Offer Exclusives” and the back touted discount offers from three companies I had never heard of:
1. Hello fresh. (The offer: 17 free meals, plus free delivery.)
2. Exterior. (Offer: Free bug blanket with purchase of outdoor furniture.)
3. Manscaped. (Offer: 20% off your first order of men’s grooming products.)
Hmmm…where to start?
I wasn’t looking for a meal plan, but I was intrigued by the Bug Shield Blanket, which is said to “magically repel bugs.”
And who doesn’t want to sit outside on a sweaty summer night swaddled in an elegant houndstooth blanket?
If you care, Outer has some really cool outdoor furniture, but, for most suburban schlubs, it’s a bit pricey. A teak and aluminum patio table with six chairs will set you back around $6,000 – about what I spent last week on gas, two steaks and a wedge of Jarlsberg.
Which brings us to Manscaped.com, a relatively new company that was offering 20% off a “performance package” of goodies to use on the…er…
Well, let’s just say they are used here and there.
The smallest trimmer, for manly ears and noses, is called The Weed Whacker.
The largest mower, designed to tidy up the lower regions, is called, yes, The Lawn Mower.
Cute names are always fun and help gentlemen avoid uttering awkward and potentially embarrassing phrases while barricaded in the bathroom.
“Honey, you’ve been here 30 minutes!” Is everything alright?”
“Yes, honey, I’m mowing the lawn!” »
“Oh, I was wondering what that noise was. Would you like a beer when you’re done? »
While you’re at it, you can also use Crop Preserver, an “anti-friction deodorant,” and Crop Reviver, a toner spray. (There is no powder in this collection, but I would suggest the name “Crop Duster”, if and when they add one.)
This package is on sale at manscaped.com for $119.99 and includes two free gifts: a travel bag and a pair of anti-chafing boxers.
All of these items are black, with sleek, clean designs to appeal to men who still struggle to accept the idea that glowing skin and hyper-masculinity go together like spray toner and Tony Soprano.
(I didn’t even know what toner was or why it might be useful after “mowing”, but apparently a good toner will remove excess oil from your lawn decorations and keep them dewy and bright throughout. throughout the day.)
As you probably already know, “beauty” products for men have traditionally been a hard sell, although not all men are opposed to their use.
In fact, just last week on the Cross Bronx Freeway, I was stuck in traffic next to a burly, bearded trucker smoking a Macanudo Maduro and practically giving a master class on using new Laura Mercier eyelash curler.
What it says: “Great results, but the improved ergonomic design takes some getting used to.
Men currently spend around $55.5 billion a year on toiletries. (Don’t ask them, though. They’ll just deny it.) And that number is expected to double by 2031.
So what gives?
For baby boomers, the gateway to these products was “long hair” – a cultural phenomenon that flew into the country on February 7, 1964, with four guys from Liverpool.
Their arrival led to a virtual explosion of hair love, from scented shampoos and conditioners to hot combs and hair dryers, as well as a hit musical titled…”Annie?”
Next comes a tidal wave of bronzers, teeth whiteners, colognes, eau de toilette and creams designed to “protect your skin from the elements” after a manly day of skiing, surfing, of sumo wrestling and/or enslavement on a hot carb.
For those marketing these products, the conventional wisdom was to pack them in dark containers – black, brown or navy blue – and make them look sleek, simple and powerful, like mid-60s fighter jets, early 70s muscle cars and late-80s stereo components.
Good names also help. There is no hair color product for men called Dye Hard with a Vengeance. (Why not?) But there’s a Bull Dog beard conditioner, Ax Sport Blast body wash, and a hand cream called Bloody Knuckles.
The latter is formulated “to fix the hands of workers, fighters and world champions”.
And don’t worry if you’re not a fighter. Just tell a few guys at the auto parts store that you use a moisturizer designed to moisturize and soften your parched, cracked hands, and one of them will punch you.