In three days, it is Father’s day. I think about men’s grooming habits and skin care regimens a lot, but Father’s Day as well as two events last week have put male beauty top of mind. I have been training various clients as to why the need for men’s skin care (men have oilier skin, prefer lighter, oil-free textures; men like “manly” aromas as opposed to girlie sweet scents; men like to feel like their skin care products have been created just for them), and two of our products just arrived in the office repackaged in sleek and sexy tubes (apparently men are not fond of jars).
Every time I think about men’s skin care habits, I am reminded of the book my mother wrote on male beauty. For her book Men, What Makes them Beautiful, she spent a year doing research, i.e. interviewing men, in cabs, in bars, at work, everywhere. She interviewed any man who would talk to her about his beauty: European men, American men, young men, mature men, friends, fathers, sons, brothers, artists, business men, and men involved in the business of beauty. The conclusions she draws, while not based on statistically significant data, offer a unique glimpse into the world of men’s beauty and grooming, and show that “men look at themselves in the mirror just as much as women do – they just close the door first.”
Here are my top 10 favorite findings from her book:
1) Men love to talk about their beauty and their appearance – and are happy that someone is finally asking questions and listening to their answers.
2) All men find themselves beautiful, at least until their fifties. Not gorgeous, but definitely attractive.
3) Around their fifties, men become worried about their physical appearance – weight gain, flabbiness of the flesh, loss of hair.
4) Whether women find them beautiful or not is not important to men until their fifties (the one exception being the opinion of their mother); instead, they are above all else beautiful for themselves, and for other men.
5) The importance of women’s opinions on men and their beauty only becomes relevant in their fifties (when they become more worried about their physical appearance, see point 4).
6) Beauty is in being; to be beautiful is to be interesting – beauty for men (when looking at other men) is more than skin deep.
7) The most important part of a man’s beauty is his hair, whether he is young or old: loss of hair is associated with loss of virility, loss of control; shaving one’s head (i.e. deliberate baldness) enables men to take back control over their bodies and their virility.
8) Being a metrosexual is ok: a man’s beauty and grooming routine are finally freely discussed, debated, and affirmed.
9) The relationship of a man to his father figure is very important in the development of his image of male beauty.
10) European interviewees almost unanimously found Sean Connery to be the most attractive man alive (strength, cynicism, elegance, character beauty), while American interviewees cited Brad Pitt first (strength, self-confidence, youth, plastic beauty).
To Father’s everywhere, Happy Father’s Day. And to Men everywhere, embrace your beauty and try our newly repackaged fabulous skin care products made “For Men Only.”