Monday, July 14, 2014

Warning: 'JUST FOR MEN!'

By Peter Rodman

Me, old.
About a year ago, after noticing my disappearing face in recent photographs (and carefully determining that I was not dead yet) I decided to buy some Just for Men. 
Yup, me.  
62 years in, I was about to quit my 'purity' crusade and fake everything possible, in a mad-grab for long lost youth.  Why not, eh?  Most men my age seem to have given up and shave their heads altogether, as though an entire generation of aging niteclub bouncers suddenly appeared out of nowhere.  Everyother male boomer has either rediscovered Brylcreem and slicked it back (grown-up style)-- or at the very least foresaken the 'mullet flag' I proudly fly, to this day.  (For the record: I still call it 'a Beatle haircut.')
Me, young.

Mind you, I hadn't made up my mind to use it yet (the hair dye) but I figured I'd buy it, just in case I ever did decide to 'cover the grey' it would already be here in the house, in case of a dire (get it?) emergency. 
So one fine day, at the grocery store--after safely padding my shopping cart with more stuff than I'll ever eat (so nobody would notice the key items) I added Just for Men to my mountain of products at the check-out, an act which (thankfully) went unnoticed. 
As I glanced at the outside of the box, I saw "5 EASY MINUTES" and "EASY BRUSH IN!" and figured this was gonna be a breeze, if I ever tried it.  There was one kind for the hair, and another for the beard.  I bought 'em both.  You never know. 
Didn't open 'em...I just brought 'em home and put 'em in the bathroom cupboard, safely hidden behind roughly 250 clean washcloths. Which sorta reminded me of how I similarly hid a Playboy, when I was 15.  'Oh, how the mighty have fallen.'
Anyway, a few weeks later--just for kicks, I finally pulled out the 'beard' package, and began to read the warnings.  
Good thing it was an extended bathroom visit.

I first caught a glimpse of a teeny-tiny item at the bottom of the box, which said: "WARNING: IGNORE ALL THE FALSE ADVERTISING ABOVE! NOTHING IN LIFE IS 'EASY,' DUMBASS!  TRUST US: YOU MAY WELL *DIE* USING THIS PRODUCT --OR AT LEAST KILL THE CAT, WITH 
...or something to that effect.

Seriously, though, it did say something about selecting a special "patch" of skin you don't care about, to die dye, for the "PRELIMINARY 48 HOUR SKIN PATCH (ALERT) TEST." (I am not making this up.) Apparently if your skin is still there 48 hours after this little's a 'go!' 
I immediately concluded that this is an exercise nobody does,  written by lawyers on a "CYA" mission, to cover the cost of their next Corvette.  So I (like everyone else, no doubt) skipped that boring little 'safety' part.
"The wedding's tomorrow!" I said aloud, explaining my haste to no one. (There was no wedding tomorrow, but if there were, and I had to go to it, I wouldn't have had '48 hours' to test this stuff, right? So who does that test? Who buys this stuff and then waits 48 hours to see if it's okay first, before using it?  In short, who buys it and doesn't use it, besides me?  And how many weird-looking guys' dyed hairdos and beards have you seen at weddings? The answer is "Lots." So obviously, nobody's doin' the '48 hour' waiting test.) 

The real fun comes once you read the stuff inside the box.  
That's where you'll find the real directions. They come in a conveniently folded paper (obviously designed by the World Origami Champion) which, once unfolded, doubles as a bathroom-size dropcloth no thicker than tissue, giving new meaning to the term 'paper thin.' (Guess they figured we could save time, by reading both sides at once!)
As I unfolded this tome, it was beginning to dawn on me that coloring my beard would be no simple operation at all.
Turns out you're supposed to mix two tubes of this yuck together, and it would help to have a basement laboratory like Vincent Price did--or at least, a bunsen burner.
Brian Wilson "BEFORE"
 With each supposedly 'EASY' step, there were enough warnings to make Dostoevsky seem succinct.
 To summarize...
Step 1: "AVOID getting ANY mix on ANY surfaces whatsoever, as said surface/s (like your sink) will end up with a more persuasive beard than the guy on the cover of this box." 
Brian Wilson "AFTER"
Step 2: "NOTE: Once mixed, use immediately. Then, DISCARD ANY UNUSED PRODUCT! This is important because you will probably need a second application, and we'd hate for you to actually have any of this stuff available for that, thereby precluding another purchase." 

Step 3:  Do NOT massage product in with your hands, unless you've decided to personally recreate The Jazz Singer
Step 4: "IMPORTANT!  TIME YOURSELF! Even though the gloves will now be entirely covered in black dye (and your watch is underneath them) do NOT touch the bathroom doorknob, to go looking for another clock in the house! Just count.  It's easy: 1, 2...." 
Step 5: "Rinse product off with warm water in the shower, until the water runs clear...or until the tub is an 'even' black, which will add to your bachelor cache." 
Step 6: "Towel off as usual. (As with all the other losers using this junk, we'll just assume your towels and linens and leather couches are already black.)" 
SIDE NOTE: If you google 'images' for "Jerk in a Corvette,"this
 image is in the Top 10 results, worldwide. Try it. I'm not kidding!

In the end, I choked.  Just couldn't do it.
I decided to put everything back in the box and save it until my facial features have finally disappeared altogether.  So who knows, maybe I'll live to dye another day.
A year later, I'm still lookin' at the guy on the box, who looks almost as ridiculous as that relief pitcher for the Dodgers--you know, the one with the pitch-black Halloween 'mustache-and-beard kit' on his face.  (Brian Wilson, indeed.)
For me, the jury's still out on this stuff.  Toss it, or use it?  
For now, I'll have to defer. 
I simply cannot afford the Corvette, that goes with it. 

Copyright 2014 by Peter Rodman. All Rights Reserved.

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