Masculine identity can be a tricky thing. Believe it or not, but men can be pretty insecure from time to time. I myself had a period that lasted a good eight years where I was totally fearful of being caught with dandruff. The ads made it clear that the ultimate shame was to be seen with a few flakes, and any potential mate who saw them would run screaming in the opposite direction.  This phobia informed my shampoo choices for far too long. Luckily, I got through that stage, and landed in a more level place where now I seek only shampoo that smells like coconuts. Ahh, lovely coconuts…..

Recently though, the latest advertising assault on my self image is the notion of excessive, meaning unwanted, body hair. Somehow, the realization has now been planted that if I have too much…scratch that…..any more body hair than a 8 year old boy  I am somehow less desirable (and more pungent) than other men. While I am confident my more self-assured forefathers would have casually dismissed such feminine attention to grooming, my twenty-first century ego means I get to obsess over naturally occurring back hair. It’s not like I’m the abominable snowman or Robin Williams yet somehow I am buying into the frightening notion that when naked I must resemble a marble Greek god or at worst, one of those guys on the billboards for the Man to Man chat lines.

That’s where the Phillips Norelco Bodygroom and their pitch-perfect salesman enter the game. You have to see this guy to believe him. No doubt the result of a drunken union between Mrs. Wormer and Otter from “Animal House” our cheesy, smarmy and obnoxious frat boy strolls onto screen wearing nothing more than a white terry robe and a smirk. He proceeds to go into great detail about grooming every square inch of one’s body, hitting the obvious areas, like the back and the chest, before shooting for the moon somewhat literally I’m afraid. As he details the many other areas recommended for attention from the Bodygroom we luckily don’t get to hear every word he speaks as the more naughty bits are bleeped out, while various fruit, vegetable or nut graphics flash beside him instead. Believe me it is crystal clear just what our friend is talking about. Go to and see it yourself. You will either be thoroughly entertained or absolutely horrified. There is no middle ground on this one.

The commercial definitely hits the right note of absurdity. No guy really wants to do this sort of thing. It’s only down real deep in that insecure little boy heart we all know and love that such obscure thoughts exist, teasing us that maybe our significant other might like us just a wee bit better if we trimmed the “hedge” a bit. Norelco found that hidden spot, targeted it with a laser, and gave us “Chad.” Now, I don’t know if that’s actually his name or not, but really, there is no name more suited to this fellow than “Chad.”  And if your name is Chad, well, I’m sorry, but what can I say? I got stuck with the sandwich guy’s image for my name, and there’s nothing I can do about that either.

No, I fear that the somewhat pornographic attention being paid to grooming the male body these days is wrong on so many levels. I have no problem being neat and clean but men just don’t need to spend so much time focused on their external selves. Trust me, adding such non-traditional areas of detail focus to the male repertoire can only lead to a significant rip in the time-space continuum. Man generally worries about sex, food and fighting. Add or subtract from that list and who knows what might happen.

Thanks a lot Norelco. Just when I get free of that friggin’ Head and Shoulders crutch now I have to spend the next how many years convincing myself that personal body hair is not a grotesque deformity to be ashamed of. Male body hair used to be a rather wondrous and time-honoured indication of visible manhood. How sad is the fiasco it has now become.

Fear not for me, though. I will make it through. As a man, I plan to be more than ready to fight my way through the demon hordes of self-doubt and insecurity.

Until that time officially comes though I did notice that the Phillips Norelco Bodygroom can be safely used in the shower. I can almost smell the fresh coconuts already. 

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