‘Me?’ I asked, giving my stubble a thoughtful rub, ‘You want me to write on what would make men get rid of their evening stubble?’ We looked at each other and I could see that there was a tinge of confusion and another hint of a smile thinking who would win. Well, laughter meandered freely just a couple of seconds later and once we were done with it, my wife asked, ‘You’re the one who is always out to impress the girls, right? So you’re the one who should be writing a post on what to do if you want women to crave for you. Be the real consultant for the men folk out there!’
I was flummoxed and all I could say was a feeble, ‘I write…’
‘That’s right,’ replied Specky, my wife, and then added, ‘you know something? You write only when you understand an issue well. By this logic, you’re the one who understands your stubble well. So write on whether it should be there or not.’
It was simple for her to say that men understand stubbles… but then isn’t a woman the one who understands why she would want to crave for nicely shaved husbands or friends? Despite these thoughts, I told her to wait while I did some fast thinking.
After a few minutes of intense thought, I got up and told my wife, ‘Let’s play a game. I try to surprise you with my reasons for shaving or for not shaving, for letting stubble be there or for not allowing it to exist. You do the same… and the one with a better surprise wins.’
She agreed and went off to the Study. I, as usual, sat perched on my favourite chair in the dining room, to do my thinking and strategizing. I opened my laptop and in no time had searched some excellent material. This was a study done by some genius called Mannes, who showed ‘participants images of four men. Each man was shown twice, once with hair and once without. Not only were the men perceived as more dominant when they were shown digitally balded, but they were also viewed as nearly an inch taller and 13% stronger.’ Mannes concluded that ‘the shaved look is more attractive than the visibly balding look. So men suffering natural hair loss may enhance both their dominance and attractiveness by shaving.’
‘Thank God, it is I who stumbled on this piece of mind-boggling research,’ I mumbled, and quickly closed that browser tab to go on to something that actually said something positive about stubbles!
‘I think I’ll try out the quote-route,’ I said to myself. This was because it is easiest to prove a point with your gun on someone else’s shoulder. So then began a serious search for the best anti-shave quotes. But try as I might, they were all adamant to go on and sing panegyrics for the clean shaven look. ‘What is it with this clean shaven look?’ I angrily muttered, ‘Why do men show off their stubbles and then and make a public announcement that they don’t really care about them?’ I then read what Patrick Dempsey wrote: ‘I hate shaving. It’s much easier to just do a little stubble, but my wife and daughter like it when I’m clean-shaven. If you see me with a clean face, then you know I’m in the kissing mode!’ For a moment I thought I had found my argument and wanted to shout to Specky to begin the contest… but again, thank God I waited until I had read the entire quote. I summarily rejected Jack Kemp and what he wrote: ‘Winning is like shaving – you do it every day or you wind up looking like a bum.’ I found even Robert Morley a trifle mad because he seemed to have ‘little patience with anyone who is not self-satisfied. I am always pleased to see my friends, happy to be with my wife and family, but the high spot of every day is when I first catch a glimpse of myself in the shaving mirror.’ Even John Updike found himself go back into some idyllic past moment ‘upon shaving off one’s beard’ and as ‘the scissors cut the long-grown hair; the razor scrapes the remnant fuzz. Small-jawed, weak-chinned, bug-eyed, I stare at the forgotten boy I was.’ Well, I told myself, this was as far as I could go… these intellectuals could never be depended upon to protect the stubble-fascination that some of us real men have. No, not that I sport one… truth is that I don’t. It is probably my years in wearing the OGs (Olive Greens) that gave me this penchant for a twice daily shaving regimen. I just wanted to protect my stubble-d brethren… but the world was just not letting me do that.
Just then Specky ambled in with a victorious smile on her face. She said, ‘I just concluded an experiment… and I suppose it proves that men would actually agree to shave ten times daily if a woman would only declare that she’d then crave for them!
‘Well,’ I said, ‘let us see what evidence you have because I have none to show that men really and truly want to grow a stubble. They probably do it because of either laziness or simply because they don’t care.’
Specky then went on to show me a series of tweets that she had just sent with the #ShaveorCrave hashtag in a twitter contest and was declared one of the winners by @GilletteIndia.
I carefully read the series of tweets:
‘Sliding down the sensual highway together needs a man to be well-shaved and a woman who craves for it! #ShaveOrCrave @GilletteIndia’
‘Bristling emotions come only to smooth faces! 🙂 #ShaveOrCrave @GilletteIndia’
‘There’s a whole new life waiting beyond the bristles! Just shave and… let the show beginnnnnn… #ShaveOrCrave @GilletteIndia’
‘A slight touch on a smooth skin lets out the genie of cravings within! So shave well… shave every day!! #ShaveOrCrave @GilletteIndia’
‘Shave daily.. & I’ll crave daily! 🙂 #ShaveOrCrave @GilletteIndia’
‘Interesting tweets,’ I said, ‘but what are you really trying to prove?’
‘Well,’ she declared, like any winner is prone to, ‘in barely half an hour I have not just managed to win a prize in a contest but have also increased my followers on twitter by a huge number… almost two hundred!’ As she said this she twirled and whirled her hands about and what she said was that men do want to be craved by women… and that they’d actually go ahead and shave many times to get rid of even a trace of a stubble! She added that most of her new followers had declared on twitter that they would shave daily… and in the evenings too… and would never let a stubble touch their skin… if only she would ‘follow’ them back!
‘So I’m now following them back,’ she said, ‘and Gillette ought to be pleased because I’ve converted a lot of stubble-fans into nicely shaven gentlemen today!’
Well frankly, I wasn’t so sure her followers were ‘nicely shaven gentlemen’ but yes, she did prove a point here. Specky, who was silently watching my thought-provoking silence, said, ‘Men need to have a very Biblical attitude to this shaving issue. The way I’d put it is they all need to follow: Do unto yourself as you wish others to do unto themselves. What this means is if you want women to be smooth, you ought to be willing to do the same.’
I asked, ‘What if you just enjoy having hair on your chin, chest, and legs?’
‘Let the fussy ones remain where they are,’ she replied, ‘they’ll learn when the time is right. Anyway, they’re probably the ones who spend their evenings alone.’ I smiled at the thought of so many of my social media friends who were so proud of their profile pictures that had an obviously nurtured stubble! Well, maybe Specky was right in calling them lonely heroes who would sooner or later join the ranks of the clean-shaven battalion!
‘However,’ Specky began after a break, ‘what is more important to me to be with a guy who spends more time with me and I wouldn’t want him forever in front of some mirror shaving away his hours!’ She smiled… as we snuggled closer than a stubble would ever permit!
My series of 10 posts on smelly stubbles:
The stubble debate
The tricky twins!
Men in pursuit
Part and parcel
Twenty-four years later
07 January 2013