What I Did On My Summer Vacation.

I have never really been a fan of summer. Doubly so, since I have lived in Florida for the past couple of years. (I try not to stereotype, but there’s really no reason for anyone to actually live in Florida. Sure, a fraction of the general population leaves something to be desired, but nothing is helped by the fact that the Sun is essentially trying to kill everything that attempts to go outside between the months of March and December).

What also doesn’t help my general dislike of summer is the fact that it’s been designated as the time of year for vacations, as well as for kids to think that they should get a break from life. I’ve also thought that those two factors were absolute bullshit. Vacations should happen whenever it is appropriate and economically convenient for the person or people involved.

As far as kids thinking that they’re entitled to a break, fuck that noise. My kids don’t get a break. Every year, my wife and I have made a point of securing workbooks for our children for the grade that they would be entering in, in the fall. You know what? They have been consistently ‘better off’ for it. I’m not Hitler about it. They devote an hour a day and they also help out around the house. Other than that, they are generally free to do what they want as long as no one, and nothing, dies.

For the record, 2 out of the 3 have maintained ‘honor roll’ status (the 3rd has been a solid ‘B’ student). Point of fact? When I was a kid, my parents thought I should be able to “enjoy” my summer and “do what I want”. The following school year was always an educational nightmare for me because I retained little of what I learned the year before and no one was making sure that I was doing anything intellectually stimulating (defined as, the opposite of what I was doing: watching reruns of My Favorite Martian and playing endless hours of video games).

I digress. 

This past summer, through an unusual, but expected set of circumstances, my wife, a Captain in the USAF, received orders to relocate herself and her family to Japan.

That’s right: I am now littering the Internet from the Land of the Rising Sun. (Fun fact: while I haven’t confirmed this, I’m fairly certain that Japan is referred to as that because THE SUN RISES AT 4 IN THE FUCKING MORNING DURING THE SUMMER). Suffice it to say, there will be more writings about Japan, our journey here, and the usual drek I tend to prattle on about.

In sum, I will leave you with how I found out that we were moving to Japan. You may get a chuckle out of it, or it may confirm what you all ready know about me (that I’m an idiot). Regardless this is EXACTLY what happened. 

One day in the kitchen of my former, Florida abode, I was using our food processor to get down on some dinner prep before I had to pick up my kids from school. After I had cleaned up and was ready to leave, I go to put the food processor away and the damn thing slipped out of my hands and hit the floor. Rather than try to save it or perhaps catch it on the rebound, I got the fuck out of the way because it’s heavy as hell and can easily break a foot when it is in a gravitationally dangerous state.

After I regained composure, I surveyed the damage.

This is a present-day photo

Naturally, I was sweating bullets because my wife had bought this a while back. The name plate was popped out and, as you can see, there was a massive crack in the housing. My first thought was, “Welp: I’m fucked. There’s no way that this is going to work”. After I checked the remaining integrity of the base and popped the name plate back in, I plugged it back in to see how bad it was.

It worked perfectly fine. I switched out multiple attachments and it was still fine. My next move, I thought, was fairly obvious. 

I packed up everything nice and neat, put it in the one cabinet that she’d never go in, and buried it under other kitchen gadgets. All of this was done, thanks to the thought “I’ll blame it on the movers the next time we move”.

Five minutes later, I got a text from my wife saying that we were moving to Japan this summer.

A survey? A SURVEY! Help a fella out with a few clicks, PLEASE!

Greetings!

In an effort to continue creating a resource from which men (and women should they be interested) can pull from in regards to parenting and whatnot, I have decided to petition you, good reader, for advice.

What would you like me to write about? 

Please take a few seconds to click through this survey and let me know.

If you have a specific topic that you would like covered, don’t hesitate to let me know.

You can do so in the comments section at the top of this post, the contact from just underneath the banner at the top of the page, or the ‘other’ selection within the survey.

Thanks for giving me your thoughts.

And as always, thanks for reading.

One reason why more men aren’t staying at home with their children.

In my quest to make a blog that would provide a working, and accessible encyclopedia of knowledge that most men should have, I did what I normally do when I am writing about something: I got on my library’s website and I requested every book I could find on any given subject related to men (manhood, staying at home with the kids, fatherhood, etc).

A couple of weeks go by, and the books I had requested started to trickle back in to my house.

One such book had a single sentence in it that, for me, summed up why there hasn’t been a great influx in the amount of men willing to stay at home with their kids. Before I go on, I will not name the author nor will I name the book from whence such quote came. Additionally, I would like to put in print for the record, that I do not enjoy “trolling” someone or generally speaking ill of someone if they aren’t in front of me. Yes, that’s right: I’m that type of asshole.

“Here’s another example illustrating that men have lost the battle of the sexes: a modern hero needs to be able to hold, feed, and change a baby.”

Son of a bitch. This sentence is chock-a-block with things that piss me off!

Please allow me to be the Mr. Peabody to your Sherman as we jump back in the Way Back Machine (aka the Internet/Wikipedia) to find out exactly what the “battle of the sexes” was.

Let us look back 41 years ago. The date was May 13, 1973. The place was Houston, Texas. The “Battle of the Sexes” was in actuality a tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King (Billie being the female, in case you were too lazy to click around…). It was one of a series of three matches that pitted man against woman.

The first match, won by Riggs, made him a household name. As such, the promoters of the next match labeled it a “battle of the sexes” because of all of the dick-wagging that Riggs did prior to the meet between himself and King in Houston.

In Houston, Ms. King took Riggs over her knee and spanked him like the entitled shit he was.

In the years to come, there was rampant speculation that Riggs threw the match on purpose because he was up to his ass in debt to the mob.

Since then the phrase “battle of the sexes” has been misused and abused ad naseum.

Now, lets’ take a look at the last half of that shit-pile of a sentence: “…a modern hero needs to be able to hold, feed, and change a baby”.

Well, yeah, yeah they do. If there smart enough to figure out what to do with their penis when it changes into it’s “active state”, then they ought to be man enough to deal with any of the numerous outcomes that may arise when their ding-a-ling transfers back to it’s passive state.

When men start to think like a “hero” is usually when shit starts to go wrong. Furthermore, heroes don’t acknowledge the fact that they do heroic shit. They live their lives by doing what they think is the right thing.

When a man becomes a father, he should do the right thing and accept the fact that he is responsible for the life that he brought into the world and that he should make it his fucking duty to be the best damn father that he can be.

That includes the basics like holding, feeding, and changing a baby.

Ladies, want your man to stay at home with the kids so you can have “the career”? You better make damn sure he doesn’t believe ignorant things like he’s too good to take care of a child that the two of you brought into the world. 

How I grocery shop. Part 1.

I don’t remember the first time that I went grocery shopping as a stay at home parent. What I do remember is what led up to this being my responsibility: my wife and I would constantly quibble about who’s responsibility it was. She wanted it to still be her’s (even though she was working full time) and I wanted it to be mine (because I had the time to get it done).

Seems kind of stupid, but she had good reason not to trust me: I was raised on junk food.

My parents, although well meaning, didn’t know shit when it came to food and how it logically impacts your health. Things like “what to eat vs. what not to eat” and “how much is enough?” were ideals that were never really impressed upon me. I suppose that if I were to put myself in their shoes, they naively saw that I derived some sort of fucked up happiness through gorging myself. However, through this naivety I became the token fat kid in the neighborhood. I thinned out as I got older but my need to eat garbage has never really gone away. As a result, my weight has gone up and down like a bride’s nightie.

All of that aside, throughout the years, I have refined my grocery shopping approach. When I first started out, I was able to feed a family of 5 for $120 a week. I accomplished this by being the king of boxed food at the time. Pretty easy to be cost effective and time effective when that’s the case.

As I have progressed in my knowledge of food and have come to terms with the fact that fruits and vegetables have to be a priority, our grocery bill has inflated slightly to somewhere between $150 to $190 a week.

FYI: I don’t do coupons. Too much of a pain in the ass. Also, 65% of my cart is normally produce. Sadly, I have yet to shop somewhere that actually has coupons for their fruits and veggies.

That’s still pretty good if I do say so myself.

“But what about meals and planning meals and shouldn’t I make shit to eat that everyone will like?” I’m sure you’re thinking that if you haven’t all ready.

Yes, you have to plan meals (It’s a part of your job). No, they don’t have to be things everyone will like. And no, you don’t have to plan meals every night of the week (that shit gets exhausting real quick). In short:

FUCK THAT NOISE.

You are in charge of all aspects of the food that comes into your home. Not your wife. Not your kids. You. While you may want to please everyone, it’s fucking impossible. There’s always going to be someone around the table who doesn’t like the dish you put in front of them, or they don’t like something that is a part of the meal. They’ll get over it.

Personally, I aim for three planned meals a week. I could do more, but two out of my three kids have places to be in the evenings. As such, I have “throw away” meals built into dinner time for the week.

“Throw away meals”? These are things that I can make in under 40 minutes that generally don’t come out of a box and can be considered health conscious.

In sum, grocery shopping is a snap if you have a system in place.

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See how useful this motherfucker is? Holds recipes for the week like a fucking champ!

Envelopes are your friend.

Envelopes are your friend.

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Seriously, they are. Hell of a lot harder to lose a grocery list if it’s written all over an envelope.

 Behold the might of the Envelope in all of it’s splendor!

One glorious day, I turned around and saw them: the envelopes that I have had since I have moved in with my wife. They were just sitting there, taking up space and collecting dust on a shelf. Then I had a thought. I thought:

I’m gonna use the fuck out of them. 

For real: The best thing that I have ever done in terms of my system for grocery shopping was switching over to envelopes.

I have tried scraps of paper. Lost every single one of them.

I have tried a “food notebook”. Way too cumbersome.

I have tried creating lists in my “smart phone”. Also way too cumbersome because you have to turn the fucking thing on and off. While it seems like your trying to get your monies worth out of something that you have invested in, you’re really not: it’s just another reason to be tethered to something that has the potential to brainwash you.

Shopping has been a breeze since then. I don’t have to worry about remembering if I brought my list. I don’t have to fuck around with something that is unwieldy, and I certainly have gained some distance from my fucking phone.

Got a shopping system that works for you? Share in the comments section at the top of this post!

My adventures in discipling my childrens. Part 2.

I think that at this point, I should note that I do not enjoy discipling my children.

It would be nice if we all lived in a world where everyone respected everyone else and we were all aware of how our actions affected the lives of those in our immediate environment.

Sadly, that is not the case at all. 

From the moment we escape our mother’s womb, like the trapped miner’s that we all are, our curiosity is what guides us. For good reason, too: it’s the only tool we have at our disposal that helps us learn.

FACT: babies drop things because they want to know if the thing in their immediate reach makes a sound. 

Ever have that happen to you? A baby is in the high chair and the little fucker knocks all of it’s toys on the floor. Then, like a good Samaritan, you pick the stuff up for it because you think it’s an accident. Then it turns it into a game that you get sucked into every 5 minutes? Good times. 

Eventually the kid(s) get older but that curiosity is still there. It’s just evolved into a version boundary extension and seeing what they can get away with. This is the time of their life when their identity really starts to take shape.

More often than not, the kid will show an interest in things that you, as a parent, can completely get behind (e.g sports, music, being romantically interested in stuff, etc.). Sometimes, they’ll do a lot of stupid shit that makes you, as a parent, really wonder if they do share your genetics. And on occasion, they’ll do something so astoundingly dumb, that you, as a parent, will feel like a failure.

If you are reading this and you don’t have kids, or maybe you are on the fencepost, please know that it’s not as scary as it sounds. It’s just part of the ride that you bought the ticket for. 

Last week, I posted a document that I drew up for my eldest because she got her ass grounded this past summer. I made a point of spelling everything out for her because she had gotten grounded before and the groundings never really went anywhere: no conclusion was reached, she didn’t really seem to care about the effect of what she did, did to those around her, closure was nowhere to be found. It was just a waste of time for everyone.

Also, I welcomed the opportunity because I wanted to write up something where I got to use the word “redacted” and have footnotes. 

In sum, the grounding worked to an extent. There’s been hiccups since the actual grounding, but nothing monumental.

She understands how her behavior affects everyone else. She understands that when things build up like they did, she needs to do something positive about it. That’s why the grounding was as structured as it was and why it included all of the holistic things and educational things that it did. In the grand scheme of things, I was trying to arm her with weapons that she could use when she felt life start to close in around her.

Grounding your child is a tightrope all parents have to walk. If there is one thing that I would like to impart it’s this: keeping your balance is easy. Just make sure you leave as much of your own opinions out of the grounding as possible. The grounding is about your child and what’s been informing their behavior. Not why the kid won’t fit into the box that you made for them inside of your head. 

My adventures in disciplining my childrens. Part 1.

It’s bound to happen eventually: your kid(s) is going to do something stupid and you, as the responsible adult, are going to have to deal with it. 

We, as a society, are past the days of beatings. That’s right: the only tool left at your disposal is ‘the grounding’. 

One day, I had had enough of my eldest child’s shit. (She’s 11, a cheerleader, and self-identifies as a pre-teen. I can’t help but pucker at the thought of that previous sentence).  

What follows is the result of said shit. 

In the following days, I will post what the results from this particular grounding as well as what I have concluded from grounding my child.

**********

Grounding of [REDACTED]: July 28, 2014

 

[REDACTED], on this day, you have been grounded, not for a specific reason, but for scores of reasons, including but not limited to: arguing over petty things, talking back, bullying, being bossy, being selfish, showboating[1], not listening, being rude, fishing for compliments[2], not acting your age[3], being ungrateful, etc.

SECTION 1.

 

In the days of the dinosaur, children were grounded for one specific reason. Example: a child did something wrong and was punished for it (generally speaking, things were taken away, privileges revoked… Basically, the parent decided the punishment that fit the crime). As your grounding is a little more complex in nature, you will be un-grounded when you have eliminated all traces of the items mentioned in the previous paragraph. If it takes forever, then that is on you.

SECTION 2. 

 

On a daily basis, you will be expected to:

  1. Write in a journal. Daily. YOU WILL NOT: draw in this journal, color in this journal, or do something stupid with it[4]. In the beginning, you will address each point in paragraph one as your journal entries (ex. One daily journal entry will address being rude. You will write down everything that comes to your mind about that; why you are rude, why people are rude, what the end result of someone being rude is, so on and so forth).  After you have addressed all points, you will still be expected to free write in your journal. Daily. Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in. 
  2. Meditate. Daily. For no less than 15 mintues a day. You will sit comfortably in your room, with your eyes closed, door open and you will breathe deeply. You will listen to the sound of your breath and you will focus on your breathing. If your mind wanders, that’s ok: just bring your focus back to your breathing. Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in. 
  3. Keep your room, and your person[5] clean and organized. You will no longer spend hours upon hours cleaning your room because “you didn’t feel like” putting things away nor will you skip on personal hygiene because you “were in a rush”.  Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in. 
  4. Practice the things that you need to practice for cheer tech. This includes, but is not limited to: warming up properly, and working on your cheer tech moves. Upon completion of said warm up and cheer tech moves, you will then complete two rounds of “7 minutes fitter” and one round of “Simply Yoga” (all ready downloaded!).  A word about “Simply Yoga”, for the first week, it will be allowed that you only complete the 20 minutes segment. After the first week, you will be expected to vary your yoga routine (ex. A day of 40 minutes, a day of 20, a day of 60 minutes, etc). If you cannot perform a specific pose modify it in a way that will allow you to until you can complete said pose. Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in. 

YOU WILL NOT ALLOW THE COMPLETION OF THESE FOUR TASKS TO INTERFERE WITH THE DAILY OPERATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD. THIS CAN BE DEFINED AS A PARENT ASKING YOU TO DO SOMETHING AROUND THE HOUSE AND YOU SAYING THAT YOU HAVEN’T COMPLETED ANY OF THE PREVIOUS FOUR POINTS AS A MEANS TO GET OUT OF WHATEVER THE PARENT ASKED YOU TO DO. Failure to follow this guideline will result in a deepening of the trouble that you are all ready in.

SECTION 3. 

 

Upon daily completion of the previous four points, you will be allowed to:

  1. Create art.
  2. Read for pleasure.
  3. Use your tablet for informative measures[6]
  4. Fraternize with [REDACTED] and [REDACTED].
  5. Listen to music that you wouldn’t normally listen to. [7]
  6. Sit outside.
  7. Watch documentaries (not reality television. Ex: River Monsters) on Netflix. YOU WILL NOT DOCUMENTARY HOP (ex: start one documentary and then get bored with it, moving on to another one, etc).
  8. Read before bedtime.
  9. (Twice a week) Skype with the [REDACTED] for 30 minutes.  YOUR GROUNDING IS ABSOLUTELY NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. The limit of twice a week is set in hopes that you will actually converse with the members of said family and not resort to “WAH. PANCAKES”.
  10. Play your DS.

YOU DO HAVE TO ASK TO DO THESE THINGS.

IN SUMMARY.

While you may feel that you have the weight of the world on your shoulders now, rest assured, there are plenty of children in the world who have it a whole lot worse than you ever did, or ever will, for that matter.

The time has been taken to put this grounding in writing to eliminate any doubt of what can and cannot be done as well as to fully address the problem(s) at hand.

This grounding will not be reversed overnight. Nor will it be reversed in a week.  The daily completion of points 1 through 4 (in SECTION 2) will aid you in your journey.  As stated in SECTION1, it’s on you now. You have to do the work.

 


[1] Defined as: “HEY LOOK AT ME! AREN’T I GREAT ISN’T THIS THING THAT I CAN DO WONDERFUL??!??”

[2] Defined as: “I did (this thing): WASN’T THAT NICE OF ME?”

[3] Defined as: “WAH! PANCAKES!”

[4] Defined as: damaging the journal in any way, or writing in larger than normal handwriting in an attempt to go finish the journal quickly.

[5] Defined as: not trying to grow a beard in your armpits, nor having “Michael Jackson” legs.

[6] Defined as: looking stuff up for the expansion of your mind, listening to podcasts (provided that they are appropriate in nature), etc.

[7] Defined as: everything that you wouldn’t hear on 96.5

The Story of Daniel J. Burgers.

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There is no other meal staple that encapsulates being a husband, a father, a man, more succinctly than the hamburger. I’d even go so far as to say that you could tell a lot about a man given the state of his burger making skills.

Jump in the Way Back machine with me, Sherman, as we go back to the first time that I got a wild hair up my ass to make burgers for my family. 

It was nearly 2 years ago. I was in a rut as far as making dinner was concerned and I was rather bothered by it.

You see, cooking for me at that time was my meditation. The kids were still young (and if I am not mistaken, this was the year that they were home-schooled. More on that later.)

When it was time to make dinner the tone of the entire day for me changed for me when I got into the kitchen. The kids knew not to fucking bother me when I was cooking and they also knew not to act like damn fools because if I had to stop what I was doing, it was guaranteed that I’d go ghetto on their little asses.

(For the record, I still hold them to those standards to this day.)

At the time, my wife was against ground beef and meat based dinners (which was and is, perfectly valid) but I needed to do something. I needed to branch out. So I decide that I’m going to make burgers.

Yes, that’s right: I was 3 years into being a stay at home parent before I fucked with ground beef. 

Fuck everything that you have ever heard about ground beef. Seriously, just forget it. In terms of versatility, ground beef in unparalleled. Hamburgers, lasagna, pasta dishes, meat balls, chili, tacos… You can do a lot with this shit.

Burger night rolls around and the recipe that I consulted told me that you can basically put anything in your burgers (beans, veg, cheese, fruit, etc) and still have it taste good as long as the seasoning you use doesn’t fuck everything up.

(Seriously, take it as gospel.)

Regardless, I decided a chopped up onion (it just felt right) and conservative seasoning was the way to go. The end result was a pretty decent burger for my first time out.

Cut to a few days later. It was lunch time and I didn’t have any buns so I decide to make a “burrito burger” out of the left over burgers. Everything came out good, so I decided to Instagram that shit (because at the time, it wasn’t that obnoxious to do so).

It took my sister to point out to me that our father used to do the same thing.

At this point he had been dead for about 10 years.

Boom. Not only did my burgers have a name, they brought back vague memories came back to me of when I was a small boy and it was Dad’s turn to cook (this was 30+ years ago).

Next up: I'll take you through making burgers on your own. It's easier than you think.

Next up: I’ll take you through making burgers on your own. It’s easier than you think.

Have pleasant food-related (or perhaps, induced) memories? Don’t be shy, share them in the comments section at the top of this post!

On the need for silliness in a serious world. (NSFW).

As a parent, stay at home parent, working parent, or general denizen of the earth, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of taking everything way too seriously. I battle with this daily.

My home is located in a social desert (e.g. there’s nothing but urban sprawl, shopping malls, and people I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with) and I live in a part of the Continental United States where the sun is a crushing ball of hate 7 months out of the year. As a result of those factors I am alone 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, and I don’t go outside all that much. I’m not complaining, those are just the facts.

When it’s just you and your thoughts, it doesn’t take much for the trap to be sprung and all of a sudden you’re on that slippery slope that is above the chasm of seriousness. One misstep and you’re thinking about all of the shit that you’ve been trying to ignore that other people have perpetrated. This has been my daily battle for the past 2 years.

As such, I always try to amuse myself. 

Prior to my acceptance of being the parent who stays at home I was a member of the retail workforce. One of the jobs that I occupied was that of a field representative of a now defunct company who provided outsourced maintenance to Home Depots.

One day I had a business meeting. Upon the conclusion of said meeting, I was walking my then boss (and his lackey) out to their automobiles. It was a nice spring day and for some reason, the area had seen a spike in the bee population. Seriously, the little fuckers were everywhere.

As we were exiting the building, I was concluding my plan for success and out of the corner of my eye, I spied a bee buzzing it’s way towards my left arm. Without hesitating, I left out a deafening “HYAH!!!”, karate chopped the little fucker, and concluded my spiel.

When I had finished talking, my boss immediately inquired:

Getting kids to do things: putting away clothes

Any parent, let alone a stay-at-home Dad, needs to be a good communicator. You need to know what to say and when to say it.

Let me set the stage for you: 3 years ago one of the things that I have struggled with up until a couple of months ago, was getting my oldest daughter (who was 7 going on 40 at the time) to put away her clothes properly. This had been something that was a sore point for both me and my wife since we started having our daughter put away her clothes. (She was 5 when we started this agonizing process.)

Both together and on our own, my wife and I had taken the time to point out what article of clothing should be put away ‘where’ and what should be hung up on a hanger as opposed to what we were ok with being folded and put away in a drawer.

Our daughter speaks English. She’s not blind. There’s nothing holding her back from doing all of the normal, physical things that 7-year-old children do. She just chose not to put away her clothes the right way most of the time.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s been able to do it right the first time every so often but for the most part, she would do everything in her power to do it the wrong way. I would find dresses balled up behind her desk, underwear stashed underneath the bathroom sink… My personal favorites were the multiple times when she would cram everything that needed to be folded into one bin.

We’ve taken stuff away. We’ve threatened with grounding. We’ve made her do it over and over and over again. Then we thought we were doing something wrong. So we (my wife and I) and reevaluated our daughters clothing arrangements and made it ‘idiot proof’. Nothing was working. We had gotten to the point where we thought what might be considered effective, might not be appropriate.

It was after the last ‘idiot-proofing’ (what you see in the following picture) that my wife and I had our last straw. It was more of the same thing. Clothes stashed, knickers hidden, dresses barely on the hanger in the first place.

While my wife was ripping apart our daughters closet again, I calmly and severely reminded our child of the last room that she occupied. Prior to living where we are now, our daughter had to share a room with her younger brother (he’s 4 now) and her younger sister (she’s 2 now). It was a small room, taken up mainly by a bunk bed and crib that she, our eldest daughter, was in charge of keeping neat and tidy. It was something that she was able to do with great ease as the 3 of them only had a handful of personal belongings in it.

I told her quite plainly that it would be the same situation. Only now, it would be the 3 of them all in one room, with 3 separate beds, and all of their possessions. And she would be in charge of cleaning all of it. Regardless of ‘who’ made ‘what’ mess.

She understood me quite clearly and has long been aware of the fact that I never bluff. Her closet along with her room has never been a problem since.

In Which, I Talk About My Adventures in Body Hair Grooming.

Shortly after our world had stepped over the threshold into the 2000’s, man-scaping became a ‘thing’. Men, once hairy of forearm, were spotted out in public working on their farmer’s tan. Father’s once ashamed to sit on their front porch on a hot day, without a shirt, could now do so and know what a stiff breeze felt like on their stubbly back. Eventually, the Internet to spoke up and created a new word for these men who folliculy manipulated their appearance (amongst other things). And lo! metro-sexuals were born.

For those who don’t know what that is, the term metrosexual is a now antiquated term used to identify a grown male who takes care of their appearance in the same way that women zealously use beauty products and age defying cleansers. This male, the metrosexual, sexually prefers women, contrary to the implication of their description.

Men began publicly identifying as ‘metro’ when Bravo put Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on the air. Essentially, this was a reality show that took 5 gay men (of some renown) and tasked them with some hapless chump who couldn’t dress himself and lived like a college kid in a dorm room.

Yes, I watched the show regularly for the first couple of seasons. Don’t judge: it was 43 minutes of catty gay men ripping on a man child. What’s not to like about that?

At the height of the metro sexual phenomenon, my older brother and I were regular drinking companions.

On one particular excursion, I had met him at his apartment in Brooklyn, Ohio. For some impossibly stupid reason, my brother needed to change his shirt. He did it really fast, like the fat kid in gym class. But it wasn’t fast enough for me to notice that something was ‘off’.

His torso, from his pierogi shaped chesticles down to his (at the time) 3rd trimester food baby belly was completely nude. No hair. Smooth & shiny.

I didn’t question him at the time (probably because it was his turn to buy) but I did have an immediate thought. Either he’s on estrogen pills or something fucked up is going on here!

  • My father was a hairy man. He wasn’t Robin Williams hairy but he had enough for people to make sweater jokes should he doff his top. As such, my oldest brother (not the drinking buddy) was also hairy. Point of fact: I remember seeing a picture of Oldest Brother from the 1980’s in which he was wearing a sleeveless shirt. The hair on his shoulder/upper arm area was the same length as his moustache. Further, I was (and am) hairy. It only stands to reason that all males from the same parents would be just as hairy as the father, no? My confusion was palpable.

I questioned my brother about the incident recently and this is what he had to say.

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Sidebar!

Yes, I probably did call him a faggot. No, I don’t recall given that this was over 10 years ago. In the event that there might be someone somewhere reading this with bunched panties, I’d like to point out a few things that you may or may not be aware of.

The relationship between brothers, good brothers who keep in touch and have your back when you need it, should be the epitome of tough love. Case in point, if one brother is doing something vaguely effeminate, it is the duty of the other brother to call him out on such behavior. Doubly so, if the reasoning for the effeminate behavior was unsound. Hence, my word choice.

Do I use this word regularly? Nope. Have I in the past? Yep. But not in a harmful way.

My understanding and use of the word fag, as well as gay, or retarded has been in terms to describe something as dumb, boring, or useless. Do I still use those words in the same way? Not really. I have kids who understand the comic value in swearing and name calling. As a result, I have to watch my mouth.

End of Sidebar!

After my brother’s admission and his reasoning (that being, it made him feel less ape-like) I decided to give it a try. Sadly, I thought at the very least a lack of body hair might help my chances with the ladies as I had just come out of a horrible relationship at the time and I was remarkably lonely.

That’s right: the advent of man-scaping officially brought men into the circle of hell that the advertising & cosmetic industries had been holding women hostage in for years. “Do this thing with that product and the mate you want will love you forever”. Such a sad, and fucked up world we live in sometimes, no? I digress…

The first time I did it was on a wintry Sunday night in the laundry room of my mother’s basement. No, not exactly prudent timing on my part as far as the seasonality goes. And yes, I was still living at home at the time. Why? You might be asking… Because it was a lot cheaper than living in some shithole apartment.

There were a few remarkable things I noticed upon completion.

  1. Since I had never done it before, I decided that everything must go from the head down. So I took a pair of clippers and went to town. The drop in temperature from start to finish was bananas! (In the future, I made the strategic choice to doff my fur coat during the height of summer. It makes existing when the temperature is 90+ degrees much more bearable).
  2. Muscles. I had muscles. I had never noticed them given all of the personal foliage.
  3. Genital shaving is a fine art. Additionally, there is no greater pain than shaving your junk and knicking it because you were having a hard time clear-cutting the forest, as it were. And yes, the first time I knicked myself was the first time I was teary-eyed and trying not to land on the laundry room floor.

The next day, everything was amazing. My skin was new. Wearing clothes, watching the muscles in my forearm work, even taking a shower was a new experience. I was convinced that no woman would find me attractive as hairy as I was and I became fanatical about man-scaping for the next 10 years.

My fanaticism reached the point where I would actually take shaving cream and razor to a given area after it had been buzzed with the clippers. I was in pretty deep and it was inescapable. About a year later, advertising company’s were capitalizing on this new trend. Special clippers and lotions were made just for man-scaping.

The bitch of all that nonsense was that I had found someone who loved me for me within a year. Unfortunately, it didn’t dawn on me until almost 7 years into our relationship that I could be doing all sorts of other things with the time I spent shaving myself.

Nowadays, the only shaving I do is my face and my swimsuit area. On occasion, other areas will be groomed but only by my wife’s hand. She enjoys it and it keeps her calm.

I’m sure there are weirder forms of meditation out there.