Wednesday 10 September 2008

Touching up men

I see Yves Saint Laurent has launched a version of Touche Eclat for men, so we too can conceal those dark, under-eye circles that result from our reckless round-the-clock lifestyles and lack of sleep.

Now we too can look fresh and sparkling after a quick application of the wonder potion our womenfolk have been surreptitiously dabbing on for years. All in a discreet “pewter tube that’s easy to stow in your man-bag”.

Well, not me, you understand, I no longer lead a reckless round-the-clock lifestyle. In fact I never did, I always preferred the comforts of my duvet to drunken chatter in the small hours.

But aren’t we rather missing the point here? Instead of plastering ourselves with miracle repair creams, shouldn’t we be reining in the lifestyle a bit to something less gruelling? Anyway, what’s wrong with signs of wear and tear? It just shows we’re normal human beings.

One newspaper interviews a few likely users. Gerald, 27, admits he works 10 to 12 hours a day and likes late nights. Clement, 21, says he works up to 12 hours a shift and sometimes gets only four hours’ sleep. Hey, how about slowing down the treadmill, lads, and taking it a bit easier? What exactly are you getting out of those 12-hour-a-day jobs?

But some of them admit they might use the stuff if they’re looking a bit dishevelled. That is, if they can figure out how to apply it without getting it everywhere except under their eyes. “How the heck do women do this?” wails one of them plaintively after several abortive attempts to get it in the right place.

Personally, at my venerable age (“Approaching sixty from the wrong direction” as Dame Edna once put it) I need rather more than a quick smear of Touche Eclat to refresh my disintegrating features. I think a full restoration by a master builder would be more effective. Not that I have any problem with wrinkles. Each wrinkle is a trace of fun, as they say.

So, girls, if your beau beats a hasty retreat to the restaurant toilet in the middle of that Italian meal, he’s not necessarily stocking up on condoms. He might just be reviving his weary eyes in case you doubt his nocturnal vigour. That is, if you aren’t in the toilet doing the same thing.

Photo: Stuart Pilkington from Big Brother


  1. I can see how this is just the next step in a process that has taken place over the past ten odd years but it started further back than that.
    The media dubbed it the rise of the "Metrosexual". Men who spend as much if not more time in front of the mirror than women. If you read American Psycho, Mr Bateman spent an inordinate amount of time preening and slathering unguents on his skin and it was set in the 80s.
    I can hear the marketing dept (or should that be Brand management consultancy?) "Well we have the female demographic....we need more...I know, lets change the colour of the packaging and have a campaign telling men that they cover up the dark rings under their eyes so they can work hard, play hard and still look good in the office the next day!"
    It'll probably sell well.

  2. Oh dear - guilty as charged. My wife got me started on using eye cream to reduce the hagard look after a rough week at work combined with a few too many drinks. I'm now hooked and as part of my daily prep, I dab a bit of cream on and head out to face the world. I don't think I'd carry it around with me mind you!

  3. Interesting post, Nick. I was amused by the pic of Mascara Man from Big Brother -- is that the official advert and model they are going with to advertise the product? ;-)

  4. I think a full restoration by a master builder would be more effective. - hey don't knock it! I hear haemmoroid cream works wonders but it doesn't come in the pretty package with the hefty price tag. Won't be long before they're marketing lip gloss for men (Did you know that Pepsi Max was created especially for men to consume because they didn't think the blokes would go for 'diet' Pepsi!

    'fraid the only creme applied in this house is SPF 30 plus!

  5. Muddy - I gather sales of beauty products to men are steadily rising as men feel the same urge to perfect themselves as women. I don't think that's a healthy tendency. As you suggest, the cosmetic companies are just expanding their markets and profits by reaching out to men.

    Quicky - Well, if it makes you feel better about yourself, fair enough. As long as you're not doing it just to compete with those fresh-looking youngsters.

    Sharon - I think he might be - one of them anyway. But he doesn't look as if he really needs such cosmetic assistance.

    Baino - The only cream I apply is ice cream. I certainly wouldn't want anyone to think I have piles. Heaven forbid! And I thought there was already a lip gloss for men. Or am I just ahead of my time?

  6. Nick

    If you don't want Baino's suggestion of haemmoroid cream, you can always try Sudocrem to clear away the crow's feet!

  7. That's the best thing I've read today! I am trying to imagine my 50 year-old brother, a lieutenant in the police force, running into the men's room to dab on a bit of concealer. What a silly notion. But then again, I'm a woman who doesn't wear makeup unless absolutely backed into a corner (interviews, weddings and very hot dates).

    Take it easy,

  8. More and more Nick, I'm reminded of the court of Louis IV where men were prettier than the women. I saw this product advertised and wasn't surprised one bit. I think there is a seismic shift ahead of us with the fellahs and their beauty routines. Some have already started.
    My ex-son in law would take far longer than my daughter to get ready for anything.

  9. Grannymar - Sudocrem? I thought that was for nappy rash? How versatile these concoctions are! But I don't mind my crow's feet either....

    Gayle - What a wonderful image of your tough, crime-busting bro furtively dabbing on the concealer! But I imagine a jaded, world-weary look is a positive advantage when you're dealing with a bunch of hoodlums.

    www - You could be right about men taking over from women in the preening stakes. There seems to be an awful lot of stealthy male beautifying going on out of the public gaze. At least they're buying their own stuff now and not nicking it from the girl friend!

  10. Where do the cosmetic companies come up with these product names. Do men really want to buy something called "Touche Eclat"?

    Anyway, I think men should take care of their skin. Definitely a sunscreen and maybe some moisturizer since your skin gets all dry and ashy. At least it does here in LA. But I agree, the most important thing these guys can do is live a healthy lifestyle.

  11. Liz, I would think men would be quite happy with something called Touche Eclat - it just sounds mysteriously French. Now if it were called Fifi Honeyblossom....

    Indeed, a healthy lifestyle is preferable to overpriced quick-fix lotions.

  12. That is such a good point Nick. I can never understand people continually work ridiculous hours to the determinant of their private life and healthy. I also think if they (god forbid) died the company would carry on perfectly fine without them. Crazy stuff.

  13. I must admit, Nick, I have recently convinced my husband to start wearing face cream. But that is just because his face was dry, and I am a pragmatic person - face dry = put lotion on face. Aesthetics never factored into it.

    It's unfortunate that as we "evolve" as a more "equal" society, gender neutrality begins to mean men and women having to deal with the crappier aspects of the opposite sex's lives instead of eliminating those things all together. Now everyone can feel bad about their appearances delightful!

  14. Conor - It's ironic that although the UK has the longest average working hours in Europe, it's also the only European country moving into recession. So those long hours are achieving precisely nothing! And you're right, if Mr Megaslog died tomorrow, the company probably wouldn't even notice.

    FG - Sure, nothing wrong with face cream if you genuinely need it. But yes, isn't that the danger, that men will become as obsessively self-critical as women. Not a healthy development.

  15. (apart from Ireland don't forget)

  16. Conor, to what are you referring? Long hours, recession, the forgettable Mr Megaslog? Mind you, Ireland's always an exception to everything, ha ha.

  17. Oh it's about time! I love a man who looks after himself. Although, that picture is gross. Plucking eyebrows; putting on make up or drawing with an eyeliner or using a concealer like that when there is gross stubble on the face is just wrong! Obviously there are many occasions of people taking an idea and just run with it to another extreme.

  18. GayƩ - Hmmm, not sure make-up and stubble looks wrong, it just looks different. Personally I don't like any kind of facial hair on men, but that's just my prejudice.

  19. I haven't even had any luck convincing my husband to wear sun screen, which is plain stupid considering he's had skin cancers removed from his face.

    He is rather fond of a hair grooming product I buy him, though. He would never wear makeup no matter what it was called.

  20. Heart, you would think that if someone had actually had skin cancers they would take some precautions against getting more. A bit too much fatalism there.