Grooming for Guys: Necessity or vanity?

Monday, 15 April 2013

Now, don't get me wrong; I'm all for a man who looks after himself - keeps himself fit, washes his face, maybe even moisturises every now and again. I'll even go as far as to say I don't mind it if he takes longer doing his hair than me (which, by the way, he does), or if he has perfected the fine art of three-day stubble. That's fine. But recently, men have been getting more and more into the industry that I've always felt was pretty much just for us girls. That's not to say I'm completely against men looking after their appearance; I'm always buying my boyfriend or my dad toiletry sets at Christmas, I think the beauty boxes for men are a great idea, and I reckon all men should take anti-aging as seriously as us women do. However, when it comes to things like leg waxing, fake tans, guyliner, manscara and men wearing foundation - I'm sorry, I just can't deal.

Okay, so everyone is entitled to look and wear what they like, but this recent wave of beautifying men has me in a bit of a daze. When I think of a bloke, I think masculine, rugged, a little rough round the edges. Even the clean-cut, mega 'groomed' looking guys have that masculine edge, and appear to know where the fine line between looking groomed and looking made-up lies. But do they? Recently, more and more men are spending longer on getting ready, and are investing in things like fake tans and even starting to wear foundation. A survey by First4Lawyers states that 20% of men have received an injury through using sunbeds, 16% through fake tanning - yet only 5% of women have had the same problem. These stats left me slightly aghast and wondering; are men overtaking us girls in the beauty stakes?

When I sit down and think about it, I reckon they probably are. Okay, so men are never going to have the obsession us girls have with makeup and beauty products, but that doesn't mean they won't spend as long as us (or longer!) doing their hair or preening themselves. I've always envied men for the fact they can roll out of bed looking great, and only have to whack some aftershave on and have a quick brush through their hair before a big night out. But when I actually look at the way things are today - it's not always like that. My boyfriend has been known to take longer straightening his hair than I do mine, I have known male friends get in a tizz over what outfit to wear, and spend ages in the bathroom mirror, plucking their brows or gelling their hair within an inch of its life. Then you have to think of the Mark Wrights and Gavin Hensons of the celebrity world - never seen without an orange glow, and I'm willing to bet they have makeup on 90% of the time.

Now, I'm not saying it's wrong. Each to their own, afterall. However it does make me feel a little sad that some men's vanity has reached a whole new level, so much so that they feel the need to wax, tan, pluck, spray, gel and exfoliate to such extreme measures. I don't think I could ever be with a man obsessed with grooming himself; I'm talking about a guy who would rummage through my makeup bag, use my fake tan and  knick my foundation. That's a big no-no. I like to think that a girl's makeup and beauty regime should be a completely foreign thing to men, so that it adds a bit of mystery and enigma to a relationship. Luckily, my boyfriend always looks completely baffled when I start painting my face with various products, and will pretty much always take about ten minutes getting ready to go out, whereas I take an hour and a half. Okay, so he sometimes borrows my straighteners, but this I can deal with. If I ever caught him going through my skincare stash though, I think we'd need to have words. Thankfully I can't see that happening any time soon!

What are your thoughts on the male grooming debate? Are you all for men getting their glam on, or do you think the making up and primping and preening should be left to us ladies?