Gentlemen, this column is exclusively addressed to you. If, however, you are a long-suffering wife, girlfriend, partner of a man who thinks the word ‘grooming’ only applies to a horse, the pet pooch or the front lawn, you may find some useful ideas for Christmas/birthday presents herein.
Right, gentlemen – lesson number one: definitions. The word ‘gentleman’ is defined as, amongst others, ‘…a man of chivalrous instincts, fine feelings and good breeding’ (The Concise Oxford Dictionary) while the word ‘grooming’ refers to a man who is ‘…well got up’ and has ‘…well-trimmed hair and beard’ (ibid).
Now, you may be of the opinion that personal grooming extended no further than brushing your teeth, washing and combing your hair, shaving or, alternatively, cultivating some facial hair, and finally deodorising your armpits and slapping some after-shave on your cheeks. Beyond that, the only time you may have thought of grooming was as something you did/will do on your wedding day.
Well, if you truly want to be a well-groomed gentleman, take heed of the following list of essential grooming tools that every aspirant chivalric gent should have in his arsenal:
Let”s start with the face: nothing beats the luxuriant lather whipped up and applied to the morning stubble with the sumptuousness of a genuine badger-haired shaving brush and porcelain shaving bowl. It may be old school, but there’s no denying the class and elegance associated with tradition (and that pampered feeling first thing in the morning!)
Ensure you have a good razor. There’s a wide variety on the market – choose one that suits your needs and your style.
Should you wish to cultivate and maintain that rugged stubble look, a stubble razor should be an essential item in your shaving kit.
Ingrown hairs are as ugly as they are a cause of discomfort. Tweezers and, more specifically, ingrown hair splinter tweezers will do the job.
Speaking of unwanted hair, men have the tendency to sprout unwelcome and unsightly follicles in the nose and ears. Let’s be honest: hair protruding from your schnoz is a definite no-no. Your manners might be impeccable, your charm infectious, but if you have nasty nose hairs tickling your upper lip, you won’t be getting up close and personal (if you know what I mean.)
Nose hair trimmers and scissors for ear hair and eyebrows are essential – ever tried plucking out your nasal protrusions with a pair of tweezers? It’s enough to make a grown man cry! Some electronic trimmers have a flip side for trimming sideburns and neck hair.
Finally for the face, a dermatological sponge cloth or buffing cloth for exfoliation whilst showering will enhance the gloss of your freshly-shaved/trimmed face and will revitalise the skin.
Grooming doesn’t only refer to facial hair, however. Fingernails and toenails need to be clipped regularly to prevent them from becoming positively predatorial. You certainly don’t want to lacerate your loved one or shred the sheets with toenails that look like talons, or fingernails like Freddy Kruger’s. Regular use of nail clippers and toenail clippers and a nail file cannot be over-estimated. (And a gentleman never, ever, chews his nails and tears at his toenails in front of the telly!)
Finally, depending on your preferred hairstyle, a good brush or comb will always come in handy. A gentleman should never look as if he’s having a bad hair day.
So, gents, take a little time to pay attention to the often-overlooked finer details of your appearance, particularly if you’re out to impress, because rest assured, the ladies out there, looking for their chivalric knight in shining Armani, will be scrutinising you from top to toe!