"Do you exfoliate?" she asked me.
"Do you use a scrub?" she enquired exasperatedly.
"Never mind." She sighed, the long whistling sigh.
I was getting the look. You know the one; it mixes maternal disapproval with boredom and a sense of 'why am I with this idiot'.
"You should use a scrub once every two days," she explained. "It removes the dead skin giving your face a fresh glow," she further elaborated.
Ah, so, I replied. But why do I need to? I'm sure it comes off when I shave anyway, I reasoned.
"Do you shave your forehead?" she retorted.
Realising that it was a pointless discussion, she turned back to the shelf marked 'care products'.
I made for the cold storage.
"No bacon. You're getting fat," she called over her shoulder.
This from a woman who calls me Fatty anyway…
I'd be damned if I was going to give up bacon and use a scrub to exfoliate.
Anyway, it's been years since that incident, but it serves to highlight one major point: I am not one given to 'taking care of myself'.
I eat too much, drink quite a bit, enjoy my cigarettes… but I have a bath twice a day. But I've started to use 'products'. It's not that I capitulated or anything, but women in general like a well-groomed man. And as a perfectly heterosexual man, if I needed to exfoliate to keep my woman happy, I damned well would.
Over time, I started to use shave foam and shampoo. Actually, it was the shampoo which started it all off. Said girlfriend at the time was appalled to discover one measly bar of soap in my bathroom. I used the same bar to bathe, wash my hair, and shave.
So it was that a bottle of shampoo found its way to my bathroom, followed by a can of shaving gel. Having a girlfriend who stayed over often meant that there was no escape. Shampoo and gel levels were monitored.
When I un-did my helmet, I realised it smelled flowery.
To be fair, I nicked myself less when I shaved.
But I couldn't get my head around the exfoliating.
Once, before lunch, she handed me a vegetable peeler and some carrots and cucumbers. I couldn't resist. "Honey, I exfoliated the veggies," I exclaimed gleefully, while admiring my handiwork. I nearly got stabbed!