Monthly Archives: August 2012

Manscaping with Philips Norelco

“Dad, why is your tummy so hairy?”

Kids. They say the darndest — and most brutally honest — things. But truth be told, even since I hit the big 3-0 it has gotten noticeably worse. It’s as if all the hair is retreating from the top of my head and migrating to my shoulders, back and stomach. And in the last few months, it’s like my stomach hair has started wrapping around my midsection in a desperate attempt to connect with its back hair cousins.

So why haven’t I ever done anything about it? That’s easy. Because I’ve always maintained a firm belief that manscaping is for metrosexual douchebags who sip $12 martinis and wear v-neck shirts. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

So when a very sweet woman representing Philips Norelco called me up and serendipitously asked me if I’d be interested in detailing my manscaping adventures with one of their products, it was just too strange (and potentially fraught with disaster and hilarity) to pass up.

The thing is, I was nervous. I’m not a fancy guy. I drink cheap beer, I wear t-shirts and jeans and aside from occasionally putting gel in my hair, I’ve never manscaped anything. But the Philips Norelco Bodygroom Pro is actually a pretty cool device. The first thing I noticed is it’s got razors on both ends. One is for trimming and has an adjustable head that allows for five different lengths. The other end is rounded with razors for a close shave.

Despite my fear of the unknown, I finally decided it was time to stop putting things off. So while Will was in the bath, I broke out the Bodygroom Pro & set it up. The best part is it’s cordless with a rechargeable battery. And even though it was easy to figure out, I called in MJ to help me out and start with my back and shoulders.

I winced in advance because I have RIDICULOUSLY sensitive skin and I was worried this might leave my skin irritated and looking like Frank the Tank from Old School after his cougar suit caught on fire. But this thing is smooth and didn’t hurt at all. Before I knew it she was done and the bathroom sink looked like a baby bear had just been skinned.

And in addition to my back looking sleek and smooth, there was another unexpected benefit. MJ liked it. And I don’t mean she just liked my shorn back and shoulders. I mean she liked shaving my back. As in, my otherwise prudish wife seems to have a bit of a shaving fetish. Who would’ve guessed?! I think there’s a Chewbacca costume rental in my near future.

But moving on, soon it was time for the stomach and chest. And while the Bodygroom Pro did its job with ease, even this advanced piece of grooming technology can’t fully protect against human error.

As I said before, I had a lot of hair around my stomach. A lot. Essentially it looked like a sea of hair circling the drain that is my bellybutton. You’re welcome for that lovely visual by the way. Anyways, while my wife very much likes my new look, I discovered a glaring drawback. You see, my body hair did more than keep me warm during winter. It also covered up some — blemishes.

You all know I’m battling a weight problem, and when I put the weight on years ago I did it QUICKLY. And when that happens, stretchmarks appear. Therefore, when I bared my stomach, I also unearthed some things that should remain hidden. And, just for good measure, I managed to nick one of them.

Imagine, for a moment, an overweight and freshly shorn man bleeding from his stretch mark and being attended to by his wife while their 4-year-old looks on confusedly from the bathtub. I’m sure this is exactly the product review Philips Norelco had in mind.

I was going to post before and after pictures but…well, it’s bad enough I have to look at me. No one else should suffer the same fate. But according to MJ, the results are overwhelmingly positive. She hasn’t stopped rubbing my back and chest and says I feel like a baby. I then took that opportunity to point out that if she’s sexually aroused because she thinks I feel like a baby, that would make her a pedophile. Leave it to me to snatch celibacy from the jaws of sex.

As for me, I’m not totally sold on the shaved chest/back. I think I look like a beluga whale, which might not be the best move for me. We’ll see.

But I do know one thing, and I can say with complete certainty that if you do want to manscape and trim the proverbial hedges for your partner, the Bodygroom Pro is the way to go. Click here for more info, or follow Philips Norelco on Facebook and Twitter. And if you leave a comment, you’ll automatically be entered to win a Bodygroom Pro of your own, a giveaway worth $69.99.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post but I did receive a free Bodygroom Pro. All opinions are my own, as always.

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Raising My Son Right

“How do I know if I’m doing a good job as a parent?”

That’s the million dollar question for parents isn’t it? We spend time, money and a never-ending amount of effort on every aspect of our kids’ lives. We either work harder to afford good schools, or give up careers to teach them ourselves. We care for them physically, attend to every emotional need, teach right from wrong, read to them, have them read to us, drill manners into them, etc. It doesn’t happen all at once, but a little every day. It’s constant. And the whole time you’re wondering if any of it is actually sinking in, and hoping like hell it is.

This weekend I got my answer thanks to two instances during our camping trip in Maine.

The first happened at the lake when Will caught a frog. He was so excited that he ran over to another boy about his age who he had never met before, so he could show him. Will walked over to the boy with the frog cupped carefully in his hand so as not to hurt it, and then put it down gingerly in the woods so it could go home to its frog family.

At that point the other little boy showed Will the minnows swimming around in the lake, which enthralled him. But his amazement soon turned to disgust when his new friend picked up some rocks and started throwing them in an attempt to hit the fish, then tried to enlist Will’s help in jumping on them to squish them yelling “DIE!” Will was horrified and told him you’re not supposed to hurt animals. That’s when the little sadistic terror (whose dad was wearing a Yankees hat — do the math!) started throwing even more rocks. Will quickly left and we went back to our campsite as the kid yelled “Good! They’re leaving!”

Real nice.

Once back at the site, Will made another animal discovery. This time he found his new friend stuck to the back of the fire pit. A snail — a big one at that — who was promptly named Snailey. It was getting dark and of course Will’s first question was whether Snailey could stay in the tent with us. Since MJ already has to deal with one slug, we said no. Needless to say I wasn’t surprised when the tears came. But I was surprised when he told me WHY he was crying.

“Dada, it’s getting dark & Snailey will be cold outside. Can I put a leaf over Snailey like a blanket so he’ll be warm?”

I know it’s just a snail. I know most kids love animals so I probably shouldn’t read too much into it. But this kid has so much empathy, compassion and kindness in him. He couldn’t bear the thought of a single snail being alone and without the comforts of home, so we grabbed a large leaf, took Snailey out of harm’s way, and fastened the leaf blanket around him as he slid off into the night. Will blew him a kiss and wished him well.

I’m not perfect and I make my share of parental mistakes. Will’s no angel and his fresh attitude is like looking into a mirror — a heavy dose of Karmic justice. But he’s also unfailingly polite and loving. He cares about others first and foremost and he’s ultra sensitive to how everyone around him feels. Granted, these positive traits come from his mother no doubt. But they’re proof that whatever we’re doing, we’re doing most of it right. Even if it is on the fly.

I’m just happy I didn’t have to build a snail log cabin. But I would’ve.

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Coming Home

I hate leaving, but I love coming home.

I leave just before 7 a.m. Before I go, I kiss my wife, my son and the dog. In that order. Then I drive 41 miles to work through the kind of hellish, soul-sucking traffic that leaves fingernail marks on the steering wheel and permanent scarring on my psyche. Work is good — honestly, I really like my job. But it’s still work. Which means it’s filled with deadlines, team huddles, conference calls, Powerpoint presentations, and stress. Because even when work is fun, it’s still stress. All that is followed by a 41-mile trek home, through the same gut-wrenching gridlock as in the morning.

By the time I get home I feel like the stop & go, stress-induced workday has torn away at my flesh like vultures. But I get out of the car and that’s when my day gets beautiful. Every day. When I get home from work, Will and Haley run to the window and Will shouts “DADA’S HOME!” while Haley woofs at me. And that’s the best part of my day, every single day.

Sure it’s true that 5 seconds after I get a delirious hug from Will he says or does something for which I have to yell at him. And yes, as soon as I step foot in the house Haley jumps up with muddy paws, ruining my clothes and simultaneously hitting me right in the nuts in her clamor for an ear scratch. But that’s OK. In fact, that’s what I want.

We suffered through four miscarriages to have Will. That’s a lot of heartbreak. But I knew we needed to keep at it because one day we’d have a gorgeous son or daughter who would light up my life on a daily basis and display unadulterated joy simply because I came home.

And Haley is our third dog. The first one ran away (or more specifically, was lost by my father while we were at a wedding…but I’m not bitter dad) and we never saw her again. The second was a neurotic Dalmatian who turned into a nutbag the minute we brought Will home. Which led to me walking in to  volunteer at the dog shelter in Falmouth, only to be mauled by a lovingly crazed golden retriever who we later adopted. And now, more than five years later, she still gets just as excited every time I enter a room. She’s got nothing by love, loyalty and devotion 24/7 — which completely excuses the abundance of exuberant energy that leads to errant ball shots and lots of face licks.

I’m so friggin lucky to come home to love on a daily basis. And in case you were wondering, this is my view at approximately 6:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.

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Marital Exercises in Futility

They say the key to a happy, healthy marriage is finding common ground, finding mutually enjoyable activities and enjoying time spent with one another.

Apparently “they” haven’t spent much time around me and MJ.

We are both very proud, very stubborn people. We also have zero common interests outside of our family and friends. Seriously, we’re opposites in almost every way. She likes the beach, I like the mountains. She craves summer, I love the snow. I’m a people person who thrives in groups, she’s an introvert who gets anxious at parties.

In fact, I can count our attempts to do things together on one hand, and none of them ended well:

  • Bowling: When we were dating we decided to go bowling one night. Going into the last frame I was losing by a pin. And since I’m just a liiiiiiittle bit competitive, I did what any well-adjusted, red-blooded, competitive male would do in that situation — I threw a goddamn fit and kicked the ball return apparatus, causing such a scene that we had to leave without finishing the game. So technically, I didn’t lose.
  • Mini-Golf: Different sport, same result as bowling.
  • Super Mario Brothers for the Wii: A new version of a classic game we both love means there’s no way things can go wrong, right? Nope. The simultaneous play feature meant we affected each other’s character. Which is to say MJ kept jumping on my fucking head and knocking me off cliffs to my imminent death. It didn’t take more than 30 minutes before we were Googling divorce attorneys. You can read about that one in more detail here.
And that’s it. That’s the list. No joke.
Now as most of you know, after more than six months of running my ass off, my weight loss and exercise efforts have sufficiently guilted MJ into doing the same. The only problem is she hates running. I mean, HATES it! But to her credit, she’s been hitting the streets and the treadmill fairly religiously for the last few weeks.

But when I looked over her times and distances recently, I noticed her times have plateaued. In some cases she even got slower. I asked her how much she was running versus walking, and she got that pursed-lipped look on her face which translates to “I’m not gonna say because you’ll just give me shit for it.” Which I did. But instead of giving her advice and preaching at her, I suddenly had an idea.

Why not run together?

On the surface it certainly seems like a win-win. We spend time together, we exercise together, we get healthier together. MJ agreed to it, I was pumped and before we knew it we were hitting the road. And then the shit hit the fan.

It started out well enough. The weather was fairly cool and we started running at a reasonable pace for MJ. The two of us decked out in our running gear, living the yuppie suburban dream side by side one Asics-clad step at a time. The plan was to get MJ used to staggered workouts which will increase the amount of time she runs and keeps walking to a minimum. I mapped out a 3.5-mile course and planned the first run for 5 minutes, thinking that was a more than reasonable time.

And that’s when I realized MJ and I have very different ideas about “reasonable.”

She made it through the first 5 minutes, but did not appreciate my “30-second kick” rule, in which I sprint the final 30 seconds of each run phase. When we slowed to a walk I told her how proud I was of her. But instead of a high-five, I got the stink-eye and a fairly unappreciative and terse “thanks.” Thirty seconds before the 2.5-minute walking period was up, I gave her notice to start running again. And judging by the severely bitchy look on her face, that was not what she was used to.

“Are you fucking serious right now?” she said.

I was taken aback, but determined to stay positive. And, I can’t lie, I liked knowing I was under her skin a little.

“C’mon baby, this is great. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, I’m exercising with the woman I love — let’s do this shit hon! Let’s kick it up a –”

“I hate you right now. I hate everything about you.”

That was all in the first 10 minutes. The final 10 minutes were — well, considerably more agitated.

“Alright baby, last half mile. We’re gonna do a 4-minute stretch and keep a good pace so we can finish strong. You ready?”

“No I’m not ready. We’re walking.”

“We’re not walking. You’re doing great. You’re KILLING your old time right now. So if we push even a little bit harder we can really destroy your time.”

“I want to destroy you. I hate your face.”

“If you’d shut your mouth and stop your bitching you’d be able to save your breath. Now let’s GO!”

“You’ve taken your last breath. Because I’m gonna kill you. Because I fucking hate everything about you.”

“You’re so hot when you’re pissy. Now run wussbag, because now we’re doing a 45-second sprint!”

“I’m gonna rip your dick off while you sleep.”

Yup. You read that right. By the end of our run she was threatening to Bobbit-ize me. I, of course, thought it was all foreplay. I mean c’mon — endorphin rush from the exercise, gettin’ sweaty together. That should end in sex every. single. time. Without question.

However, my wife has the uncanny ability to only process one single emotion at a time. So while I pick fights just to make up, MJ has absolutely zero understanding of that notion. Seriously. If she’s mad, she’s mad. There’s no room for any other emotion. Which means while her threat of castration morphed into some kind of twisted sexual advance in my mind, all she was thinking about was truly robbing me of my manhood.

Needless to say the slap on her ass followed by me running like hell away from her down the street towards the finish line did nothing to further my chances of sex in 2012. And as you can see from the picture above, not even my pancake and bacon mea culpa could satisfy her.

But on the flip side, she knocked about 8 minutes off her time!

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Lube Up & Smell Better with Nivea

We all know the benefits of running and exercise. You lose weight, look better, feel better, have more energy and all of your newfound sexiness leads to a much more robust sex life (if this last one isn’t a benefit, it should be!). But lately, MJ and I have discovered a couple of downsides to all of my workout efforts.

I stink.

The fact is, it’s summer. Sweltering temperatures are bad enough on their own, but when you run 10 miles in 90-degree heat it creates an epic smorgasbord of sweat and stink the likes of which rival any high school locker room. Plus, when I get home from a long run I’m exhausted. I just want to hydrate and rest after I’m done stretching. More often than not that rest turns into a nap. At that point I’ve run in tropical heat, come home, and then slept as I allow the stench to cake on my body. Of course I shower, but it seems like I need multiple hosings to actually get clean. And to add insult to injury, my lips are killing me because I didn’t think to put any lip balm on so they’re cracked and nasty.

The end result is me with jacked up lips with the rest of me covered in sweat that’s soaked into my pores for hours on end accompanied by the fact that I now smell like Bigfoot’s taint.

Thankfully, the good folks at Nivea for Men have guys like me covered. They sent me two helpful products which I immediately tried and really liked. And I’m kind of a body wash/lip balm snob. They gave me:

  • Platinum Protect 2-in-1 Body Wash
  • Replenishing SPF 4 Lip Balm

Honestly, Nivea gave me a bunch of marketing jargon to include in the review but that shit doesn’t mean anything to me, so I doubt you’ll care about “Smart Deo Technology” or “Jojoba Oil” either. So I’m going to rate these products my way, which I think will be more to the point and helpful.

The body wash smells good. I’m not being obtuse or purposefully vague, it’s just…good. It’s a low-key citrus scent and while it’s not overpowering, it does get noticed. The first time I tried it was right before I hung out with a bunch of guy friends at a cookout. Not five minutes after I walked in, my friend Alex started sniffing and said “who’s wearing body wash and trying to impress a bunch of chicks even though this is a sausage fest?”

But, for the record, when the one and only chick in my life who matters smelled me for the first time, she immediately consented to getting down and dirty. Which leads me to say, with complete scientific certainty, that Nivea Platinum Protect 2-in-1 Body Wash for Men will increase your sexual activity by approximately 214%. So they’ve got that going for them…which is good.

Now, regarding the lip balm, I have strict requirements that my lip balm must adhere to, and the Replenishing SPF 4 Lip Balm definitely fit the bill.

First of all, I freaking HATE greasy lip balm. There’s nothing worse than smearing this stuff on your lips and feeling like you just puckered up and kissed the BP oil spill. Plus your lips get all shiny and — even worse — sticky. I have a dog in the house which means every piece of furniture is covered with hair. So if I’m wearing run-of-the-mill lip balm, I end up with disgusting, hairy lips only a female sasquatch would find sexy.

But Nivea’s lip balm isn’t like that at all. You put this stuff on and within seconds you’re good to go. No sticky residue or annoying oil slicks on your face. And as a bonus, it even survived a round in the dryer when I left it in my pants pocket, earning this lip balm extra points for durability.

So there it is — two ridiculously good products from a solid company (I like their shaving cream for sensitive skin too). And they’ve offered to do a giveaway as well, which means if you want to try these out (or if you’re a woman and want your partner to smell better) you can win them for free, courtesy of Nivea.

So first, go “like” Nivea for Men on Facebook. Then come back here and leave me a comment, telling me a story about the worst you’ve ever smelled in your entire life. The person who entertains me with their filth the most will win the Nivea prize package.

*Nivea sent me body wash, lip balm, and compensation for this post. However, my opinions are my own and were not restricted in any way. In other words, I write whatever the hell I want.

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