So, we’re having Dim Sum last Sunday with some friends and a childhood buddy from Dallas who was bragging about her son.
“Not only is he doing well,” she said, “he looks just like the Marlboro Man…and the ladies love him.” She pulls out her iPhone, scrolls to a photo, and as she hands it to the person next her to pass around, she adds, “See what I mean?” It’s a picture of her thirty-something son wearing a cowboy hat and full Marlboro attire…with three lovely-looking cowgirls semi-circled around him and drenching him with adoring eyes.
“Yeah, he’s really a good-looking guy,” I responded while slurping in a wormy noodle dripping black bean sauce down my chin and onto the white tablecloth. I thought to myself, Damn, in my best younger days, I didn’t look that rugged or swarthy, let alone corralled by a posse of adorable Dale Evanses.
Pleasantly full, it didn’t hit me until we were driving home when I looked at myself in the rear-view mirror and noticed my sagging bloodhound jowls, crow’s feet (more like pterodactyl feet), and curly nose hairs (what was God thinking with the whole senior nose and ear hairs thing?).
What’s with this pre-occupation guys have with trying to look and act like Madison Avenue and Hollywood’s portrayal of the Manly Man? Here’s what I came up with trying to pick my best MAN image:
- Marlboro MAN: Not a good fit for me considering I’ve only smoked five cigarettes in my life (got dizzy, sweated profusely and coughed a lung out), wearing cowboy boots gave me bunions and blisters, and when I wore a cowboy hat I looked more like cockeyed Jack Elam than Bret Maverick.
- SuperMAN: Bad idea. The thought of me in aquamarine tights and fire-engine-red Speedos is not only a disturbing image for me, but I’m confident women would cringe and run, and other men in tights would immediately change to overalls.
- Candy MAN: Closer. Problem, though. My childhood obsession with candy (I was a sucker for a fresh Butterfinger, Nestle’s Crunch Bar, Baby Ruth or Peanut Butter Log hovering within biting range) led to my Stay Puft Marshmallow MAN image lasting until my sophomore year in college. Hard image to get out of your head, right? Plus, I’m pre-diabetic from the piles of sugary junk I’ve ingested since birth.
- BatMAN: While I love the whole all-black superhero threads thing–PLUS the black mask and uncovered mouth and chiseled jaw look–I have a deep fear of contracting rabies. And then there’s that black Speedos and tights issue, though black does lessen the whole flab thing. But not that
- The Muffin MAN: Now, we’re talking. I mean during those pre-college days, all those times I was naked in front of a girl (actually only twice and only one of those times in a fully lit room), I looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
- AnchorMAN: Shame on you for picturing Ron Burgundy strutting around the newsroom.
Man oh man oh man. I’m so exhausted from trying to be a cooler, swashbuckling, leathery-cigarette-smoking-cattle-rustling, super tight tights hero, Indiana Jones kind of MAN that I need to take a nap (the rest will give me renewed energy and contentment with the man I am). But not before watching an episode of S.H.I.E.L.D., drenching my face with Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Face Moisturizer, then taking a spoonful of Miralax and a tab of Beano from all the Dim Sum I ate on Sunday.
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