Sunday 19 November 2017

Paul Galvin: Nip, pluck & tweeze

Paul Galvin

He's just bought his first men's grooming kit, but Paul Galvin says there are some places you should never send a scissors -- not to mind another human armed with a wax strip

Who cares about hair care? Maidhc Dainin O Se did anyway, that's all I know.

Anyone who has read 'A Thig Na Tit orm' will know that Maidhc Dainin rarely left the house for the dancehall without "neart Brylcreem ina chuid gruaige". Nor did any of his friends.

Here was a man before his time. Travel, work and hair care were all part of his vocabulary long before the J1 generation did Asia. No wonder Daithi turned out so well.

I recently bought my first men's grooming kit, so maybe I care, too. An electric beard trimmer with various applications to tend to ears, nose and those hard-to-reach places you'd wouldn't send a scissors, never mind another human being armed with a wax strip.

The ear application amused me. Luckily, I've never suffered from hairy ears. That said, I've reached an age where I feel it is time to tidy up the rough edges, trim the stray hairs and take my grooming game to the next level.

I've never been a big one for grooming routines. When I was younger, I used to wet-shave and used Nivea aftershave balm. Nivea has fantastic products for men.

I'll hold my hands up and admit I have succumbed to the advances of girlfriends, who have carried out various acts of man-scaping on me over the years.

Oh, how I would sigh and tut. I would beg for mercy. But eventually I would succumb, helpless in the knowledge that there is nothing on this earth as determined as a woman with a pair of tweezers.

A tweeze here, a pluck there and a peck on the cheek, and she was happy to let me out in public again. Her work was done.

Anything for the quiet life, eh lads? Then, it was off into the bathroom to secretly admire the removal work she carried out on my scorched eyebrows.

My eyebrows are as far as my grooming routine goes. I keep them in check. Some Dax in my hair and I'm good.

I was reading a David Beckham interview in 'GQ' recently and it got me thinking.

He spoke about his grooming kit. All pretty acceptable: clippers, a comb, a beard trimmer, moisturiser, tweezers, some aftershave. All okay so far.

A scrub? Well, it sounds okay. Body moisturiser? Steady on Becks.

He also speaks of his favourite scents: rosewood and pink grapefruit. Again, beyond most men, but that's why he's David Beckham.

I don't wear aftershave. I remember the first one I got -- Gucci Envy -- and I loved it. Don't ask me about scents. I tried Tom Ford's latest fragrance and liked it. Fragrance is a funny word. It doesn't quite have the same resonance. I prefer to go au natural as a rule. There's nothing as try-hard as a man wearing too much aftershave.

You really have to admire Beckham, though. Before you look at grooming, you need to remember a top player, among the great Manchester United players, successful in Spain and still playing in his late 30s. Beyond that exists a man wholly at ease with himself, unafraid to say he cares about his appearance. How refreshing.

His own fragrance, David Beckham Homme, is on the way with Coty -- the makers of Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs perfumes. Beckham's own underwear range is on the way, too. He is his own man.

What needs to be said at this point, of course, is that there's grooming and then there's grooming. A man should never over-groom. It's worse than not looking after yourself at all.

Sculpted eyebrows are another no-no for men. A bit rough around the edges is acceptable.

A little less acceptable is fake tan for men. I could never allow myself to do it. The sun is enough for me. Still, each to their own.

Of all the gadgets I got with my kit, I was most excited by the humble comb. What a beautifully simple, useful tool. The last time a comb ran through my hair, my mother was holding it, about to send me off to primary school.

I've thoroughly enjoyed combing my hair again. The whole quiffed-to-the-side hairstyle is back with a bang. Beckham is working it and it's very apparent in magazine shoots.

The new H&M campaign features male models with that classic, combed-to-the-side hairstyle that my grandfather used to wear. That generation of men were well aware of the importance of looking well and being polished. Especially for Sunday Mass.

Maybe it was because times were tough, money was scarce and cleanliness was next to godliness was next to Brylcreem. Looking good was serious currency.

Today's generation is different. We have grooming rooms where men spend serious currency to look good. The Mandala Spa at La Stampa Hotel in Dublin has its own dedicated men's section, Mandala Man. Urbana on Wicklow Street, Dublin, offers laser hair removal for men. A very useful service for many men.

Today, not only can you comb your hair but you can also cut it, style it, dye it, highlight it, shampoo and condition it.

You can still grow a beard, too, but you can also trim it, shape it and manicure it. You can even pluck your eyebrows, unless you feel like waxing or threading them.

You can moisturise your face regularly or just go for a facial now and then.

Pedicures, manicures, eyelash tinting... the narcissistic list goes on and on. It's a sign of the times. A sign of what I'm not quite sure.

I'd just love to know what Maidhc Dainin makes of it all.

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