Why I'll never be a smoothie

As a shaver for men's bodies is launched, James Brown explains why he's keeping his hairs close to his chest
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The Independent Online

The news that Phillips have brought out an all- over body shaver for men, the Bodygroom, will not, I believe, have lads sprinting into chemists and rioting in Boots like it's the new season at IKEA. But then I would say that - as one of my colleagues once kindly said: naked I look like a bloke who has been covered in glue and rolled around the floor of the barber's shop. I would no more consider getting my hair removed than I would consider having plastic surgery or liposuction, and, by God, do I need the latter.

The news that Phillips have brought out an all- over body shaver for men, the Bodygroom, will not, I believe, have lads sprinting into chemists and rioting in Boots like it's the new season at IKEA. But then I would say that - as one of my colleagues once kindly said: naked I look like a bloke who has been covered in glue and rolled around the floor of the barber's shop. I would no more consider getting my hair removed than I would consider having plastic surgery or liposuction, and, by God, do I need the latter.

I have nothing against men who shave, I just don't fancy it. As far as I'm concerned, by the time women get your clothes off they should already like you enough to not give a toss if you are sporting an extra human vest. As far as I'm concerned, grooming's for horses

If there genuinely is a debate among women about whether they prefer, hairy or smooth, I've no choice but to admit I sit squarely in the camp of David Bedford, Che Guevara and Sean Connery. The creators of Bodygroom might well argue that, now, I have a choice, but they are merely playing on men's insecurities and vanity, and tapping into the gay market where men are a lot more body conscious.

It's another little chess move in the commercial battle to turn men into women led by shopaholic footballers like Rio, Big John and Young Frank. There was a time when England centre halves were renowned for biting your legs and robbing your jewellery. Nowadays they've just become display cabinets for cosmetic and designer outlets.

Men have no choice about their chests - and I speak from experience. I tried it once while extremely drunk on holiday in France, and the results were disastrous. After accidentally hiring a villa in the middle of nowhere my mate Shakey and I got so drunk I decided it would be a good laugh to shave all my chest hair off. Alcoholic endeavour combined with boredom is the only sensible reason a man might shave his body hair off. While I was removing huge lanes of curls, he was trying hard not to choke on his own laughter. After about 10 minutes I'd gone half and half and he had whipped out his camera. There was no going back. Undoubtedly it was one of the most stupid things I've ever done. There was foam and hair everywhere: on the floor, in the sink, in the bath, down the bog and on the mirror.

The next day I was in agony. Mentally, it was a shocker because for the first time I noticed how fat I was. As each day passed, the feeling of hundreds of tiny pins jabbing into me every hour just got worse and worse. Nothing could convince me that doing this on a regular basis might make me more attractive to other people.

There is a certain truth in the fact that, the older we get, the more our hair disappears from our head and ends up on our backs, stopping only to loiter around our fingers, or stick out of our noses.

My mate Reece strikes a decent compromise which keeps him looking sleek and ready for the topless summer season without having the humiliation of asking a stranger to shave his chest and arse.

A couple of times a year Reece whips out the electric shears he does his number two suede head with and slides it around his chest. This allows him to look a bit like Lewis Collins out of The Professionals, a kind of prototype Robbie Williams. And he's quite happy with that. His chest looks like its covered in tiny splinters but he never suffers the pain of getting his body hair caught in the zip of his Prada cardigan.

Now that is painful.

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