Tag Archives: Men’s Health

“I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty…”

At the risk of getting my Man Card revoked, shredded and incinerated, its ashes buried in some unmarked grave, let me make the following confession:

I have taken to using “product.”

You know, “product.”

The euphemistic term used by and among men to describe the various unguents (a fancier way of saying ointments, instead of my preferred synonym: “goo”) that they use on their face, body and hair.

Lest you think this is some passing fad, consider this: Spending on men’s grooming was estimated to generate $21 billion in 2016.

To put that number in context: That’s a lot of unguents.

The Independent reported that 2013 was the first year men spent more money on male-specific toiletries than on shaving products, and the market was growing.

I have contributed to those statistics but I was not always like this.

In fact, I once openly mocked those guys who spent as much time on their skin care as some do buffing their cars.

Once upon a time, my idea of a beauty treatment was spritzing on some Brut or Old Spice aftershave or Canoe cologne.

And then I’d squeeze into my Jordache jeans, and I’d be prepared to take the world by storm. (Hey! Don’t judge. It was the ‘80s. Everyone was doing it.)

Fast-forward decades, and there was a cable television show called “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”

The premise: Five openly gay men offer tips on fashion and beauty for straight guys.

I found the show entertaining but I strongly resisted the pull to become a “metrosexual.”

Go to a salon for a haircut and shave? No thanks. I’ll just go to a barber.

Dye my graying hair? Are you kidding me?

Use fancy shower gels? I’ll just stick to my bar of Irish Spring.

But over time I’ve given greater consideration to taking better care of my skin and hair. I’ve been exercising regularly for 15 years, so maybe this naturally follows?

Maybe my newfound vanity also comes from turning 52 and realizing that Yoda is the only one who looks good with wrinkles.

And then there’s the pressure of the young folks: My younger son (who is 18) and even one of my nephews (10) have so many hair products, they could open their own salon.

So, slowly I’ve been changing my habits:

Out with the bars of soap, and in with “refreshing” shower gels.

Out with mere water after I shave, and in with a soothing balm.

And most recently – gulp – I dropped 100 bucks on things like (and I swear I am not making these up):

Black tea age-delay eye concentrate, rose deep hydration face cream, black tea firming corset cream (with goji fruit extract!) and, my favorite: Umbrian clay mattifying face exfolliant.

I truly am not sure what any of these things are doing for me, and maybe it’s just a placebo effect, but I do, in fact, dance around the house singing like Maria from “West Side Story”:

“I feel pretty/Oh, so pretty…”

Now, what the heck did I do with my loofah?

Covering Up Cosmo? Stop the Double-Standard!

I was reading a story about the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan who was being promoted to Hearst magazines’ chief content officer after four years.

The editor, Joanna Coles, was quoted as saying: “I love Cosmo, but I gave it everything I had. I just didn’t have another sex position in me.”

That comment was a humorous nod to the magazine’s well-earned reputation for having every issue tout some kind of sex move or position or strategy on its cover.

Some of the headlines on covers and inside stories for a couple of issues I found from 2015 include: “Hot Sex Tonight: The No. 1 Way to Bring You Closer.” “The Sex Move He Will Worship You For.” “I Hired a Hooker With My Husband.”

Cosmopolitan has such a reputation that some vendors have taken to putting covers over its covers so as to not offend the shopping public or scar young impressionable minds.

Slate.com reported: “But for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE), formerly known as Morality in Media, Cosmopolitan is porn. The NCSE is behind a successful push — hardly the first of its kind — to place the magazine behind blinders in stores owned by two major chains, RiteAid and Delhaize America (which owns Hannaford Stores and Food Lion).”

I’m calling shenanigans – and a double standard – on that.

As my old man would say: “Are you serious or delirious?”

Let’s start with Men’s Health, a magazine I read fairly regularly.

Among the teases on covers of its magazines in my stockpile: “Set off fireworks in the bedroom!” and “Naughty sex: She wants it bad.”

But I don’t read about anyone clutching their pearls over men’s magazine covers.


How about this one? “Best. Sex. Ever! We show you how.”

Guess where that one appeared?

Cosmopolitan? Men’s Health? Glamour?


That was on the cover of the August/September issue of AARP magazine last year.

I am no prude by a long shot but I am no Larry Flynt either.

It is true that Cosmopolitan’s covers are probably steamier than those of the newly revamped Playboy, which eliminated nude pictorials, redesigned its content and whose tamed covers now share more in common with bodice-ripper romance novels sold at Barnes & Noble.

But the idea of putting Cosmopolitan magazines behind blinders is laughable.

To begin with, hiding them will only pique more curiosity about what’s on the covers in the first place.

Second, you openly hawk in racks at the checkout lines the drivel that makes up the supermarket tabloids like The National Enquirer (“Celebrity Celluloid!” “Obama Cloned by Space Aliens!”) and not bat an eyelash?!

Third, given the backseat that print is taking and the continuing ascension of digital content, shouldn’t we be more worried about what is available at the click of a mouse or a swipe on our smartphones?

Let’s get our priorities straight.

Before we go putting blinders on Cosmopolitan magazine, let’s take ours off first.

Talking Men’s Health

In this latest episode of About Men Radio shenanigans, Pedro and Chris talk about men’s health —  no, not the magazine —  but what it takes for men our age to be of sound bodies. (Forget about our minds, those are shot!)

Partly the discussion was spurred on by recent medical procedures we both endured (read: colonoscopies) and the order by Chris’s doctor to drop 15 pounds.

That, in turn, led to a conversation about…well, never mind. Just give it all a listen and then tell your friends about it.

The AMR crew will soon have a big announcement about a project we’re working on, so you will have to stay tuned for future episodes!

Never Too Late to Feel The Burn or Get Rid of That Goo

Over the years, each generation has had exercise gurus who put their stamp on an era:

Jack LaLanne. Jane Fonda. Richard Simmons.

For me, it’s Tony Horton. He is the face of an intense workout program known as P90X. (I am pretty sure, after having done these rigorous routines myself, that the “P” in P90X stands for “Phuck! This is hard!”)

I was not always a fan of fitness. In fact, up until 13 years ago, I think you would classify me as…what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah: A slug.

As a kid, I was at various times what euphemistically was described as “chunky” and would wear jeans sized “husky.”

Later in my teens and early 20s, I thinned out. But once I hit my late 20s and especially as I got into my 30s, well, it was the Battle of the Bulge, and the bulge won.

Then 9/11 happened. I fell into a deep depression following the attacks and my eating went out of control.

A little more than a month later, I decided that I would begin to work out.


What motivated me? The thought of all those first responders who lost their lives and the question of, God forbid I ever found myself in a life-and-death emergency, what kind of shape would I be in? Would I be a help or hindrance to any rescue operation?

So on my 37th birthday, I popped a 30-minute “Boot Camp” workout videotape into the VCR.

Winded and sweaty, I had to stop after 15 minutes.

I tried again the next day, and the day after that, until I was able to get through the whole routine. What came next were biking, running, weight lifting and the overall loss of 40 pounds.

About six years ago, I took up the Tony Horton P90X series and related workouts from Beachbody.com, like P90, P90X3, Insanity and Asylum.

These workouts are never easy and I struggle with many of the moves. And no, I don’t have six-pack abs or rippling muscles. When it comes to getting ripped, I’m just happy to no longer be ripping my pants.

What 13 years of “exercise sobriety” has brought me is a chance to blow off steam and to challenge myself. For instance, in the course of one P90X workout, I’ve been able to do 200 push-ups of various sorts.

It’s not about transforming myself into a cover model for “Men’s Health.” If I were more rigorous about what I eat and spent even more time exercising, I’d be happy to sport such a look.

But that’s not the point. It’s about confronting the struggle to be physically healthy every day for the rest of my life.

In celebration of my commitment and my upcoming 50thbirthday, my wife has treated me to the “Central Pa. Health Fitness Expo,” featuring a meet-and-greet with Horton, who will be the keynote speaker.

And, oh yeah, it includes a one-hour workout with the man himself. The workout promises to be — to quote one of many memorable Horton quips — “like swimming, only wetter.”

I might suck wind compared to some of my fellow participants who are stronger, thinner, younger, etc. But it’s not going to stop me from going all in (and risking making a fool of myself!)

All I can say is: Bring it!