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    The young smoothies

    You know how some topics seem to follow you around until you’re, like, “All right, already! Uncle! Uncle!” Two of my buddies and I were talking last night. We don’t usually get around to talking about our preferred varieties of male hotness, but somehow we got on the subject of chest hair for a good 20-minute stretch. Just now, Ace Pryhill commented that a gentleman of her acquaintance once decided to feel the breeze where he’d never felt it before. The idea struck her as kind of gay, but according to Heather Havrilesky, it isn’t anymore:

    The smoothie’s interest in his “look” is more deeply felt and sincere than that, not to mention slightly misguided and disturbingly meticulous: Baseball caps are molded, painstakingly, into the perfect C-shape; stubble is trimmed into the perfect Don Johnson-style 5 o’clock shadow; “distressed” jeans, with their calculated faded patches and hemmed rips, are cleaned and pressed and tugged just below the waist; eyebrows are waxed, as is back, chest and (gasp) the family jewels to boot. The smoothie spends a lot not just on clothes and haircuts, but on highlights, spray-tans, manicures and pedicures, bodybuilding formulas, gym memberships, dry cleaning bills, man jewelry and hip-hop classes. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the smoothie is like a cross between a frat boy and Britney Spears.

    Ew. Ewwwww. Ew, ew, ew. Ih-hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiwwwww.

    We should probably applaud the newfound freedom and the joy these young men take in being objectified; we should probably stand up and cheer when these shiny boy toys shake their asses and pout like Britney; we should encourage them to dress with flair and enjoy those spa treatments and dream their big Chippendale’s-style dreams.

    We should, but we can’t. Because these men might be looking for visual perfection, but we’re not. There’s just something a little bit unappealing about men who spend far more time on themselves than most women do. When the previews for next week’s “Average Joe” flashed an invasion of blond ab monkeys in matching red sports cars, flashing white teeth and spiked hair and shiny, tan six-packs, all I could think was, Where’s the variety? Who wants a bunch of pumped-up clones with the exact same body type?

    And what’s so wrong with a little chest hair, anyway? Doesn’t anyone remember Tom Selleck, with his perfect, dark hair-patches that accented his fit-but-not-too-fit barrel chest? To plenty of women and gay men, chest hair gives the bare chest a signature touch or adds a unique feature to an otherwise featureless landscape. Sure, we loved that hairless, buff body in the black-and-white Soloflex ads when we were teenagers, but that was before every third jerk on the street had one.

    Yes. Well, except for the part about “gives the bare chest a signature touch or adds a unique feature to an otherwise featureless landscape,” which sounds as if the smoothies are working their deleterious way into Ms. Havrilesky’s brain a bit more than she realizes. I think the word she’s looking for is “touchable.”

    There’s nothing wrong with being naturally smooth. But the thing is, even guys with “no chest hair” have that down you only see up close–we’re mammals, right? When it’s shaved or N’aired away, the skin left behind takes on the texture of vinyl. And I’m sorry, when you run your hand down a man’s chest, it shouldn’t skid like a Ford Explorer going into a hydroplane.

    2 Responses to “The young smoothies”

    1. -John- says:

      No offense, Sean, but this:

      “we should probably stand up and cheer when these shiny boy toys shake their asses and pout like Britney; we should encourage them to dress with flair and enjoy those spa treatments and dream their big Chippendale’s-style dreams.”

      is kind of gay. No matter what the Metrosexuals say.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Excuse me, buddy? I have never once shaken my ass and pouted like Britney.

      At least, not at the same time.

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