Skin Deep

“When did we start to believing that life wasn’t supposed to leave marks? I don’t want my man’s hands to remind me of my little brother’s. I want them to be strong and maybe even a little bit scary. I want them to be the kind of hands you don’t say no to. If your hand makes me picture you sweating, I picture myself sweating with you. (I’m blushing now, a pause as I gently fan myself gently.) So spit on those palms, rub them together and get to work. Leave some skin behind on an ex handle. Make your fingers bleed on that guitar you haven’t picked up since college. Then grab a girl, you’ll have her at the first touch.” (Esquire, What I like in a Man: Sandpaper Hands by Erica Beeney, page 66, November 2006)

Having gotten this far – in life and this book – you realize that men are not women or children. Their skin and their faces reflect that. It has been said, somewhat cruelly, that women age like fruit while men age like wine. The key is to age like a fine cabernet sauvignon, not a drugstore cheapie. When we see men wearing gloves while they work out to protect their skin from calluses, we wonder. And not in a good way.

We’re all for enough protection to avoid skin cancer, but not enough so that you seem to be aspiring to geisha status. Sure, a hat or some some screen if you work or play at length in the sun. But if you live a generally healthy lifestyle, with plenty of exercise, hard work, enough sleep, moderate drinking, and reasonable prudence in your other habits, your skin will pretty much end up looking like a man should look; a little weathered, but in a good way, like a used leather chair. Leave the perfect fair skin to the ladies and the babies.

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