The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 37.0°F | Fair

Down the Hatchet

Putting the Lotion in the Basket

By Akshay Patil
COLUMNIST

I couldn’t help it. The humidity was low, and the weather was getting cold. My lips were chapped; my skin was horribly dry.

I couldn’t take it anymore, so I had to do it. I had to sacrifice a little bit of my manliness and start, yes, start using lotion.

What can I say? It was unbearable. My skin was so dry that I almost looked white at times. I had a bottle in my closet that my mom gave me freshman year that had remained relatively untouched, so out it came and on it went. My moral resolve had been strong for years, but something about the weather this year made me (and my skin) break.

Using lotion ranks pretty high on the scale of things men shouldn’t do. I mean, swimmers shave their legs, but somehow that’s not the same. When a swimmer shaves his legs, it’s just manlier than using lotion. It probably has to do with the fact the average (hell, below average) swimmer could kick my ass. And really, on the grand-scale of manliness, that’s what it all comes down to.

Men don’t have moisture needs. I guess it boils down to pure ruggedness. Cowboys don’t use lotion. Real men don’t ride off into the sunset with an economy size bottle of Vaseline “Intensive Care” in their saddles. They didn’t even have toilet paper!

None of this pansy moisturizing business. Real men use shampoo and soap. That’s all. Well, clean real men do at least; there are some dirty real men who don’t use one or both. Then they go to lecture and sit next to me.

Anyways, clean or not, real men don’t use sponges and liquid soap that you put in a big squishee thing. Nor do they have 23 varieties of soaps that all smell like a different fruit or flower. They don’t take more than one bottle into the shower, they don’t go on shopping sprees in bath-and-body beyond, and the certainly don’t use moisturizing lotion.

It’s just not done.

The worst part is, I even put lotion on my legs. Boy, did that feel weird. Guys, if you want a brush with femininity, try putting lotion on your legs. It’s a strange feeling. Just make sure you do it with the door closed; otherwise people might wonder.

What can I say? Manliness is important... to guys.

There are just things we don’t like doing. Holding purses, asking for help, shaving, using lotion... these are just some of the many things we don’t like doing. It stems back to our natural instincts to be the leader of the pack; the moment we reveal any sort of weakness, (dry skin, for example,) we immediately feel threatened. And let me tell ya, you ain’t gonna scare off the other alpha males while holding a purse either. So if you’re a girl, don’t make the guy do it. It’s for his safety.

Lotion application is hard for the male psyche. Just writing these words makes me feel like less of a man. The urge to grunt and grab my crotch gradually fades as the level of lotion left in the bottle steadily lowers.

Thankfully, the weather has regained some humidity and I no longer need to undermine my masculinity on a daily basis. But I still feel guilty inside. Almost as bad as that one time I lost a dare and had to go to a grocery store wearing lipstick and makeup to buy tampons. And let me tell ya, running into a friend in aisle seven really didn’t help. For those of you wondering, it was the frozen foods aisle.