Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Old Spice" Can't Help You

"Smell Like A Man, Man" - The advertisement for Old Spice Bodywash

Three days after the reflections of We All Want To Believe, I'm still haunted by "Beauty and The Beast". I think I need to see the whole movie and absorb its full impact; it's been ages since I last saw it. It's hard to swallow the fact that it's taken God more than 11 years to break through to me with the power behind its message. And with it, He's also blown all the wounds and submerged hurt of more than a decade to the surface in one mighty eruption. As I'm confronted with the "Beast" in the mirror, I'm crushed under the realization of the gaping hole in me that needs change and healing. God's ability to torpedo my world with one animated fairy tale is shocking; this year seems to have been an unending series of such assumption-devastating events.

So what does Old Spice have to do with it?

"The man your man could smell like!" was the punchline of the recent spate of advertisements from Old Spice, implying increased manliness if men would use their bath product instead of "ladies-scented bodywash". I don't question the wit and humor of their marketing strategy (only surpassed by a friend of mine named Wanda). But in the light of the pressure and affliction that other men and I struggle with, this Old Spice advertisement reeks of pure superficiality.

"Old Spice" has become my metaphor for all the falsehood that men are coerced to use in demonstrating masculinity, ultimately as bogus as the love underpinning the marriages surveyed in TIME Magazine's report. I refer to all the posturing and masquerading that we are encouraged to undertake in hiding behind looks, physique, money, clothing, education, career, power, prestige, rebellion, the pseudo machismo attitude, fake spirituality....I could go on and on.

What good is it being "the man your man could smell like" if there's a hole in his soul the size of a bomb crater? Or "an oyster with two tickets to that thing you love" if he has emotional barriers that could stop artillery shells? Or overflowing diamonds if he has gambled away his soul? Or being able to "bake a gourmet cake in the dream kitchen he built for you with his own hands" if he burns down a relationship because he refuses to admit his wounds? Or taking a "swan dive!" if his emotional and spritual depth can be measured with a ruler?

We are beyond the help of "Old Spice" if such is our condition,. I believe this is beautifully illustrated in the prologue of "Beauty and The Beast". My problem, similar to the predicament of the prince in the video below, had some variations. More in upcoming posts. Until then, have a good weekend!

- The Wisdom Seeker

I wish to admit that I have used Old Spice aftershave, not because of clever marketing, but because my maternal grandfather uses it and I admired him for many reasons as a child. I copied him when I first started shaving. I still use it not because I want to be the man her man could smell like, but because I don't like irritated skin and skin infections after shaving.

I highly recommend it for this purpose :)