We are being told, from all corners of the internet, that it is crucial to continue to make an effort with our appearance in order to maintain our happiness, our wellbeing and to survive this pandemic. We are being told that we can move on from loungewear now, that your trackie-bottomed WFH uniform should be put back into the neglected sportswear drawer and you should at least dress up your top half for those team Zoom meetings.
There is truth in this. We agree with this. Whilst there undoubtedly is comfort in sloppy cotton (and Gawd knows, we all needed comfort this year) there’s a 'recovery energy' in making an effort and we need to allow our bodies and our minds to remember how good it feels to feel good.
The ‘making an effort’ process for men has come a long way in the past couple of decades as more involved grooming has become prevalent and retailers have responded to this. Although we seem, sadly, to have taken a culturally-conservative backwards step in some respects, (how is it so radical to see Harry Styles in a dress on the cover of Vogue, when Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Prince, Marc Bolan and Elton John were dressed so fantastically decades ago?) men are definitely upping their grooming game from the days of the quarterly short back and sides and perhaps, ‘Something for the weekend, Sir?’
Jules was telling me about his mate, the waxer. When Jules first started going to this exclusively male waxer to get the ol’ topiary dealt with, he asked him what percentage of his clientele he thought were straight. Using his own finely-tuned Gaydar, the waxer reported that in the 90s in Brighton, 100% of his clients were gay men but that over the past couple of decades there has been a seismic shift and he would now put that figure around 75% straight - men of all ages and backgrounds. Things have certainly changed.
When you do take care of your body, be it through a haircut, waxing, a gym session, new socks, a good moisturiser, drinking more water, having an early night in clean sheets, when you change the little things in the world that you actually are able to change, when you permit yourself to nourish yourself, there is a palpable effect. You will hold yourself up differently. You will radiate the goodness that you just put in. And you will see just how damn attractive that is.
We are, many of us, the children of the children whose parents were fighting through a World War. We are hardwired, in some cases, to deny ourselves ‘flippant indulgences’ for the sake of the greater good. But there is no greater good, ultimately, if you’re down and feeling broken.
It’s like the initially-unsettling yet highly logical message from that pre-recorded guy on every flight you go on, who tells you that when the oxygen masks fall down, sort yourself out first before attempting to help anyone else - it may feel wrong, but it’s so right. You can’t radiate that super-attractive happiness if you are not allowing yourself to build it through tiny things that make you feel good.
Try giving yourself permission to do one thing this week, it doesn’t have to be amazing new underwear, but we’re here just in case it is.