While I of course cherish each member of my household of athletic, outdoor-loving dudes, being surrounded by so much testosterone on a daily basis certainly can cause some..."issues". Such as an inordinate amount of dirt, grass, and even twigs that somehow get tracked into the house regularly. Or the plethora of sweaty garments that accumulate for each night's laundry load. And how could I fail to mention the...pungent...aroma of vigorous male activity when they retreat, hot and covered in perspiration, to their air-conditioned oasis? Um...yaaayyy?
However, as the one appointed to make the frequent Target supply runs, I try to always remember to feel grateful about the flip side: the incredibly low-maintenance quality of the male species. After all, my lists usually consist of a whole lot of...shall we say "girlie products"--you know what I'm talking about: moisturizers (spf for daytime, super-anti-aging for overnight), makeup removal cloths, hair care potions (different variations, of course, for adding body, increasing control, or combating humidity)...and other random, absolutely necessary-for-female-survival...stuff. It has been a revelation to me how shockingly little effort is required to meet the hygiene needs of my guys. Basically, I quickly peek into Husband's medicine cabinet to assess his stash of toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving items, and deodorant. D-O-N-E. Until recently, the sons have been even easier. (i.e.: "yes" to oral care and the ever-important odor-prevention; "not yet" to shaving...thank goodness!)
Things began to change just a smidge when Derek suddenly took that leap into adolescence. The first, gradual step involved a totally new concept for him--that's right, I'm talking about acne treatment. Not that there's anything major going on in that department just yet, but several months ago I made a preemptive strike by purchasing some cleansing pads and pimple-be-gone cream. Then I noticed his face might not be as fresh and clean as one would hope...after he washed it with a bar of Ivory soap in the shower. (I know: DUH. Good catch, Mom. So sue me, I'm still getting used to dealing with a teenager...) So I bought him a natural, gently-medicated face wash to use instead. (Bonus: it boasts those exfoliating scrubby beads...which I'm sure he neither notices nor appreciates...but I'm sure someday he'll thank me!) Without any prompting whatsoever, he reported that he liked the way it made his skin feel...which should have been my first warning that we were on a slippery downward slope.
Around the same time, I had switched him from regular shampoo to Head & Shoulders, after noticing his dry, slightly flaky scalp. He had no complaints about this, but insisted that I choose the package that clearly stated the following: "FOR MEN"...and "Official Dandruff Shampoo of the NFL". (Extra cred if he's actually seen a commercial for it during a televised sporting event. Sigh.) But then the unthinkable happened--once when I went to the store without him, I was inexorably lured by the money-saving draw of the cheaper generic brand. (GASP!) I figured it wouldn't really matter to him...but after he'd used the no-name for several washings, he curiously inquired, "Does Head & Shoulders cost a lot more?" Uh-oh..."Um, noooo...why?" Very seriously he answered, "Because I like it better." Expecting an illogical or baseless response, I pressed, "Okay, but what's different?" Without missing a beat he replied, "It makes my hair feel much softer." So I reverted to the original kind when it was time to replace his bottle, at which point he proceeded to back up his claim by coming in to my room one night after his shower and demanding, "See, touch my hair, doesn't it feel soft?" (Oh. Good. Grief. What, are you getting in touch with your feminine side, or something?)
As if that weren't bad enough, ever since Riley got the mohawk shaved back into his hair, he's been clamoring for me to (are you ready for this?) mousse and blowdry it, to achieve the maximum possible...spikiness, I guess. Never in a million years did I imagine I'd be coiffing my son every morning before he leaves for school. (This can only mean one thing: I've got to teach him to do that sucker himself!) And then, the final straw. Last night Derek plopped down next to me and queried, "Can we have body wash?" What. The. HECK? As I gaped at him in utter incomprehension as to just why my beloved child would ask such a thing, he responded to my unspoken question, "Because soap is just...boring!" So at this point I have no idea if someone's been feeding him outrageous stories, something along the lines of "chicks dig the manly scent of X body wash"...or if he's reacting to an advertisement. (Either one is equally likely...as well as equally preposterous, I'd say.)
But I do believe one thing is crystal clear: the Y-chromosome contingent in this house is NOT permitted to use more personal care products than I do. At least, not until they can drive themselves to Target and get their own! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go hide all of my special lotions and whatnot, lest I end up with tea-tree oil scented, shea butter coated children...who need another shower!