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Metrosexual-mania helped get Saddam

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Many women are counted among my loyal readers -- well, several -- but I must ask that today they move on to another part of the paper. Today the column is for men only. It is essential I alert my fellow men, in a muscular and frank manner, of an insidious threat to our guyhood.

I take as my text a story from the Washington Post written after the capture of Saddam Hussein, describing a small hut near the spider hole where he was found. Saddam had been living there for about a week. One chilling paragraph in the Post story set the scene:

"Personal care products sat atop a mini-refrigerator: a cake of Palmolive Naturals soap, a bottle of Dove moisturizing shampoo, a pot of moisturizing cream and a stick of Lacoste deodorant 'pour homme.' "

It is obvious what happened here, men. Saddam wasn't brought to justice by superior intelligence; no, personal care products had weakened his resolve.

Saddam was really a metrosexual. That is the fact of the matter.

It's no big surprise, because 2003 was the year of the metrosexual. Throughout history, there have been men who weren't necessarily gay but liked a good grooming product, but only this year did they achieve their own identity.

The word suddenly cropped up and it's hard to know why. In a sense, it's like "home invasions," a popular pastime of the criminally foolish this past year. Bad guys have been busting into homes since time immemorial, but who knows what we called such crimes before the concept of "home invasions" completely took over.

One good thing: There have been no reports of metrosexuals being the perpetrators of home invasions. What a relief! If desperate men were to burst into your house, tie you up and pillage your moisturizer creams, that would be insult added to injury.

(I mention this prospect only to terrorize female readers who have ignored my instructions not to read further, and that means you, madam, from Mt. Lebanon.)

As far as Saddam is concerned, some will say he was dirty and disheveled, so how could he be a metrosexual? But that's the modern look. A great-deal of grooming is required to look like a complete derelict.

In the old days, a person like myself could look like a slob for nothing, but today jeans must be pre-ripped by experts and hair needs a $100 session at the salon to be made to look like a bird-nesting area.

Of course, it is true Saddam was living on a farm outside a metro area, and ruralsexual hasn't entered the language until this moment. But Saddam thought he was on vacation, albeit a cut-rate one short on amenities.

One thing you didn't see in the news reports was that Saddam's skin was dry. Those moisturizers had done their work well, despite the fact that spider holes are very tough on the skin. Why, the spiders have a heck of a time, what with all their legs.

But at what cost this personal skin care? What good is a stick of Lacoste deodorant "pour homme" in a tight hole? For goodness sakes, those are French words, which, as you know, mean "for wimps" in English. Such a deodorant is the very essence of surrender. It might as well come with a white flag tied to the roll-on dispenser.

There is a lesson for all men here. Did the Wild Colonial Boy, that brave lad much sung about wherever the Irish and Aussies bang their cups together, use a bottle of Dove moisturizing shampoo before he faced his foes and yelled, "I'll die but not surrender!"?

No. Neither did he shake a cake of Palmolive Naturals soap defiantly when the police came to get him. He died like a man, and nobody said later: "Yes, that's all very heroic, but regrettably his skin was very flaky."

You may be wondering, men, why I am alerting you to this in the merry holiday season. It's not as if the 4th Infantry Division is likely to invade your home.

But Santa may have done so already. The dead hand of female sensibility may have infiltrated personal care products into your stocking, even -- heaven forbid -- deodorant "pour homme."

One homme to another, with the ladies safely occupied elsewhere, it would be better if you were secretly to dispose of your metrosexual starter kit safely down the commode. A fine-smelling commode is the greatest gift you can give her anyway, because nothing in past experience will have prepared her for it.

Then you can feel manly in your own un-moisturized skin and not repeat the mistake of Saddam Hussein, who has shown us so graphically the folly of metrosexualism.


Reg Henry can be reached at rhenry@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1668.

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