Today I received a curious little book from Nordstrom’s called “The Grooming Game,” which features a host of men’s hair and skin products (available online as The Men’s Grooming Guide). Up until now I had thought Nordstrom’s figured me for a woman since they regularly send me lingerie and dainty dress catalogs. This book though is an extremely tactful piece of marketing, with ambiguous writing and suggestive photography. The opening page says it all: an image of a man shaving, staring off into the distance in Narcissian gaze, reaffirmed by the text, “think strategically: forget vanityâ€”sharpening your image lets you take your big self out in the world. If life is a game, why not play? When it comes to grooming, Nordstrom knows the rules.”
Every page features some sort of beautyâ€”erâ€”masculine product, from face care to cologne, even a man-blush (a Jean Paul Gaultier product called Better Than Tan Matte Bronzer). There is also a host of Queer Eye wisdom, such as “look the part: natural may be nice, but sometimes you’ve got to buff your bluff,” or “keep them guessing: maintain your fresh face by moisturizing at night.” For the man with all the products they even offer an Alpha Lipoic Acid Face Firming Activator from N.V. Perricone Cosmeceuticals in 2 oz. bottle for $95. The question on everyone’s mind: what the hell is a cosmecutical?
My friend Zach has been saying for quite some time that metrosexualism is the cosmetic company’s solution to a saturated market. In this age, it’s nearly impossible to sell a woman another product regardless of its quality, innovation or ingredients. What these companies need is a new market, and what better than an untapped population equal in size to women? I’m sure that Queer Eye is just the beginning, and that over the next few years I’ll be inundated with enough eye creams to make me sick (even if I don’t eat them). I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a facial before, and I tend to use moisturizer in the morning, but I’m not sure I’m ready for the onslaught of advertising I’ve been able to ignore up until now. It’s just a matter of time before I get my first Loreal catalog.