Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Manly Me

This morning Mrs. Chatterbox said to me,” So how’s that shampoo I bought for you?”

I’d asked her to pick up some more when she went to the store because the bottle in my gym bag was empty. I looked up from my iPad and said, “It’s fine.”
“She looked at me curiously. “Did you notice anything different?”
“Can’t say I did. But it was nice. Real sudsy.”
“Was it different from the shampoo you’ve been using?”
I set down my iPad. “What am I missing here.”
“The shampoo I bought was specifically designed for men.”
Feeling like I’d failed a masculinity test, not my first, I said, “It felt like a real manly shampoo.”
She smiled and went back to watching Iron Chef, where a sweaty guy in an apron was cracking open a massive ostrich egg. Later, when the program was over and she wasn’t around, I pulled out my gym bag and checked the label on my new shampoo. I half expected to see ingredients like bull sperm or yak musk, but nothing über masculine was listed as an ingredient. I remember an antiperspirant once marketed with the slogan: Strong enough for him, but made for her. This marketing pitch made it seem like women perspired differently than men, which I don’t believe.
With too much time on my hands from avoiding useful pursuits, I decided to find out what made this shampoo male.  Differences in packaging were obvious: her bottle was soft and pink as a kitten's nose; my container was rigid, black like the Kevlar vests of swat teams and shaped like something to throw at the enemy. But these were superficial differences. I checked the ingredients on our shampoo bottles and subtracted the ingredients found in both bottles.

*Note to Homeland Security—I know you’re listening in and these are ingredients
for shampoo, not a dirty bomb. If it is a bomb, it’s a squeaky clean one:

Water: Yes, we’re paying mostly for water.
Alcohol: Drink this shampoo and enjoy your shower more.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone: Wasn’t this the guy who enslaved the Israelites?
Methylisothiazolinone: Or was it this guy?
Citric Acid: I think this is in Fresca and 7-Up.
EDTA: Isn’t this a department of government Romney wants to get rid of?
Distearate: Actresses use this to fake crying, right?
Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Technical term for a fart.
Sodium Citrate: I bet this is good in margaritas.
Fragrance: Female shampoos smell of flowers, male shampoo like cheerleader uniforms.
Panthenol: a shiny but endangered catlike jungle creature.
Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: Probably the glue holding together Hydrox Cookies.
Dimethiconol: Pulverized remains of a small dinosaur thought to have pretty hair.

These are the ingredients found in male shampoo but not in the female version:

Cocamidopropyl Betaine: The ingredient in Coca Cola that makes you cry? 
Carbomer: I once rebuilt one of these in my shop/automotive class. 
Guar: A possible sixteen points in Scrabble. 
TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate: ????????????

Actually I have no idea what these last four items are, but it’s apparent the beauty care industry knows more about male and female sexuality than regular scientists. No more nonsense about “X” and “Y” chromosomes; the difference between the sexes is written on plastic bottles for all to see. If you want to know what’s manly, what prompts him to make a withdrawal from the boner bank, the answer is in these mystery ingredients.

In the spirit of scientific study, I’ve paused for a shower break. I shampooed long and hard with my Suave Shampoo for MEN. I must admit to feeling…strange. I feel like humping furniture, and I’m experiencing a sensation that’s eluded me my entire life, the desire to engage in a bar fight. But before I head over to the nearest watering hole I think I’ll shampoo my hair again.

Submitted to my friends at Dude Write.


  1. I always thought the biggest difference is the for men shampoos they put in gray or black bottles so they don't look so girly. Not that I care. I use baby shampoo after I got "Manly" shampoo in my eye once. That stuff stings something awful! I prefer no more tears.

  2. This post is a riot!!! I always thought the differences were two fold. The first being at PT said, the packaging. Black bottles. Why black is deemed masculine I don't know as black slacks is the mainstay of every females wardrobe.

    The second difference is fragrance. Maybe those last ingredients smell like medicine. The guys shampoos smell more like an antiseptic...while the women's version smells pretty like a garden. My dad (who I inherited my strangeness from), once had the idea to make a line of men's products that smell like the inside of a bar. Stale cigarettes with a little waft of beer scent thrown in. He figured that men would buy these products en masse. He had also decided to include a room scent spray available, as seemingly most of the guys he knew really appreciated sitting in bars.

    Is there a doubt in your mind that my family and assorted hanger-ons were nothing if not classy?

  3. Now when I get home I'm going to have to compare my hub's shampoo to mine. I suppose as long as a person is actually USING some kind of shampoo, we should be happy. (I say this after a very unpleasant encounter sitting next to a person who apparently is part of the anti-bathing movement...)

    Hilarious post!

  4. Sodium Laureth Sulfate should not be in woman's shampoo.

    And what a bad name for a hair product...shampoo...sounds like that fake dog crap they sell at the novelty stores.

  5. This post is so funny! The content-yes, but more so that it even exists! Can't wait to see what you research next.

  6. I once ate a Yorkie bar, then promptly bench pressed a car and grew a beard that transcended the boundaries of reality. I don't know what they do to these products that are "just for men", but the difference is profound!

  7. You cracked me up! Beware of humping furniture; it sounds like it could be painful, if not dangerous!

  8. There are more laughs per column inch in this piece than in any of the reportage concerning the presidential debates. That is an amazing achievement, and I am bowing in your general direction.

    The bit with the ingredients is inspired stuff. I mean that. Just plain hilarious.

  9. The two "Meth's" were father and son. It was a family occupation to enslave the Israelites.

  10. I don't know anything about manly shampoo. I don't think my husband does either. As for the ingredients? I'm at a loss there too except for the first few. You did pretty good though.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  11. Honestly, are the ingredients deliberately named those long words to keep the general public from knowing the simple things they are, or are the ingredients so complex we wouldn't know what they are anyway? Too much for me to understand. My simple mind can tell if I like the darn shampoo or not. Don't get me started on ingredients in food labels. Yikes.

  12. The lack of differences is why i just buy the cheap stuff.

    And you have to have heard about the differences between men and women when it comes to needing deodorant: horses sweat, men perspire, women glow. Margaret once said that to Dennis the Menace and he told her she was glowing like a horse...

  13. I'm going to be looking at my shampoo when I take a shower...and my conditioner, body wash and face scrub....

  14. Maybe it makes men grow hair where none has grown for years. But it sounds to me as if the effects of this shampoo might be cumulative. My advice is "be hareful"

  15. I do not have dandruff, but I once ran out of shampoo (BTW, I prefer real poo) & washed my hair with my husband's Head & Shoulders. What happened differently? Nothing--which is my point!

  16. Perhaps that's what the pig who uses the treadmill next to me at the gym, and NEVER wipes it down after he's sweated all over it uses. He thinks his shampoo for MEN stops his sweat from stinking too?

  17. Don't cha know? Horses sweat; men perspire; and women mist. Or do they glow? I'm not sure; but I do know that women are different from men. But, regarding PT Dilloway, I contend there's nothing unmanly about baby shampoo. After all, there are plenty of male babies.

  18. Is that a foam penis on your head? You look real cute in the tub.


  19. ah but you are incorrect ... women do perspire differently than men do .. we don't sweat bullets, we exude dampness unless of course you are a woman in the midst of menopause in which case you sweat like a lady pig

  20. Is that scent of cheerleader uniforms before or after use? Male or female cheerleaders?

  21. That's a he'll of a lot of chemicals! I had no idea there were so many in shampoo! If my DNA mutates or something, I'm totally blaming the shampoo company.

  22. hahahahah
    Oh, I do so love to visit here!
    I don't do it nearly enough!

    Hope your pirate eye is lots better! ;)

    Have a wonderful week!

  23. The only difference that matters to me is smell. I was at a friend's house, watching their kids while they were out of town. I didn't bring shampoo, because I planned on using hers (with permission!) and she always has really great stuff. Well, this time, she must have taken her only bottle, so I was forced to use his shampoo and it was awful. My long, pretty hair smelled like a boy! I was not happy.

  24. But seriously, one wonders what may happen to us with all the strange ingredients not only in shampoo but many other products. Sorry to rain on your party.

  25. Can't you just use Prell? That stuff was like lye soap in green liquid form. My mother made me think it was the only kind of shampoo that would get my hair clean.

  26. I say you switch the shampoos, pour the manly shampoo into the pink as a kittens nose bottle and see how long it takes Mrs. C to notice, it will be an interesting experiment, but if she comes out of the bathroom fuming mad just after cracking the lid open, remember, This wasn't my idea.

  27. Go for it, tiger! You've clearly got testosterone oozing out of every pore.

    I'd guess that the main difference between the shampoos is that the female version takes a long time to lather and lasts all night, whereas the male version immediately erupts with lots of suds but then fizzles out?

  28. OK, your post made me laugh long and hard. Eventually, I did recover and think about why there are different hygiene products for men and women. Like, why are my friends so shocked - make that shocked!!! - that I use Old Spice shower gel? I finally came to the conclusion that those highly paid advertising executives on Madison Avenue in New York City are all suffering from the effects of thinning oxygen on those 56th floor penthouse suites. If they had their wits about them, women would be wearing bacon-scented perfume to attract men and beer shampoo to wash their hair.

  29. Honestly--I was not aware of all those ingredients in my shampoo. Gross! I will have to go and read my bottle of Pantene and compare it to the Kiss My Face (supposed to be more natural). You should read what is in toothpaste! ;)

  30. "Dimethiconol: Pulverized remains of a small dinosaur thought to have pretty hair." Ha, classic!

    You're only a man once you've got dinosaur dust in your hair, so congratulations sir!

  31. As long as you don't use a loofah, I think you can use any kind of shower products you want!

  32. Honestly, I think it all comes down to marketing. I mean, in the old-timey days you had one flavor of soap for everyone and they all turned out just fine. Well... some of them did anyway.

    Fun post Stephen.

  33. I just got a visual of The Chubby Chatterbox in the shower lathering up his doo, making all of those "in the throws of orgasmic bliss" sounds that the woman used to make on that old shampoo commercial from a few years back.

    .......excuse me while I find some battery acid to pour into my ear to try to erase the image from my brain.

    Sorry, I was just kidding. I'm sure your "in the throws of orgasmic bliss" sounds are exceptionally manly. I'd just rather not have the image in my head. :)

    Excellent post as always.

  34. You mean guys are supposed to shower too? I thought that was just a woman thing!

  35. I think all the extra ingredients are meant to add more of a sting when it gets in your eyes. Y'know, a manly sting that only men can handle.

  36. I'm glad you've adopted a "make hair clean not war" sentimentality. Fun post and well written as usual!

  37. If that shampoo made you long and hard, you're using it on the wrong head.