Good art reflects the culture that created it, and a good meme can definitely be a form of art. About two years ago, the jokes about men only using poor-quality combination products blew up. Since then, we’ve seen some cultural reversal as individual men have felt called out for just using the cheap and convenient products society has relegated them to for self-care.
College men are no different. When time and money are tight, the path of least resistance looks pretty good. Especially when it seems that more specialty products are marketed towards women and less “traditionally masculine” men.
History of self-care
The situation gets even more absurd when we remember men have been taking care of themselves forever.
The Romans were no strangers to self-care. They built massive multi-part bathhouses that were a combination spa and gym. They also developed specialized hair grooming equipment for both men and women.
If the men who built the Colosseum, formed the strongest army the world had ever seen, and conquered the Mediterranean world thought spending the time to take care of themselves was important, then there is probably something to it.
Small ways to deal with college stress
There is not a college student in the world who doesn’t know stress. One of the greatest challenges to overcome in college, for guys included, is learning to manage that stress well. In the long term, unmanaged stress can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health and lead to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression.
While there are many ways to cope with stress, taking small, intentional actions is a great start.
Taking the time to slow down and shave with a safety razor and cream over an electric razor is a good example. The attention required is similar to forms of meditation or muscle relaxation techniques as it allows a man to focus on one spot of his body.
This is even more true if he opts for a more traditional option, the straight razor and shaving soaps. Though intimidating, and frankly less practical, shaving this way on special occasions is a way for a guy to set aside a moment just for himself. Not only can the “meditative” and muscle relaxation aspects be beneficial, but using shaving soaps scented with things like sandalwood and citrus can act as aromatherapy.
While most of the supposed health benefits of things like essential oils are unsubstantiated, their use as scents can contribute to a reduction of anxiety, insomnia, and depression through relaxation.
College students aren’t exactly known for their huge budgets, and dropping hundreds of dollars on fancy products for daily use would be irresponsible.
However, a market is emerging for more specialty style products aimed at a lower price range. Products like Dr. Squatch’s bar soaps, Harry’s Razors’ shaving supplies, and a whole range of skincare brands that are not high-end, but are still far higher quality than more generic alternatives at a similar price range, have come on the market.
If using these more affordable products still seems like a stretch, picking one or two substitutes to rotate into your routine for the month is a great way to reduce cost and keep the experience of using better products.
Men, self-care is for you, too, and there are plenty of ways to practice it without breaking the bank or sacrificing time that could be spent thinking about the Roman Empire.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and that goes for self-care too.
Marcus Bridgeman is the Opinion Editor at The Collegiate Commons. In his own columns, he mostly focuses on issues of public policy and political philosophy. Bridgeman is a native Hoosier and a law student. His article is in no way sponsored by any company mentioned, nor should you take any health advice from him. The featured image is courtesy of Red’s Classic Barber Shop.