Real men don’t wear cologne

26 Nov

Working into the wee small hours a couple of weeks back I could hear something pounding across the ceiling. Leaning back in my faux-leather office chair I pondered the noise and put it down to the bloody cat I’m now forced to share my space with. Don’t get me wrong, I love cats, really I do – but they make me very very ill, almost to the point of hospitilisation. Of course when said cat padded down the corridor to see me just seconds later I realised we may have another problem.

So last week, lying in the bath as is my custom, at about 2am I suddenly became very aware of the patter of little feet above me. At speed. Repeatedly. Yes dear Bobbystalkers, without a shadow of a doubt that was the dreaded sound of mice. Slightly astounded by the volume that one rodent weighing a mere 25g can make, I took a sip of my cough medicine and opened my book once again.

Prior to last week I’d seen only two mice since we moved in. One was in the corner of the stables during the first week. The other I found floating in the horses’ water bucket when cleaning them out (very peaceful it looked). And in the last week we’ve caught three of the feckers. My sister has been berating me on Facebook for my ranting about them, but then she has two cats and a flat. We’re in a mini-farm scenario, miles from the nearest bus shelter and I don’t drive (actually, that’s a rant for another night…). I try to point out they eat wires, cause electrical fires, pee everywhere, carry disease, eat my food…

I saw ‘we’ve caught’ but in fact, muggins here has been left on Mouse duty. Wifey finally heard one at the start of the week and decided to set the traps that were lying in one of the cupboards when we moved in. Within an hour we had one. Of course, me, with my minor rodent phobia, had to dispose of it. Worse was number two, which was still slightly alive when I spotted it. And number three (which we caught today after a wait of several days) left a bloody mess on the woodwork which I bet I end up cleaning.

We live in the country. These things happen, and I’m sure its just as bad in the city, that is if you can avoid the rats and urban foxes. But since I was a kid I’ve had a thing about rodents… or rather rats. I’m completely captivated by them, but from a safe distance please. My dad used to have to catch them (we lived in the Craigantlet hills then), and drown them in the nearby quarry. Uggh.

Actually speaking of ‘uggh’, I was on the phone the other morning having just come from a very positive meeting, and standing outside the new restaurant where the old BK used to be beside the Movie House on Dublin Road in Belfast, and glancing down there was a huge black rat. Lying on the drain. Dead. Worse, it was squashed into the drain cover, flush with the top, but with little bits forced between the slats. I didn’t take a photo. I probably should have. I have photos of the other feckers.

I’m not much of a man really. I’m rather more squeamish than most people realise. Even the sight of mould on a bit of cheese can set me into spasms of fear (especially when you can tell the mould on the stilton isn’t the mould that was there when you bought it!).  I can’t bring myself to chug a dozen tins of light beer, or a single lager; I don’t get the attraction of football or indeed any competitive sport; cigarettes repulse me…

Oh if I had a quid everytime my masculinity was called into question…

Do people still buy Old Spice? I was pleasantly surprised when I started noticing Lamb’s Navy Rum in shops a year or so back, having never taken notice of it before, but knowing that the delightful Caroline Munro used to be the Lamb’s Navy Rum poster girl (and fact fans, can be spotted in Hammer’s On The Buses on a billboard, BEFORE she got a contract for the company). But Old Spice? I remember my dad having it when I was a wee sprog. Red bottle, and a pungent musky scent.  He had Brut as well, that came in an odd green bottle with a large neck, its very own medallion – you provide your own hairy chest- and a similar musky whiff. Musk, that seems to be the key to smelling manly, but I’m not sure why? I find these days when I choose a scent in inevitably has a citrus-aroma to it.

Lynx body products do the same sort of thing, present a musky masculine image. Thank goodness they’ve introduced some actual scent into the range (and I do like their body scrubs), but for me Lynx deodorant will always send me back to the locker room at school after a particularly horrid game of rugby in winter. Having braved the homo-erotic potential of the showers with the other boys and fumbled for ten minutes with the impossibly small buttonholes on my shirt with fingers still numb and red from the Arctic weather. Boys in their teenage years, whether deprived of female company (as I was) or not, seem to believe that more is best and will think nothing of emptying a half-can of aerosol onto their sweaty torsos. Are they just getting high on the fumes? Surely they can’t actually think they smell good? Somewhere in the middle of the room the emissions meet and react and new life is born… Girls don’t do the same thing, do they?
That the advertising standards folk chose to get their knickers in a twist this week because Lucy Pinder indulged in a little 1970s-esque advertising sexy is excessive. Frankly most of the children who are educated beside the (non-Pinder) billboards probably won’t notice a thing. I grew up on a diet of Benny Hill, Kenny Everett and Carry On films and I’ve seen far more in those. I bet it was grumpy wifes and girlfriends complaining about their gawping husbands.  That the online Pinder adverts are filled with sexual innuendo really shouldn’t bother anyone. Does anyone complain about the breasts on show in the Mail? Or some of the twats that you can actually see write for them? Is it more manly to use a product that markets itself with a near-naked woman? Wouldn’t it be more manly if Lynx promoted itself with images of bonding soldiers -like the Romans?

You know I’m sure I had a point in mind when I started this. But its gone now.


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