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Beyond Stubble


“The reptilian brain associates the look with illness, fatigue, a hangover, depression, and the need for a bath.”

There are ways to know what’s coming down, but you have to follow the trail. I have foreseen a radical shift in the physiognomy of the male emerging in the pages of The New York Times, and I should go ahead and announce it now so that you can be prepared.

First of all I’m happy to report that there is some evidence that the popularity of stubble is on the wane. I know it’s fashionable, but I am not alone in finding it off-putting. The reptilian brain associates the look with illness, fatigue, a hangover, depression, and the need for a bath. The look may be “easy,” however, and that makes more sense than the willingness of women to totter around in these platform/stilettos that are currently fashionable.

So when stubble is over, what will replace it? Ironically, the clue came in an article targeted to women. The subject was the crash-dieting some do in order to fit into slim wedding dresses. A few doctors in the United States are beginning to offer something called the K-E diet, which has long been popular in Italy and Spain. It involves inserting a tube into the nose, down the esophagus, and into  the stomach to administer no more than 800 calories of nourishment per day for 10 days.

So how does this relate to masculine fashion? In the recent style ads of the Times, something new has begun to emerge–androgynous-looking men in nipped in suits that reveal legs like toothpicks and torsos smaller around than most feminine waists. The men are actually very beautiful, some even more so than the female models who are often so heavily made up. There is still a bit of stubble prickling around, but many complexions are exquisitely smooth, the eyebrows shaped, a touch of gloss on the lips.

If this is the new fashion–and one must follow fashion–how does a man get there? Obviously the facial hair has to go, maybe with just the right infusion of hormones. Anything that creates bulk or muscles must be avoided. And here comes the tube diet, to be administered at regular intervals to maintain that sylph-like slenderness. As the new ideal sets out on the streets of New York, the nasogastric tube will descend into a chic Gucci or Chanel bag containing the nutrition pack.

It’s coming. Remember that you heard it here first.




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