Years from now, the 2015 Wisconsin winter will be remembered for only two things: The Green Bay Packers blowing a 50-point lead in the NFC Championship game against the Seahawks; and, every living creature being forced to endure this historic mistake-of-God cold weather.
I swear there was not a day in either January or February which broke 15 degrees Fahrenheit. If it did, it was still snowing. I calculate the average temperate was 7 degrees with a -10.33 (repeating, of course) degree wind chill during these two months. There were stretches of weeks in which my car would not fully “warm up” until I drove about two-thirds of the way to work. Is that how it’s like to live in Alaska? Or, is everyone there a longshoreman or isolated scientist studying the aurora borealis, or some crap?
I often take two-mile walks for exercise, and one morning it was 4 degrees with a -17 degree windchill. But I said, “Screw it, I’m going out anyway.” So, I wrapped my entire body like a polyester and canvass burrito — that’s TWO layers of insulation. There was only a small space left for my eyes, and I was trying to block the intruding cold air as best I could. After mile-one, the wind gusts were so biting and frigid I pulled my Cabella’s wool hat over my entire face, walking a block or two without seeing what was ahead.
Well, guess what? The actual whites of my eyeballs and a few square inches of exposed skin on my upper cheekbones got a tender, rosy windburn. And I also swear to God that I even had a tiny trail of frozen tears streaming along the sides of my face. I was only outside for a half-hour!
Well, that’s just not right, so I decided to invest in some “real” outdoor eye protection. I’ve never worn snow goggles before, and I was afraid of looking like a pretentious jerk, but I didn’t care anymore. I ordered a pair of Dragon Alliance D1’s, and I have to say they are really comfortable while blocking almost all the freezing air. If Johnson & Johnson isn’t still using the tagline “no more tears” for their baby shampoo, Dragon Alliance should think about nabbing that one for their excellent snow goggles.
Well, after solving the windburn problem, I was very optimistic about enduring the season’s shitty remainder. It was now a balmy March; all the snow banks started to melt, so I hung up the D1 goggles…for now. Also, I started to go “glove-less” on many more days. I soon noticed another common winter problem which began to assail me: Dry skin, particularly on the edges of my index fingers, but it was also prevalent on my knuckles and hands. I didn’t pay much attention to it.
Now, I’m the type of gruff, testosterone-induced male who actually takes a little pride in some crusty knuckles and sandpaper palms. It might be an indication you “work a lot” or that you are often too busy playing video games or chopping the family’s firewood to care. I didn’t think my condition was a big deal, and I didn’t want to care. “That’s stuff for girls, right?” That’s why I and many other men have programmed themselves to automatically ignore almost all “feminine-style” television commercials and advertisements.
You want some females to pay attention to the compounding issues of dry skin? Just have a tall woman with her hair pulled back, wearing a white, sleeve-less outfit, sitting on a white stool, all against and among a bright monochromatic background while seeming content, yet concerned. Though — most men observe this scene, and within a split nanosecond they shut off their brain; it doesn’t even matter if they are attracted to the spokeswoman. At the most, guys will become entranced watching her lips move without hearing anything she’s saying, even if the woman gets all scientific about lipids, cellulose, and other stuff.
You see, I’m kicking myself because I have been ignoring the call-to-lotion for all these years, but I never really cared—even after seeing the millions of warnings from genuinely concerned advertisers. I’ve also heard the concern from the females in my life. And I have occasionally set aside some quiet time to moisturize, and I try to use Softsoap whenever possible, but my hands have gotten so dry this winter the last creases on both my index fingers have actually cracked open! Did I mention the wounds are also periodically bleeding and causing stinging pain? Take a look.
Now, I need to apply a good, exfoliating formula (I’m proud to already know what that is) every three hours, and I may even need a “soaking treatment.” That’s what my wife tells me. I may even have to “wear a glove overnight”…what the hell is that? This is all because even if I lotion my hands and fingers constantly, the skin keeps opening and bleeding. I’ve had to wear a bandage with Neosporin on the affected areas, which does help the healing process; I’m hoping it works long-term. I really don’t want to mix sugar into my hand lotion, eat a cocoa butter sandwich, burn some aluminum foil, or perform any of the other weird remedies I’ve been hearing about.
Although I feel some guilt over never taking moisturizing seriously, society in general has not really been friendly to males who have lotion next to their beds, in their bathrooms, or in the glove boxes of their cars. Because you know what people think you’re using it for, even if you are well beyond puberty.
So, do you put it in the open, or do you hide it? If you put bottles of lotion in the open, people give you weird looks or make jokes to your face; if you hide it, they happen to open a drawer, raise their eyebrows, and then they insinuate something to a friend. Either way, you’re forced to explain yourself.
I’ve found the best way for a male to present their need to moisturize is to purposely place lotion in places people will notice, but you also have to use it in front of them. The demonstration is way better if you can show off some of your own “dry-skin-wounds.” You’re kind of saying:
“I’m just not embarrassed any longer, and neither should you be embarrassed. This is normal. I now have a legitimate health condition requiring lotion’s proper application, and I don’t want to people to discriminate against me.”
Besides all that, many girls I’ve known obsessively use moisturizers of all crazy concoctions and noxious scents… it just turns guys off to the whole ritual. I mean, a little goes a long way, and your skin can only absorb so much — it’s never going to soak through your arms and meld to your bones like Wolverine’s adamantium.
In summary, let this be a warning to you, guys. Start exfoliating and moisturizing NOW, and do it at least twice per day. Do not wait until the middle of a really cold, dry winter to take action. Also, don’t try to go glove-less on cold days because you’re “tough.” Start getting into a lotioning regiment — at least for your hands — maybe even doing your routine alongside your wife/girlfriend/significant other. It’s something to have in common or talk about, and you’ll improve your relationship, too.
Finally — for every day use, I endorse Organix Healing Cherry Blossom Rice Milk Cashmere Body Creme. The name is really long because it does a lot! Look at what’s in this stuff: willow bark, sugar cane, cherry blossom extract, rice milk, etc. As a guy, you definitely want a lotion you could probably eat. I hope it works for you, too.