Jim Chapman, ( @j1mmyb0bba on twitter) is a youtube phenomenon.
His twitter profile tells us:
‘I’m on youtube! I run one of the biggest men’s grooming channels (and a website) in the whole wide world. Thank you to everyone who makes it so…’
From watching his video diaries I can see why he is so popular. I am a girl, but I find women or men talking about personal care and beautification, really really boring as a rule. I tend to just glaze over and nod in the right places if I can, and go off into my own little world. But Jimmy manages to make even the technical workings of a hairdryer sound fascinating. I am transfixed!
Obviously it doesn’t hurt that he is very cute. And he has a lovely, quite well spoken but down to earth voice. And also an attractive girlfriend who sometimes does videos with him. Like this one about ‘imperfections’.
But I have one small though important bone to pick with the gorgeous Jim. Why oh why does he have to use that hateful term ‘manly’ to describe his grooming tips?? His ‘monthly manly favourites’ and his ‘man fringe’ really get on my nerves. I know men are keen to assure us that just because they wax and pluck and moisturise like women do, they aren’t, you know, girls (or gay). But the addition of the words ‘men’, ‘manly’ or ‘guys’ to any product or marketing campaign is just naff.
As M Simpson has written,
‘Manbags. Manscara. Mandates. (It’s) a way of saying, yes it’s a trend, men’s behaviours are changing and that’s why it’s newsworthy – but don’t worry! Men are still MEN! And this isn’t about a niche! It’s about NORMAL GUYS!!
One of Jim’s youtube viewers shows how silly all this ‘manly’ stuff is when she comments:
‘Jim , I somehow always find myself watching your manly videos on how to style your hair and best aftershaves and all the rest , even though I’m a girl!! Haha maybe its because your so charming and a true gentleman !! ‘
Other products which like to think of themselves as ‘manly’ :
Sure For Men with its ‘Fresh, masculine fragrances’.
Clinique creams, which one ‘grooming’ website has called helpfully
Polyfiller For Your Face! so men are not put off by the usually ‘feminine’ packaging and marketing.
And my current favourite manly product: Face Lube – ‘ultra masculine face care’ , which is trying to sound like a car maintenance lubricant, and just ends up sounding, well, very very gay. I know where I put lube, and it isn’t on my face.
I think my message to Jimmy, and all you ‘manly’ men out there is, I think you are great, and you are all looking a lot prettier with better skin these days. I don’t assume that because you use product or look after yourselves you are ‘gay’ or ‘women’. But when you insist on drawing attention to what ‘men’s men’ you are, and how ‘masculine’ your moisturiser is, a few doubts about your uber-heterosexual masculinity do start to form in my mind….
I mean, I have to have something to fantasise about while I am pretending to listen to you going on about your skin care regime, don’t I boys?
This Post, and a lively debate, originally appeared at Grooming Guru HQ: