Tribeca: “Mansome” – What makes a man a man?

This entry was posted on 23.04.2012

As I enter the barbershop on 23rd Street, across the street from the Chelsea Clearview Cinema, I am beginning to feel some doubt: Should I get my no frills haircut here as usual, even though the barbers don’t cut the hair the way I’d prefer it? Should I find a possible more expensive hair salon? Or should I cut the hair down to 9 mm myself? All these questions were fueled by “Mansome”, Morgan Spurlock’s highly entertaining (but also thought provoking) new documentary that had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be in the theaters in a few weeks.

So. What makes a man a man? Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, who produced “Mansome”, say “If you don’t take care of yourself, you are a boy” – a philosophy Zach Galifianakis who is also interviewed would strongly reject. But when are men taking too much care of themselves?

For Spurlock there’s only one way for a man to be “mansome” – it’s defined by physical attributes. Spurlock – who unlike his other documentaries only appears in the first segment – sees his mustache as something manly. And still he shaves it off at the end of “Movember”.

Or does it need a full beard to be a real man? Maybe Galifianakis is a real man then? Jack Passion, a professional beardsman would probably only partly agree: He has to take good care of his beard, he even lives healthier – just for the sake of winning trophies at some beard competitions, which look quite a bit like a freak show for some of the viewers. His greatest wish: winning a championship in Bavaria, the homeland of all beards (although he apparently thinks Bavaria is in Austria – never mind).

Other important ways to define a man some man: What products does he use? Is using a shower gel too much already? Or does a man really need “Fresh Balls”? A product to – well it does what it says (looks it up, you can order “Fresh Balls” online). What about hair on the back? A no-go?

Spurlock interviews people who call themselves “metrosexual”, who help balding hair etc. It’s highly amusing how serious everybody takes himself – listen to them and you probably want to agree to their position. Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, a man with an impressive beard himself, might be the most reasonable person though.

Trust me: You’ll have similar doubts after you left the theater as me. Even if you tend to believe that the looks won’t make a man “mansome”.

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