I have always thought that it is good for both men and women to groom themselves. Today, the average male or female devotes a precious 45 minutes each day in front of a mirror in search of a look. The man wants the magical Don Juan look, while for women if its not Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera its Naomi Campbell.
This is a new generation of women and men who are fast mastering what used to be an unrivalled preserve of the former. With them comes a new range of products fortified with aloe vera and moisturisers. For the Afro-man it is a search for the brown skin colour that unfortunately leaves a bright face that does not match the fingers, or drastically fades away near the neckline.
Jean is upbeat and believes that after his long search for a girlfriend, his cute new face is going to hook him up. His look has been greatly transformed during the last year and he is now slim, light-skinned and wearing revealing T-shirts. He now even remembers and embraces little details that would have been irrelevant in Africa, such as celebrating his birthday; he also swings his hands, has a pose while laughing and even sheds tears of love, to look romantic. He also has a true Roman twang and would probably trade his grandmum for an AS Roma jersey or a ticket to a match. Surprisingly, women are falling head over heels for types like Jean as they seem to provide more drama, adventure and bravado, along with a cleverly-crafted charm that reminds them of their youthful past; a craving which is rapidly gaining ground.
Jeans Italian buddy Claudio is also caught up in an identity crisis. He wants to have dreadlocks; something tells him the late Bob Marley look is cool. Alas for him, locks just dont come easy on a whites hair, unlike an Afro-man who only needs to leave his hair unkempt for three months to succeed. As a result, Claudio spends a lot of time in front of the bathroom mirror trying to plait himself. He has also bought a bigger mirror, has some Rastafarian paraphenalia from the elusive kingdom of Shashamane and has a big portrait of Bob Marley and Rasta literature in his room. Lately he has been skipping college and wants to join the local reggae band. Mamma is constantly complaining and has banned Jean from associating with her son.
Claudios girlfriend, who happens to be Afro, is blessed with a God-given back that Jennifer Lopez would secretly admire, but is so seriously perturbed by the size of her breasts that she is willing to spend e6,000 to face a Dr Mancinis knife for the Janet Jackson bust. She is fast approaching the dreaded late 30s without the ring, as Claudio has still to master the phrase will you marry me. Some visibly emerging grey hair is also complicating matters for her.
My good old Tonys girlfriend also seems to be caught up in the frenzy. Hers is a different ball game altogether. Being white she is battling with all types of creams to give her the elusive chocolate skin colour she wants in order to look African, or shall we say real Mediterranean. She argues that her beauty therapist told her that brown is more sizzling, sensual and lusty, and keeps the men deliriously busy till winter. She is not alone. Take a walk in downtown Rome and you will see real golden brown ladies who are constantly checking themselves out to see if their make-up has come off.
Why doesnt Tony want to take her to Africa so that she can get the real suntan in Mombasa or Malindi as most Italians would prefer? Perhaps he cares more for his regular fill of Carlsberg with all his drinking he is contemplating looking for a job at a local Italian brewery as a beer-taster, if only they would pay him well.
This is the new breed: a class of mutants co-existing amongst us men and women of distinguished honour and poise.
Another thing I find really strange is when a man approaches me on the dance floor and says Hi fella, I have been watching you and I think you are cute. What have you been watching me for? I am beginning to feel that Cupid is getting old, blind and re-prioritising, otherwise this new shift towards unisex wouldnt be spreading so fast.