Staggering back into the newsroom after reluctantly covering a particularly pungent summer grass fire south of Dixon, I was surprised when a comely young news editor approached me and purred, “New after-shave?”I was tempted to dismiss her with a perfunctory dummy slap to the back of the head, but then I realized that I might be on the cutting edge of a men’s fragrance breakthrough that could sweep the nation like wildfire and make me a cool chunk of change in the bargain.
What the copy editor was smelling was not, of course, after-shave. It was a heady mixture of burned wheat stubble, melted tires and roasted rodent, with just a hint of manly perspiration.
Doesn’t sound too appetizing but, then, neither were 90 percent of the so-called “musk” colognes that somehow leaked out of America’s post-disco era to assail the nation’s nostrils for a decade or so.
Although I was somewhat punchy from stumbling around in dense smoke for nearly an hour, my smitten colleague’s apparent attraction to my unique aroma launched an entrepreneurial train of thought that’s still rolling down the track.
If I could bottle this elusive scent, real men everywhere would shell out fistfuls of cash to get it.
Let’s face it, amigos, most of today’s after-shaves – with the possible exception of gin – are pretty sissified. They say, ‘I’m a caring, sensitive guy who loves kittens and flower arranging when I’m not hard at work sewing tea cozies.’
It’s time for a change, guys.When my new after-shave, “Smoke Eater!”, hits the discount drugstore shelves, things are going to be different. A whole lot different. No hint of lime or frangipani. No cherries and roses or moss. No, sir. When you splash on “Smoke Eater!”, you’ll be a four-alarm man, not a walking cloud of olfactory silliness.
Lesser men will want to extinguish you, but the ladies will be sure to flock around murmuring, “Burn, baby, burn…”
“Smoke Eater!’ after-shave is, of course, still in the design stages, but I envision a smoky (what else?) glass aerosol container filled with the essence of burning weeds, charred chicken coop and a hint of the aforementioned perspiration – with, perhaps, a splash of Jack Daniels to get the message across.The ladies won’t be able to resist. And, with a little luck, “Smoke Eater!” will soon expand to a full line of manly products – shaving cream, ‘Smoke Eater!” soap on a rope, deodorant, shampoo and car deodorizer.
After that, the sky will be the limit for our manly new fragrance. “Smoke Eater!” may even be offered in a variety of flavors – barbecue, habanero, hickory, bourbon or prawn – along with a line of slightly-charred sportswear and gentlemens’ accessories.
“Smoke Eater!” boxer shorts? Hey, it doesn’t get any better than that, amigos…
Originally published July 16, 2006