the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

How I Learned to Love Body Scrub


It’s not easy being a modern man.    You try to be a good male feminist by promoting a woman candidate to be the first female President, until all the women you know start telling you that it is the MALE candidate who is better at understanding the needs of American women.   What next?  A male speaker at BlogHer?!

And then, if I ask for photos of female bloggers’ bras for my birthday, I’m a sleazy, typical male.   But if I profess my love for ABBA, I get emails like this one, a list of the “50 Gayest Songs Of All Time” —

20. Dolly Parton “9 to 5”
19. Coming Out Crew “Free, Gay And Happy”
18. Village People “In The Navy”
17. Frankie Goes To Hollywood “Relax”
16. Village People “Macho Man”
15. Judy Garland “Over The Rainbow”
14. Bronski Beat “Smalltown Boy”
13. Diana Ross “I’m Coming Out”
12. Cher “Believe”
11. Gloria Gaynor “I Am What I Am”
10. Alicia Bridges “I Love The Nightlife”
9. Madonna “Vogue”
8. Olivia Netwon-John “Xanadu”
7. Kylie Minogue “Better The Devil You Know”
6. Pet Shop Boys “Go West”
5. Kylie Minogue “Your Disco Needs You”
4. The Weathergirls “It’s Raining Men”
3. Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive”
2. Village People “YMCA”
1. ABBA “Dancing Queen”

Now, I actually like ALL of those songs (other than #19, which doesn’t sound familiar to me), but so what!

This was not the first questioning of my sexual orientation this week. 

On my birthday, Sophia gave me the best present she could have given me – she was super-nice to me.  Although things haven’t really changed between us — I’m still moving out — at least we don’t have to glare at each other as we pass each other in the morning.  I give her a lot of credit for making things better. 

I always complain on Valentine’s Day that the woman gets flowers, while the guy nothing, so I was surprised when Sophia brought me flowers for my birthday.  How thoughtful.  I know it is corny for me to ask for flowers, and sort of ABBA-ish, but I appreciated the special gesture. 

Later, I told Sophia about this old Italian restaurant nearby that a friend recommended, so we went there for dinner.  Wow, was it a bad choice.  It was the worst food either of us ever had.  Open since 1945, the restaurant’s menu only had two items — spaghetti and lasagna, and each was awful — soggy pasta and ketchup-tasting tomato sauce.  The patrons seemed to have been bused in from a convalescent home.  Normally, a bad restaurant choice on my part puts Sophia in a bad mood, but this establishment was so lousy, that it was quite amusing.  When our hapless waiter asked us if we would like to have bibs with our spaghetti, we both laughed out loud.  It was that type of place.  Sometimes bad experiences turn out memorable.

On the way home, I called my friend and asked him how in the world he could RECOMMEND this place.   I told him how much Sophia hated it. 

“Dude,” said my friend, being one of those guys who says “Dude.” “This is totally your fault.  I said this is a place where WE should go.  You don’t bring a girl there.”

“How was I supposed to know that?” I asked.  “And why would I want to go there even without Sophia?  It’s terrible.”

“Yeah, I know it sucks.  But they have cheap beer.  And it isn’t fancy.  You know, it is a place to go with the guys.  Like having a chilburger at Tommy’s.” 

The last time we met, we had a chiliburger at Tommy’s.

“So you think that when I’m with Sophia, I go to a nice place with good food, but when I’m on my own, I just go to Tommy’s for a chiliburger?” 

“Sure, don’t you?” he asked.

“No, I actually don’t like eating crap either.  I like good food.”

“I can’t stand those fake Beverly Hills Italian restaurants where they give you little portions and put pesto sauce on your pasta.  That is so gay.”

“I like pesto sauce,” I stated.


Why do some men still use that “gay” term to describe something they think is “unmanly?”  And is pesto sauce really that unmanly?

Anyway, back to the body scrub.

Now that Sophia and I reached a detente in the house, we decided to get our lives a bit back in order before I start my apartment searching.  The house was in a serious mess.  Neither of us had done the dishes in days.  The patio, once a haven of beauty, was in a state of disarray again.  I threw some of the old pots and scrubbed some of mud away.  Skanky water filled some hanging pots without the proper filtration.  I emptied them out, holding my nose, hoping not to catch malaria.

While I dealt with the patio, Sophia met with the cable guy, who had come over for the third time this week, trying to fix the spotty TV connection. 

After helping outside, all I could think about was… a shower.  I felt utterly disgusting, with all this mud all over me.  I went into the bathroom upstairs, undressed, and turned on the water in the shower.  Now, I love showers, for a whole number of reasons.  They are relaxing.  I can think.  I can sing.  I can dance.  Who doesn’t love a shower?  But today, it was all utilitarian.  I wanted the dirt off.   But there was no soap!

I jumped out of the shower, soaking wet, ready to grab the soap that is usually by the sink.  But it was another casualty to our in-house tensions during the last few weeks.  No one had put out any new soap.  I was about to open the bathroom door and run to the other bathroom for soap, when I heard the cable guy working on the TV in the next room.  I jumped back into the shower. 

That is when I discovered Sophia’s “body scrub” sitting on top of the railing, next to the shampoo and conditioner. 

I had seen it there a hundred times before, but like a workaholic who never stops to smell the flowers, I had never thought to actually try something called a body scrub.

The liquid was grainy and reminded me of the texture of some long-forgotten acne medicine.  Unlike that teenage elixir, this liquid was fragrant, making me feel as if I was running naked through a grove of wild apples.  I put the body scrub all over me — my back, my feet, my face — and scrubbed away.  When I was all done, I had never felt cleaner or more refreshed. 

Body scrub, I don’t care if you are in the same category as ABBA and pesto — you have won me over!   If YOU are considered gay to enjoy… well, then I am proud to march in your parade.


  1. V-Grrrl

    My 12-year-old son loves all my “girly” toiletries, including my apricot body scrub, which he uses lavishly, and my floral scented shampoo.

    Thank God he doesn’t like ABBA. ; )

  2. Artful Kisser

    My partner loves my apricot body scrub too, V-grrrl. I think you’ve gotta love a man who’s brave enough to smell of mango, honeydew and papaya with a hint of mint. I could almost eat them.

  3. suburbancorrespondent

    I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone (gay or straight) who likes ABBA…

  4. Denise

    hahaha how gay. No actually, how brilliant. Body scrub is awesome, too bad more guys don’t know that and are afraid to try it.

  5. nancypearlwannabe

    I can’t believe it took you so long to discover the joys of body scrub! My man loves all my products, even the conditioner and exfoliating scrub.

  6. Miss Britt

    I am on the hunt for manly scented body scrub. Something about my husband smelling like fruity fruity Pearberry really disturbs me, no matter how clean he is.

  7. Diane Mandy

    A man who requests bra photos is ruled out as being gay. Metrosexual? Maybe.

  8. Not Fainthearted

    Old Spice has body scrub too.

  9. Finn

    Body scrub on a man? Do you need help with your back?

    Yes, I’m volunteering.

  10. Iron Fist

    Dude, I like pesto sauce. What’s gay about pesto sauce?

  11. Eileen Dover

    I didn’t realise one “caught” malaria through the nose.

    Impressive. If I ever go off to the wilds of the Amazon, I’ll be sure to save myself the cost of immunization and simply hold my nose.

  12. Eileen Dover

    Iron Fist:

    Pesto is green. All things green are gay, like limes, trees, and German Carlsbad china.

    Oh wait. I may be a tad wrong. I have gay confused with Martha Stewart.

  13. bookfraud

    why is calling something “gay” make it bad? and

    body scrub is a-ok. but one bad thing about the rise of the metrosexual: it’s led to myspace douchebags with spray-on tans.

    more importantly, i’m glad sophia gave you a nice birthday present — you certainly deserve it.

  14. wendy

    Avoid your tender bits with the body scrub..DUDE….(I was going to say jiggly bit..but that might make you feel un manly…)

    I think most gay men appreciate the deliousness of fine lingerie. No indicator there.

  15. churlita

    Can’t you just call yourself metrosexual and then get away with anything? I thought that’s how it worked…

  16. melanie

    There is nothing wrong with having smooth clean fresh feeling skin. Scrub away.

  17. DaveX

    Body scrub is WAY more manly than that 99.6% pure bullshit SOAP. I mean seriously– it’s full of grit and it literally rips your top layer of skin off if you let it. They should stop saying that it exfoliates, and start talking about its “SKIN-RIPPING POWER ACTION” or something like that.

  18. Heidi

    Dude. Doesn’t it concern you that the cable guy’s been there three times in a week? Hmmm?

  19. Neil

    Sophia took me into the shower this morning and said, “You need to rewrite you post. Look –” and showed me that there were bottles of “body wash” and body gel” also available.


    “So, that’s soap.”

    “It is. How many different names for soap do women have?”

    “If you were really gay, you would have known about this.”

    And Heidi — Time Warner has been having “so many problems” with our area’s reception, that later that day, they sent two guys! What does that mean?

  20. Hilly

    Look at it this way…women don’t like to feel rough skin when touching a man so….you’re even more sexy now!

  21. 180/360

    I just got a vision of you in an Herbal Essences-like commercial, butt naked in a jungle, oohing and ahhing as you are enveloped by a fruity fragrance.

    Good morning, you big fruitcake!

  22. turnbaby

    LOLOL @ Sophia’s comment

    Glad you had a nice birthday sugar. Detente is a cool place but it do wear thin after a bit 😉

  23. SAJ

    this made me smile… for “reals”

  24. Jenny, Bloggess

    I hate it when people use the word “gay” to describe something they don’t like. That’s so gay.

  25. Annie

    Neil, will you marry me, if Sophia does not mind that is…:-)

  26. Neil

    Annie, I’m flattered, but maybe you should TALK to Sophia before you make any rash decisions.

  27. sizzle

    Body scrub is awesome. But pesto is awesomer.

  28. Lara

    They only had spaghetti and lasagne on the menu? Weird.

  29. Karl

    Nothing wrong with a little body scrub, dude. Totally manly. Were you using a loofah?

  30. Neil

    Lara –

    They do have ravioli as a special dish, but not that night. I hate bad-mouthing a business, but this place truly sucked. Maybe this was acceptable pasta for Californians in 1945, in the same way that chop suey once passed for Chinese food.

  31. Nat

    Well, The Man likes Abba in fact, he has this thing for dance music that I don’t understand… in fact I think that he has a thing for the high end shaving stuff. Hmmmm… maybe I should set you two up on a date???

  32. Randy Jones

    Hello Neil,
    My name is Randy Jones and I am the original Village People Cowboy. I believe we(Village People) have THREE songs in your top twenty list, plus I’ve covered “Your Disco Needs You!” on my new solo CD, “Ticket to the World”. Your writing is wonderful and I had some terrific laffs reading your posting. Keep up the great work and know that I will definitely be reading.
    God bless,
    Randy Jones

  33. Neil

    Randy — this is a true honor to have you come to this blog. I love the music of the Village People! The Village People have been an inspiration for so many, both gay and straight. Music really does bring people together.

    I look forward to hearing your solo CD!



  34. ampersandranch

    I am in AWE of your fan base, Neil! We’re all in very good company.

  35. Heather B.

    Body scrub makes your skin soft. So keep on, keeping on, man.

  36. Annie

    Neil, I am sure Sophia has her side of the marriage story, but Neil I can think for myself and I think you are darling :-).
    However Sophia would have to give her blessings :-).

  37. HeyJoe

    Body scrub; thy name is heaven.

  38. Kyra

    I like Body Scrub, but it is a little weird when hubby comes out of the shower smelling…er…. like me. I bought him his own. I really like the amber scent, or the oakwood.

  39. Lou P.

    I’ve tried the scented body wash stuff before (when at a girl’s place or whatever), though Dove liquid soap does the job for me.

  40. Eileen Dover

    Dammit. I just get men with talking penises commenting on my blog.

    You get a Village People (Person)!

  41. Marie

    What What, in the Butt- Samwell

  42. Mr. Fabulous

    Be proud, my friend. I am a huge ABBA fan. In fact, I like most of the songs in that list.

    We are not so different, you and I.

  43. Heidi

    “And Heidi — Time Warner has been having “so many problems” with our area’s reception, that later that day, they sent two guys! What does that mean?”

    Listen, we all know Sophia ia hot. Just keep an eye out, is all I’m sayin’.

  44. natalie

    what? a village person! now if only someone from ABBA would comment on your blog…well then…you would truly be my hero.

  45. gorillabuns

    I don’t know if I will be allowed to comment on your blog anymore with all your Star-power commenters in attendance.

    Also – I like a man who scrubs away their ashy business.

  46. Stacey

    The Captain refuses to use my body scrub if we run out of soap. He says shampoo does the job just as well.

  47. better safe than sorry

    glad to read you had a good birthday.
    my husband and son both use assorted body scrubs, there are lots of different ones available here, you must have the same choices there. we haven’t had a bar of soap in our house for years.

  48. Artful Kisser

    Wow. The Cowboy commented on your blog!I’m gobsmacked.

  49. teahouseblossom

    Yay for body scrub!!

    If there isn’t any available, you can always try rubbing crushed glass on your body. Very exfoliating as well.

  50. Rob O.

    Of course, you’re still a rank amateur until you’ve tried pesto body scrub! But you’ll want to watch where ya go with those pine nuts. I’m just saying…

    But y’know, none of us want to end up looking like Keith Richards or Willy Nelson. So, sure, ya moisturize a little. Well, you’ve gotta take care of the ‘do, so ya use a little of your wife’s fancy hair conditioner. And of course, you don’t wanna snag your lady with those nasty tree-climbers, so you venture off and get a pedi. Next thing you know, you’re wondering…

    Are we ALL turning metrosexual?

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