It’s a myth that white people (in my case a Jewish one) can’t be ashy. We most certainly can. In fact, parts of my body are so ashy that they have fossilized and become a petrified version of ash. There are plenty of solutions. First off, moisturize regularly. Second, special socks and gloves can help. Third, dermatologists can prescribe high intensity, prescription creams; essentially moisturizers on steroids. Fourth, skip creams and move straight to essential oils massaged into the effected area. Finally, one could simply amputate the affected limb or section of body. For November’s installment of “The Many Faces of Manny” we will be focusing on moisturizing.
This article will focus heavily on my feet which are, in medical terms, disgusting. I’m not a professional athlete. I have never even had a case of athlete’s foot. I have never even suffered any ailment that needed a can of aerosol fungicide to cure. Yet, despite those failures, my feet persist in being a part of my body that not only require covering up but can be the cause of nightmares in any children or frailer adult that might happen to glance upon them.
But let’s not only focus on my feet. My elbows, and other random areas of my body, can be rather dry and ashy. The elbows are so bad that most of my long sleeve shirts tear in the elbows. This is particularly true of shirts that I wear to my day job. The typing, done in such a position as to rest my right elbow on a desk, results in constant wardrobe casualties. They are not the type of cool tears one gets in the knee of their jeans. These are tears that begin on the inside. The elbow, dry, cracked and abrasive, essentially acts as a sandpaper exfoliant destroying the fibers of the shirt until, with nothing left to protect itself, bursts through revealing it’s mangled surface that appears similar to a the dehydrated, tongue of a deceased donkey that died en route on the deserted plains of southwest Texas.
But let’s return to my feet. I recently went to the doctor because, due to a sixteen year old injury, I had some pretty messed up swelling around my ankle. It was my doctor who informed me that I was fine although my feet were “cosmetically disgusting.” Maybe it’s important for you to get an idea of just how cosmetically disturbing my feet are. So I will provide a few images before we get into the meat of the matter.
That’s a pretty rough idea of just how hideous my feet are. There is no foot fetish in the world that would make any of this ok. And, if I haven’t mentioned it (which I haven’t), my feet bleed a lot. This is because they get so dry that they crack and end up scabbed and grotesque.
Here we are still talking about my feet when this installment is supposed to be dealing with moisturizer. I guess I just needed to convey how absolutely unappealingly disgusting my feet actually are. That way, when I tell you how much I hate moisturizing them it might give you pause to think, “what an easily curable problem that this moron refuses to address.” Well, allow me to digress for a few moments and let you know just how much I hate using moisturizing lotion.
Moisturizer is primarily made up of a few ingredients: alcohol, some moisturizing agent and paragons, paraffins or other waxes to help seal the moisturizing agent. My main problems with using such concoction are that alcohol will further dry you out (some believe causing an addiction to moisturizer) and that the moisturizing agent makes me feel slimy and atrocious, which is only enhanced by the film of wax coating my skin topping off the entire sad experience. And it’s not only horrible on your feet. Moisturizer on the hands and arms can be an equally horrific experience. Particularly when the waxy cream helps grease up your body hair like a 1950’s bad boy going out to cruise the strip. The feeling is horrible.
I know I am not the only person in the world that feels utterly digesting when moisturizer is applied to their body. It may be genetic, but my father is a sharp opponent of the moisturizing industry. He has spent his entire life developing a lecherous, dinosaur like exterior that not only wards off any and all attempt at moisturizing but provides him with a thick exoskeleton should he ever have to run barefoot over a field of loose gravel.
If I had to compare moisturizer to any experience I guess I would say that I assume it’s like being hosed down with a thin coating of semen which is then sealed in with the glaze usually reserved for the cheapest of donuts. And trust me, I have tried them all. Every aisle for every ethnicity. Every oily, shiny product that promises to cause you to slip and fall once applied to the soles of your feet. Everything. Pharmaceutical grade tubes guaranteed to cure even the harshest of heels. I have used a pedi-egg. I have used the knives that are used at the less reputable pedicure joints. I have even purchased socks from Bliss that are supposed to cure all foot ailments if worn for thirty minutes per day. Unfortunately, they were no match for my feet and my heels tore through the latex lined sock in a matter of minutes.
So, as you can see, the dryness is somewhat of a disability. Shoes are destroyed inside before they are outside. If I’m wearing sneakers that look brand new on the outside, you can be assured that the inside is a minefield of tears, wear marks and dead foot skin waging war on the support systems of my footwear. Sock are not even worth wearing as they can usually make it no longer than seventy-two hours before either a toe or heel decides to find a way to breathe. I can’t even wear slippers around the house. I have taken to stealing and storing those white hotel slippers so I can have a new pair each week. Basically, anything that comes into contact with my feet is slated for an early death.
My poor wife shares a bed with me. The slightest shift in my sleeping position can cause one of my feet to graze her lower extremities. The result is being awoken by a screaming, bleeding and wounded wife. Either a toenail has torn into her foot or my heel has given her road rash on her shins. Fortunately for her, she’s taken to sleeping in protective wear including thick sweatpants and winter socks. Anything to keep her from being assaulted in the night.
Speaking of my wife, who somehow puts up with these feet, she has taken me for many pedicures. We have tried different shops, different types of pedicures, the works, wax, etc. Those experiences just leave me feeling pity for whatever non-English speaking woman has traversed the seas to arrive in America only to have to touch my feet. It’s probably a benefit for me, at least mentally, that I never understand the language most commonly spoken by my pedicure expert. As she complains to her friends about touching my feet, how gross it is and how she will likely not eat for the next 18-26 hours, I understand none of it. All I see is a calmly forced smile as she looks up and asks if I want the extra super paraffin treatment reserved for newly sanded furniture.
So, as you can see, I have tried and failed. It is likely my complete avoidance of moisturizers that keeps me in such a state of affliction. But it’s not entirely my fault as I have a unique and irreversible aversion to the stuff. The only thing I have ever been able to do is use an exfoliator in the shower followed by an application of coconut oil (the kind you cook with). That has really helps my upper arms (which suffer from a similar dry skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris.) That solution clearly provides no relief for my feet. My only option would be to walk hundreds of miles barefoot across coarse sand and rock as a means to exfoliate the outer seven hundred layers of dead, fossilized skin that has built up over this eternity of my life. But, alas, there is no way out. I am trapped in an eternal state of cosmetically disgusting and altogether dangerous feet.
*Note: All photography credited to the one and only Mrs. Manny.