Mega Movie Manliness 101


Twilight movie mega-star Robert Pattinson, asked about his equally famous hair, revealed, “I don’t have much of a sense of personal hygiene or styling … I gave up washing it a while back.”

If I could bend the ear of almost any young Hollywood hunk, I wouldn’t waste my time on mundane issues like asking for autographs.

What I would say is this: I really don’t care who you date (or don’t), what your disorder du jour might be (Drugs? Alcohol? A dreadful addiction to speaking at length to Us Magazine?) but please, for the love of all that is good and pure in the world could you please, and I’m begging you here, bathe?

If you can’t manage that much, could you at least lie about it? You’re an actor for pity’s sake. Fake it if you have to.


I am the mother of a 12-year-old boy. As such, it is already an uphill battle to convince the man-child that he should be clean every single day and not, say, on alternate Sundays (and then only in months beginning with “y.”)

I work mightily to convince my son that polite society shuns the unclean. Then we spend a few unguarded moments watching the news and little nuggets like “I don’t wash my hair” from the lips of Hollywood’s hottest vampire rise up to bite me.

My son’s eyes lit up like the Fourth of July. Vindicated at last.

Yesterday, setting out for back-to-school shopping, I narrowed my eyes at my son’s untamed hair even as I realized that to send the boy back inside to clean himself up would set us back half a day at least.

I gave him the standard “you are going to be so embarrassed someday Mister” lecture. Switching it up a bit with a new addition that I tacked in right around his 12th birthday: “Just wait until you start to care about girls.”

I always close with the standard “you were not raised by wolves” warning because that one is a classic.

Resigned, I resolved to start carrying a photo of him taken back when he was reasonably groomed, if only to prove that I was once a fit mother.

Golden brown (Tan? Dirt? You be the judge) with a wild mop of unruly brown curls that he habitually shoves up and out if his face with one hand, I have taken to introducing him as “my son, Mowgli” (of Jungle Book fame).


Later, wandering aimlessly through the aisles on the trail of the elusive 3-inch zippered binder (rarely spotted in retail captivity, but forever featured on school supply lists), I lumbered into a clearing between loose-leaf and spiral bound notebook paper and smack into a group of my son’s classmates: a coltish, easily spooked herd of preteen girls.

Here was my moment. Surely my son would be properly chagrined to run into a bevy of his contemporaries looking like he had just rolled out of bed and/or was attempting to bring early 90s Seattle Grunge back all by his lonesome.

Instead he shrugged, ducked his head, swept his hair off his face with the hand (again), and sauntered off in the direction of somewhere, anywhere, not inhabited by preteen girls.

My daughter, shiny, clean and scrubbed to perfection, having squirted herself with a dab of cotton candy glitter for an added boost of sugary sweet scent, simply rolled her eyes and said, “He’s weird.”

The entire herd (gaggle?) followed him with their eyes as he went.

I waited for the fallout.

What do preteen girls do when faced with the horror of a disheveled, unkempt boy who totally and completely snubs them? Do they recoil in distaste? Sneer? Rebuff him?

No. They follow him around the store for the remainder of your visit, giggling and darting among the racks like agitated hummingbirds.

My daughter, still young enough to be an outside observer but able to translate as only one who speaks “young girl” can, explained the phenomena to me: “They think he’s cute.”

My son, apprised of this “interesting” new development, just lifted his mouth in the half-smile that has become his trademark. Somewhat shy, somewhat a smirk, it rates somewhere between “My mom is so funny and dear to me and I shall treasure her always” and “We will have her committed someday and this will come in handy as evidence.”

That’s my boy

Shabbily dressed, unruly hair, ducks his head and flees from crowds as if the paparazzi is already after him? I’m not raising a slovenly ne’er do well. I am parenting a rock star. Or, perhaps, a future Hollywood hunk. A mother can dream can’t she?

Sure, he’s never taken an acting class in his life, but he’s got the not washing thing down pat.

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  1. This sounds like a piece from a Twilight mom, projecting Rob Pattinson on to her son!

    I myself could be a Twi-mom except that my boy, who happens to be 12 too is decidedly anti-Twilight and snubs all the girls who are obsessed with Twilight/Rob Pattinson. Yep, that includes his own mom!

    And yes, he too hates washing, has messy hair, does not do any sport, and does not care at all about the cloth he wear, and not to mention that he is also a quite accomplished musician. So, he didn’t know it yet but in some senses he may be more similar to the popular young star than he realized!

    My cure for his messy hair: “hmm, Rob Pattinson also has messy hair”, and he’d immediately go to shampoo and comb it.

    BTW, we know Rob Pattinson goofs a lot in interviews and what he says need to be taken with a big grain of salt, right?

  2. Reverse Psychology! I love it.

    Unfortunately, once we have Rob’s hair laid to rest we have Matthew McCauneghy (sp?) and Keanu Reeves, et al. taking up the mantle of the unwashed!

    I hear that sometime around the 13th or 14th year they discover the lure of cleanliness and take two or more showers per day. I can’t imagine it yet but perhaps our day will come!


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