03 August 2008

It's More Than Skin Deep

We often say that men and women are different in a wide variety of ways. I know better than most. For the interest of time and sanity I won't list all the ways in which this is true, however I will focus on one of which we may not be widely aware. Did you ever watch those advertisements for Sure woman's deodorant? They would say "made for a man, pH balanced for a woman." I always wondered what the heck they meant. Sure she cries more than I do (although admittedly I do tear up in movies a lot), and I do like to crash Hot Wheels more than she does, but are women's and men's bodily make-ups all that different?

In straightforward terms (and therefore male terms), yes.

For those of you out there who want a more detailed description, I'll give it to you. There are many thoughts and conventions about how a man's epidermis differs from a woman's. Women and men will often find skin care products that are for him or her, but many will discount these more expensive products for a generic, unisex product (or if you are like me, you just don't care and don't use anything). There are some key reasons why using a unisex product may not be the best idea.

According to various sources, there are six major differences between man-skin and wo-man- skin. Here they are:

  • Men's oil glands are smaller than women's. This is where the skin absorbs many of the products placed on it (and dirt for that matter).
  • While women and men 50 and over have similar levels of oil in their skin, men actually tend to have more oily skin. This higher level is thanks to testosterone production.
  • Women's skin is thinner, making to more susceptible to damage from UV rays and to signs of aging.
  • Believe it or not, men's skin is more fragile than women's, and shaving doesn't help!
  • Due to drops in estrogen after menopause and faster reductions in collagen, women's skin tends to age faster than men's.
  • Women may have up to twice as many nerve fibers as men. So women are more sensitive on the inside and the outside!
So next time you see some peeling, reddening, rashing, or loss of limb, make sure to consider your options. If you're a man, there may be more reasons than just the fruity/minty/both smells to not apply your wife/girlfriend's product. If you're a woman, you wouldn't ask your guy friends for skin products anyway, so just do what you do. Either way, I wish you happy skin maintenance! Enjoy it while it lasts, because one day, not matter what you do, it's going to look like a prune or a leather couch, or both!

02 August 2008

Apostrophe Catastrophes

The misuse of apostrophes in the English-speaking world is shameful. My most recent and memorable exposure was in a presentation made by college seniors. The PowerPoint's title slide said something to the effect of: The reason's for discrimination. I'm not sure what those poor, soon-to-be college grads were thinking, but I don't believe they meant to contract the word reason with is, nor show reason's ownership over for. The bottom line is that they didn't know what they were doing, but they figured an apostrophe should go in there somewhere. In the nature of good humor and necessary correction, let's see if we can't set them straight.

In the English language, there are two main reasons for the insertion of a single apostrophe, and if you know these two, you pretty much will always know when (and more importantly when not) to use an apostrophe.
  1. An apostrophe is inserted to combine (or contract) two words. Popular examples include: it's (it + is), can't (can + not), we're (we + are), etc. Note that it's is the contraction form of the word it, not the possessive form (which is outlined below).
  2. An apostrophe is also inserted to suggest possession. Examples include: Day's end (as in this end belongs to the day) or Bill's (as in it belongs to Bill). Note that in cases where a name ends in an s already, the possessive s is dropped and only an apostrophe is added, as in Chris' book.
In no other case should apostrophes really be used in common language. If you want to denote where letters in a word have been cut off, as in good ol' guy or port o' call, you would use an apostrophe also, but let's be honest, who really does that?

So all of you who have read this post have no excuse for improperly using apostrophes ever again. Its an important topic, as apostrophes are fairly prevalent. In fact, this blog entry has 19 uses of apostrophes. Coming in at just over 300 words, that's (there's 19 and 20!) a good number and a good reason to know how to use them.

Oh and by the way, there's (21) one that is used incorrectly, can you find it?

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