When I met V he used this lightening cream. It’s not that he was ‘black’ black but rather red-based black, meaning he was a lot lighter than a lot of other black people.
I learnt many things about what it is to be black. The creaming every day to stop one’s body from having dry skin, which on most white people is just a bit irritating and, well, white, whereas on black people is, well, white and, therefore, just a tad more noticeable; the attention paid to the hair – using oils and stuff to make it softer, without which it resembles wire wool both to look at and touch.
But, in addition to all the other ‘stuff’ that V used, he used the lightening cream, not wanting to be white, just not wanting to be too black.
Really, of course, it is a type of bleach. I was quite worried about it. I mean, it wasn’t as if I had any problem with his shade of black for that was not what I was looking at. Black people’s skin is beautiful and almost always smooth – but there is a price to pay – this whitening cream seemed a little too much of a price to pay. Bleach, even in small doses, I reasoned, could not possibly be good for the skin, for you, if applied every day.
And so, I applied my reasoning to him, wanting him to be happy but not to have problems later in his life, which is what I thought should happen. And if he applied it after shaving, it burnt him. Now that can’t be good, I thought.
And, so, he stopped using it after I had suggested it could not possibly be good for him and explaining why I thought this.
There is a product, currently on sale here, that is aimed at men. It seems to be advertised everywhere. It reminds me of the old wild west of America when coke and tomato sauce were invented and initially promised great things in terms of health before being seen as the confectionery they actually are and with no significant health-giving properties. I mean, coke cleans up dirty old coins – how good can it really be for your stomach! Although, as we all know, a coke and a bag of crisps (for the salt) are brilliant when, say, travelling in Egypt to avoid or cure the ‘holiday tummy’ problem one often finds.
But back to this product. It is a cream. This cream will, apparently, reduce your bulbous stomach – a way of slimming, simply by applying the cream every day.
F is not stupid but sometimes seems a little too hopeful. He does have a slight stomach, that, actually, I find very sexy. I don’t know why, it’s really not like me at all!
However, he promises me it only came on after last year’s summer holiday in his home town, when he ate and drank far too much. Mainly ate though as he stayed with his parents and, so he says, his Mum cooks – a LOT.
But now he wants to get rid of it. I say he should leave it – but to no avail. He does the dieting bit from time to time but it is a little difficult for him. He likes his beer too much – and his food! So dieting is out really.
And now he’s found the cream. “But is it working?”, I ask. He replies that he doubts it but it doesn’t stop him putting it on each night, rubbing it over the stomach and, like the lottery, hoping that he is the one person that wins, against the odds.
Last night I got in to his flat. He is ‘fanning himself’ with his hands. It is hot – but as I mentioned in the last post, cooler now. But he is very hot and there’s a reason. the cream of this miracle product is burning!
“It can’t be good if it is burning”, I say, trying to be gentle about the fact that, if it were me, I would stop immediately.
“No, it’s OK”, he replies in the standard way that he does – at least to me.
“But”, I say, trying to be a little more forceful, “I am sure it’s not supposed to burn when you use it!”
“Don’t say that”, he replies, “else I shall be worried about it”.
I laugh but hope that he is right and gives it some thought. It cannot be right. The motto ‘No pain, no gain’ is right but surely not for something that you rub on your stomach?
He’s not the only man in Italy using it. I know of several other people that are trying this out. Hmmm. Still, it can’t be right, can it?