The essence of manliness and machismo isn’t the easiest concept to distil or fulfil these days. Our once mythical athletes now need supplements to lubricate their knee joints, and when Hugh Jackman isn’t butching it up as Wolverine, he’s dancing for his iced Lipton. Thus the practice of grooming can pull the male of the kiwi species in two different directions. Time spent in front of the mirror to be presentable subtracts valuable time from the traditional rituals of manhood. There are things in this world that require hunting, chopping, and nailing down while others need revving, building and firing up. Hoping to add scrubbing up to those traditions is Triumph & Disaster, adding a distinctly Kiwi man’s character to the grooming industry.
My barber, Julian Maloney, was my gateway to the Triumph & Disaster world. Finding a soap that works for me has always been more trouble than I thought it worth, especially when Mrs Peckish is getting on my case about exfoliation. Most easily accessible solutions seemed to involve smelling like a fruit basket and/or clogging up the digestive tracts of the Antarctic ecosystem with little plastic, exfoliating beads. Enter T&D’s shearer’s soap with its environmentally friendly ingredients, complete with exfoliating poppy seeds. Now, this soap isn’t for every man. The crew at Maloney’s are careful every time to enquire whether you’ve used this soap before, and if you haven’t, to be prepared for some serious exfoliation. I personally didn’t have any trouble with it, but I’d suggest a gentle scrub at first until you’re sure your skin can handle what are relatively sharp edges to the soap itself and a sharper than the competition exfoliating sensation.
But if you’re looking for a positively manly, agricultural experience with your grooming kit, I’d suggest giving these guys a try. Even with the aesthetics, most of the product wouldn’t look out of place in a man’s work room. I’ve only tried the soap so far, and at $12 a bar, this isn’t your mother’s Palmolive Gold. However for six weeks’ cleaning I think $2 a week is a fair price for cleaning, exfoliation, and emphasising the man in hygiene management.