Guy to guy: A stocking stuffer that clears the air
WARNING! If you are squeamish, old-fashioned, easily disgusted, prudish, or otherwise easily offended, click away now. If you are a guy -- or you live with one -- read on. As the sole male member of Team Rage, I'm often out-gunned when it comes to what should grace the pages (or pixels) of the Image section, so I've gone renegade and posted this while no one was looking. See, there's a tiny little stocking stuffer that will improve the quality of you (or your fellow's) daily life so much, you won't believe it comes in a package no bigger than a bottle of Visine. It also makes a killer gag gift -- and I mean that on two levels.
Let me explain.
A few years ago, at a men's apparel trade show in Las Vegas, a PR flack chased me down in the middle of the convention center and handed me a small wooden box decorated with a graphic of an old-time gent with a handlebar mustache and two crossed razors. Nestled inside were a handful of guys' grooming products by a Hermosa Beach-based company called Ritual: shaving cream (dubbed the Whip), a combination face, body and hair wash (the Trifecta), an antiseptic razor rinse, and a small bottle of something labeled "Nature Calls."
According to the directions, two tiny drops in the toilet bowl helps -- how does one phrase this -- erase your olfactory footprint. The press materials claim it forms some kind of seal on the surface of the water (I imagine it as some kind of oil slick) keeping odor at bay and filling the room with a fresh scent that falls somewhere on the men's sliding scale of pleasant smells between Irish Spring and those pine tree-shaped air fresheners.
Frankly, it doesn't matter how it works; it could result in the death of a rain forest with each use, increase the risk of my mortgage default or be radioactive, for all I care. I've since gifted tiny bottles to friends (good friends, mind you, and ones that wouldn't take it the wrong way) and even furtively handed off one to a fellow wedding guest after an earnest discussion about such matters.
Ritual's products have been on the shelves of a handful of area retailers stores including Alpha Gear for Gents, Sy Devore and Kitson, but this holiday season, for the first time, an assortment can be found in 10 Urban Outfitters shops across the country, including the local stores at 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd., and at 1440 Third Street on the Santa Monica Promenade (though the hilariously named "Mandora's Box" set does not include the Nature Calls drops).
While it's probably a no-go for 99.99% of the people on your holiday shopping list (like the office Secret Santa exchange), for the .01% who might appreciate the gesture, it fits perfectly in the toe of a stocking.
Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photo of Ritual's Nature Calls toilet drops, $9 per 5-ounce bottle, available at yourritual.com and select Urban Outfitters.