Skip to main content

A World Without Wild Country, Was a Lonely World for Teen Guys

Kenneth, born and raised in the South, resides in Hamilton, Alabama. He enjoys sharing his unique perspectives on life through his writing.

This is a man shaving another man. Teens in my day just shaved by ourselves--part of our growing up ritual in America.

This is a man shaving another man. Teens in my day just shaved by ourselves--part of our growing up ritual in America.

Oct. 20, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Still drinking black coffee.

Ahhh, these were the days.

Legal disclaimer: First let me say that inside this hub there are NO mentions, suggestions, or influencing the images are being said to be "for sale," by me or anyone else for I truly think that the early attraction said to be magnified by the companies who made these products for teen guys, has long since become telemarket centers or low-rent apartments on the border of Mexico.

I hope that this explanation suffices. Frankly, I couldn't find the real product that I am talking about. Oh, it was real in its time. But no longer. Thank God! Funny. When I bought my first bottle of Wild Country, (company will remain nameless), I thought that I was a real man. My cousin, Donnie, (a real cousin), sold it to me so his mother could get some sale points to win some cheap prize. People of Donnie's generations (my parents included) were saps. Real suckers. Their only purpose in life was to work, honor their financial obligations and listen to TV ads who (in that day) were selling things such as a hidden button (you could order for $9.99) you could install in minutes under the passenger seat and when a girl sat on the seat, a silent spray went into the car's atmosphere turning the pretty girl on--no matter what the guy driving looked like. Real 007ish. But no Sean Connery.

Finally, when "these" flops fell from the American market, wiser minds begin to have secret meetings held in high-security offices 2,0000 feet below the headquarters main offices in some big city, probably Chicago, (which has always had a sense of conning average consumers) and when these wiser thinkers were finished with their eight-hour Research and Development Meeting, these men had developed what I, and my male friends, (suckers too), thought that if we owned one bottle of Wild Country, the world and the girls inside would be ours. All ours! The sad part is: We believed this propaganda we viewed night-after-night on TV ads placed on shows like "It Takes a Thief," and "Burke's Law,"--shows whose scripts are written for the good-looking male stars, Robert Wagner and Gene Barry, to always visit the bathroom in their mega-lush bachelor's pad to freshen up with a quick shave and then dash on a handful of Wild Country. And these ads worked. And worked. Teens like myself and my buddies couldn't get enough of this men's cologne. Some older, single guys swore that inside the cologne was a secret ingredient smuggled from Sweden and when girls got a whiff of us, they went plumb wild. Thus the cologne name: Wild Country.

Editors notice: Wild Country does not exist. I say this again for I am not going to be flagged for text being spammy. I dare say that if you were Bill Gates' baby brother, you could not buy your way into a secret stash of Wild Country for there ain't none left. Gone. Just a passing fad. In shorter terms: History, no use looking for the product again.

Actually, I cannot tell you how the Wild Country saga began for me. Or my buddies who were equally gullible for any new fad, clothing, or scent to be used on our bodies to just attract the prettiest girls in our hometown and sometimes (when we were desperate) in cities near our locale. To us, chasing girls was no game of chance. We had drew it up in our thinking that if we looked, acted, and smelled better than other guys . . .the night would belong to us. On every Friday night, we would get into our rituals: showering until the soap was almost used up; washing our hair (which was longer then) and using those high-wattage air blowers for us to get "that" cool look and when we splashed on the Wild Country, we would be completely irresistible.

To make this hub complete, we had been privy to our dad's who swore by dabbing some liquid after they shaved. One swash buckling dad told us that his only cologne was rubbing alcohol and never used shaving cream--just a razor and a blade and his muscular wrist and his face was slick as any bank of the Chatthahootchie River in Tennessee. We didn't want to bleed that quickly, so we followed our dad's working protocol and used shaving cream and a razor when gripped by a confident young man, got the best shave each time he picked up his razor. But no male teen would be looking sharp unless he poured a hefty amount of Wild Country in his two hands and splashed it onto his face and upper torso. Seemed like the right thing to do.

Guys, if you haven't started shaving yet, let me tell you something: Get a professional when you begin to shave. If you don't, your face will suddenly become an unexplored territory filled with ditches and gullies with red blood running free. Take my word the worst is not over. If you continue to do it all yourself, then when you splash on whatever after shave that your dad or buddies have told you to use . . .look out! This stuff is like liquid fire when it hits your sensitive skin. The first time you shave and use after shave it will feel like satan had manifested himself onto your face and you will beg for your dad to "hurry, dad! My face is burning off!"

But after you grow older and shave more, your face will grow tougher. Remember this as your teenhood expands with each passing year.

On any given Friday night, when we all had reached "that" level of looking sharp, we made it to our cars--personal or family and started another teen male ritual: Firing up the engine, popping in our favorite Eight-Track Tape Player with Steppenwolf or any Rock Music there was in our day and let the tunes fill our cars as we sometimes would roll down our driver's side window and stick our left arm out to look that extra-step of cool and confident. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes not. We literally didn't care. It was about casting a huge net out in the lake and when the net was retrieved, we inspected the "fish" that were caught--too thin; too big; mouth moves too much and on like that until we settled on one hot, pretty girl to ride with us as far as a Friday night would go.

It didn't take long. I mean when "that" special girl would wink at us with her girlfriends parked at some burger hang-out or just sitting in a vacant parking lot--these are maybe two of our favorite teen hang-out's and they worked. Now with us getting the girl's attention, we slowly took our time (not to appear desperate) and parked next to her and her friends--still not acting all gooey and gushy. These were instant turn-off's and if we did such stupid things, we'd end up lonely and be headed for a life of perpetual bachelorhood.

What I did was light up whatever cigarette I happen to like, take a drag and as I let it out, look in her direction. If she was looking, I smiled. Oh, not so wide at first, but enough to let her know that I wanted her in my car. That sounded easy, right? Wrong. This, the First Move, took hours upon hours of practice and yes, not every girl was attracted by my first maneuver. But many times the girl that let me know that she like me, would end up in my car.

Now comes the mystery: The very minute that this hot girl sat down after I had gotten out to open the door for her, she was actually checking me out--my clothes, shoes, and if my car was clean and the titles of my eight-track tapes were hip enough for her. Truthfully, I was mystified at how pretty she was in her (sometimes) short shorts or skirt. This was key. But not a deal-breaker. Some girls whom I dated wore long, pioneer-style dresses, but that hair all long and piled on her shoulders . . .WOW! Enough said.

And there it was: The next moment that I was going to fire-up my engine, I sensed that she was looking at me and that would have been great, except she had a look of frustration mixed with a feeling of being lost on her face. Her eyes were squinted and she was moving her head from side-to-side as if she were in a Scavenger Hunt. I was a bit worried. Just what if I had picked up a girl from one of those satanic cults that our teachers had advised us about? This was a direct possibility for times were changing from 1970 through 1972. Music, clothing, language and behavior being the main areas of drastic change.

Guys, especially teen guys, 16 on up, will not give up or give in when a girl upset at something she has smelled and "spill the beans" to her for he is driven by the fear that if he were to confess, he would be told (by the upset girl) to "take her home . . .now!" Girls upset all use that pause between the home and now. Did you ever notice this? In my day, our Day of Girl Safari's, we seen a lot of Bette Davis', Audrey Hepburn and many of Hollywood's finest dramatic actresses when they were young. Plus we got to hear them as they spewed dislike from their ruby-red lips. Was it really just part of the game between teen girls and boys stumbling through the Avenue of Young, Uncertain Life and I have to tell you . . .there weren't that many survivors of our weekend pathway of mazes where we all were praying to get with the girl of our choice.

I tried. I gave my all. But back to the girl who had gotten inside my car and was instantly upset by something that I was praying the aroma just might be from a leaky muffler or maybe oil leaking on the engine's manifold--us teen guys even resorted to using mechanical terms to keep the hot girls from blowing our cover of wearing Wild Country. Girls, if you know what I am talking about, let me her you represent!

As I slowly pulled my car back into the main highway in town, the girl was still in a fit staring at me, then in the rear-view mirror. Once I caught her in my eye as she was checking the soles of her shoes to see if she might have accidentally stepped into some dog poop. No. She was all set. Now it was up to be to get away from this swiftly-building tension. I wanted to have a good time with this pretty girl, but he fidgeting didn't help any.

"You smell that? Huh?" she asked very stern.

"Uhhh, smell?" I said doing my best Clark Gable ability of being innocent.

"Yes, smell! It smells like some old farmer's barnyard. What is this?" she all but screamed.

"You care if I . . . smell you? I mean, it sounds icky, but this smell is killin' me" she explained and with her looking so pretty, how could I say no?

Sweat began to surface underneath my hair. Sweat also began to surface on the back of my neck and down on my spine. My hands were moist from the sudden fear of her smelling my shirt and I tried as hard as I could to be another James Dean and just be cool. Go with it. She can't kill me, I thought to myself.

Slowly, ever so softly she made her way up and down my shirt (by the way it was a new shirt) and sniffing like a hungry housecat seeking food for a snack. Then she turned away and sneezed.

"You catching something?" I asked only to take her mind off of what she had smelled.

"Idiot! That's a cologne that my pop uses . . .what is that smelly stuff? Smells like dead fish?" she said in an amazingly-settled tone.

"(gulp) (I lit a cigarette--couldn't hurt) uhhh . . .Wild, uhhh Country," I said very sheepishly.

She froze. Never said another word.

"Can I look through your tapes?" she said very sweetly and now checking herself in my rear view mirror. This was a good sign. I thought.

"Truth is . . .I bought this Wild Country cologne so my cousin's mom would get some kind of bonus selling points for the company she was working for on a part-time basis. I am really sorry that you didn't like it, but it was all my fault. Forgive me," I said standing up like a man is supposed to do.

She put a Three Dog Night tape into the tape player and danced back and forth in the seat while I drove out of town--way of out town which was really a Stragetic Ploy to execute just in case she was going to let me have it and make me look like a fool in town.

We rode for a few more miles. She was giggling and touching my hand. I was happy as finding a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk of Hamilton, Ala., my hometown. Maybe something that I had said to her drove off any mention of Wild Country and how it had affected her.

Sliding over to my side she said, "care if I confess something?"

"Not at all," I said. What else could I say since she was hot and talked so sexy.

"That smell wasn't your cologne, but my folks had stewed cabbage for supper and I, well, should have told you that cabbage doesn't agree with me. Sorry," she explained while her pouty lips were stuck out.

"So that smell was . . ." I started to say then she interrupted.

"Gas! From me!" she said while laughing.

Then we both laughed like hyena's.

"Bet you thought that girls don't release gas, huh?" she said very bold.

"Well, naw. I didn't know that," I said trying hard to get past this embarrassing event.

"I saw you start sweating when I lost it back there and I was so afraid that you heard me when the gas came out," she added.

"So it wasn't my Wild Country?" I asked very surprised.

"No, not really. My passing gas from the cabbage was worse," she said looking into my eyes.

NOTE: we did have a good time and took her out for another few times and had even a greater time with her. But I NEVER wore any of my Wild Country--every again. I wasn't a gambler. I was quitting while I was ahead.

Vintage ad spotlighting teenage guys cologne.

Vintage ad spotlighting teenage guys cologne.

© 2017 Kenneth Avery

Related Articles