In the modern classic film Mean Girls, the character Miss Norbury edged her life into crisis by pushing her husband into law school, pushing herself into working 3 jobs to pay for the resulting divorce, and by pushing an ex-homeschooled student into not failing math just to impress a visibly gay (bottom) classmate. Moral of this story? Woe be to the pusher, people.

And yet, I can’t help myself. I am a pusher of a more disturbing, more addictive, more compulsory sort:

I’m a pore-squeezer.

Some people call it “picking”, but I find that term not quite accurate enough. I don’t pick or pluck, really. I’m more of a squeezer. see, I like to push people’s complexions to higher achievements… By placing my thumbs opposite the offending pore, and pushing them together to rid the blighted face of clogged dirt, oil, and bacteria. So, the moral of this story is: Woe be to the guy who dates me.

Guys I’ve dated tend to learn really quickly when to duck & swat me away. They’ve also learned that when I say, “this won’t hurt a bit” it’s not that I’m lying, per se, it’s just that a lifetime of medieval home remedies, facials, and eyebrow plucking have put my pain tolerance on a much different plane than the average Timmy McNancyboy. I’ve gotten better about it over the years, and I’ve let really huge, awful-looking zits go by my watchful eye for whole hours before descending upon the blemish like a Serengeti hyena upon a fallen gazelle. It’s been a hard road to get to where I am now, but this summer has been especially trying. See, my fiance’ has gorgeous skin. Lovely, supple, taut, uniformy caramel-colored, gorgeous skin. Except for his nose. Oh god, that nose. His nose…. well, clogged pores are to his nose what the undead are to the average zombie movie. Teeming. His schnoz is positively teeming with huge, unsightly blackheads. For such a tiny, cute thing, it’s positively overrun. His nose is like a bacterial, sebum-y clown car parked right in the middle of his gorgeous face, and the slight on his beauty drives me up the fucking wall. And of course, being the post-John-Wayne modern wussy than most 20-something men are these days, he won’t let me touch it. If I so much as look at the oily, seeping, bulging, black, near-erupting pores on his nose for too long, he backs away, shaking with fear. Oh, but don’t think for one second that he’ll do anything about his filthy boils of his own accord, no siree.

Like most straight men, Mr. Panda’s skincare routine consists of washing once a day, in the shower, with fucking bar soap. No amount of face washes, toners, acne ointments, or scrub pads I bring home will ever even feel the touch of one of his fingertips. That’s the way of it for non-metro men, I guess. I’m just going to have to put up with being Mr. Panda’s on-call aesthetician or cut bait and end up with some scrubbed, guylinered, Wentz-ian crybaby lothario. So… yeah. I need to find a better way to rid my man’s pores of skincell-afterbirth without squeezing or relying on him to lift a finger in the process. Because I’m seriously at the end of my tether here. I can overlook a lot, but that nose is fucking mocking me. It’s like his inflamed pores are so big they have their own personalities, and they’re all assholes. Enter the Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser.

This is one of the many new-wave battery-operated skin refiners on the market right now. Others include the Clarisonic skincare brush and the Neutrogena Wave- all promising to vibrate all the goop out of your pores to create a more beautiful visage. I chose to buy the Blackhead Eraser for the small size (it’s round cleansing surface is about the size of a silver dollar) and for the high concentration of salicylic acid boasted by it’s ready made cleansing pads.

Before testing this little baby out on my beloved, I wanted to be the first to have my pores spelunked by this handy new gadget. Let me tell you- it’s weird. Now, I’m no stranger to vibration, *ahem*, but never so close to my brain. It feels weird and slightly uncomfortable and the whole time I was wondering how something with about half the muscle of an electric toothbrush could effectively shake the embedded gunk out of my face (of which I have very little to begin with, thxvrymuch). But you know what? It pretty much works. I could see a difference after the first use, but I could tell I’d have to plug away at it once a day for about a month in order to achieve perfect pore clarity. It basically works like a power-sander- grinding off the rough, topmost peaks of nasal blackheads while also stripping away the dead or dying skin cells that lead to the clogging in the first place (so it’s as preventative as it is correcting), and the salicylic acid is there to shimmy deep into the pore and help dissolve the blockage within. Logically, I can see how it works, and results-wise, the evidence is there. My nose is as smooth as a newly-minted pair of dentures, with the blackheads lightened and visibly lessened. I’m all about it. So yeah, A+ on that front.

As far as ease of use and elegance of design, this product is tops. In fact, the instructions are so minimal, they only print them on the box. No redundant fucking leaflet cluttering up the box telling you what you’ve already sussed out for yourself. Clean & Clear doesn’t treat you like you’re stupid, and that is so goddamn refreshing. I mean, even Whitestrips come with in-depth instructions, and here I thought you couln’t get more basic than “peel and stick.” A+ for idiot-proofness. At $17, this product is a fantastic value, and I can’t wait to go home to my man, hold him down, and zealously sand his face. That, my friends, is called love.

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