Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Patrick Bateman has become a positive role model for today's skincare-averse men

American Psycho has always attracted its share of misunderstanding, both from those repulsed by its violence and those who overlook its satirical elements in favor of worshipping at the shrine of Patrick Bateman. It is with a great sigh of relief, then, that we can tell you that it’s not his lunatic swagger the character’s newest acolytes worship, but rather his skincare routine.


In exploring how Bateman’s skincare routine can serve as a template for boys who want to look like men, a new piece in MEL Magazine delves into the good that can be derived from even the most despicable of characters. The majority of pop culture, after all, frames any exploration of skincare as a woman’s pursuit, and, considering it’s a fairly recent phenomenon, many young people didn’t grow up with male figures in their lives to show them how it’s done. That’s where Bateman comes in; the above clip from American Psycho, which chronicles the character’s extensive, step-by-step routine, has been viewed millions upon millions of times, and not just for those eye-popping shots of Christian Bale’s abs.

From MEL’s piece:

“Patrick Bateman is probably the only heterosexual male portrayed in pop culture who gives a shit about how they look,” adds Joshua Headtham, 35, another city worker who recently got into skincare. A couple of years ago, Joshua was in a similar situation to me — a poor diet and lifestyle had caught up to him in the form of dry, itchy and flaky skin around his cheeks. “I had to treat my skin better out of necessity,” he tells me over WhatsApp. “At the same time, it felt like it was this big part of growing up that I was never told about, that none of the guys in my family ever did and that I had to learn about it myself.”

Sure, there are places to find skincare information that aren’t a cruel satire of vapid ‘80s yuppies, but, as author Hussein Kesvani details, it’s hard to find articles and routines that aren’t glorified advertisements.

“I knew the movie was satirical — and also violent. Like I’m not wanting to be Patrick Bateman,” a young man named Jack Evans tells MEL. “It’s just that image was something I felt I needed to become to move to the stage of life I wanted to get to. So I started doing my own routine, because I guess I felt it would help me feel more successful.”

If you feel the same, there’s literally a Bateman skincare line to help you get started. Just, you know, try and curb that need to return those videotapes.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.