Featured, Theory & Essay

How Being Ashy In Public Is Actually Underrated, Explained

Public Ashiness might be the only thing in the Black community with a 0% approval rating. Even cottage cheese has fans, even Donald Trump has Omarosa, and even Kappas have mirrors. It’s the bane of Black existence; a plague we collectively wish to be eradicated. I’m actually shocked we haven’t had any “End Ash Forever” telethons. Because we’d definitely raise the capital necessary to ensure every American home had a clean and accessible jar of Jergens Cherry Almond Lotion. At the very least we’d make sure there were no new cases of fresh ash.

But I’m here today to state that public ash isn’t really all that bad. That there are actually some positive attributes to violent ashiness. That being slightly or excessively ashy is actually underrated.

How? Well, let’s see.

1. People know you’re probably clean

A large percentage of agitated ash is caused by what happens to skin after it has contact with water — shower water and bath water specifically. (I have no idea if this is true, btw.) Which means that a large percentage of ashy people you see have washed they ass very recently. Which is a good thing to non-verbally communicate, especially if you’re on a train.

2. It saves time

As someone pointed out in a Facebook thread earlier this morning, when the question of virulent ashiness was brought up, sometimes people leave the house ashy because they just don’t have time to apply lotion. Which actually might be the real reason for CPT. We plan to be on time, but 57-minute-long lotion regiments prevent that from happening. Just think of how much earlier you’d be to shit if you decided to just arrive ashy.

3. You can write messages to people

Imagine if you were in a hostage situation and weren’t allowed to speak to the other people also held captive. How helpful would if be if you could communicate messages to each other by transcribing them in the ash on your shins? You could also use ash to cheat on tests, write notes in church, and keep score while playing Spades. It’s like having your own personal dry erase board.

4. Your elbows will become lethal weapons

I don’t know what it is about the properties of ash that does this, but ashy elbows are like 75% sharper than lotioned elbows. Adding ash to an elbow is almost like adding a shank. You basically turn into Wolverine. Which can be a very effective strategy for skipping the line at Trader Joe’s. No one is going to tell Wolverine Elbows to get back in line.

5. If you’re a single guy, women will offer you lotion

There’s really no better ice breaker. She’ll be perplexed by this grown-ass man who decided to show up to happy hour with a quart of malignant ash, and you can take that opportunity to regale her with tales of your lotion-less life. She might even think that the ash is some form of personal and spiritual evolution. That you’re Post-Ash or something. Next thing you know she wants to have your ashy babies.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • cyanic

    Your ashy happy face knee looks like a disturbed balloon.

  • Junegirl627

    i saw the pic and said “but what is that?” it took a good 10 seconds to realize that that was a knee cap. Now i’m stuck wanting to ask the person in the picture who they family?

    Someone was supposed to love that man better than this…..

    • Val

      Lol That knee is like the cars that people write wash me on. They should have written lotion me on it.

      • Junegirl627

        There’s super ashe in the cracks of the ashe

      • I’m so grossed out. Lol

        • Mary Burrell

          Crisco will take care of that.

      • Mary Burrell

        Shea butter or Crisco.

        • Val

          Lol Crisco?

          • SororSalsa

            Sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do. Whatever kills the ash…

      • Cheech

        I wrote that on Grandpa’s car once. I really did not foresee spending the rest of the day washing and detailing his car.

        • Val

          Lol Poor little Cheech.

          • Kristijgooch2

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !dk163f:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
            !dk163f:
            ??
            ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash453TopBetterGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????::::::!dk163f:….,…….

        • Lol, you should have known better.

        • kingpinenut

          Lucky it was the rest of your life man lol

        • Mary Burrell

          Lol

        • brothaskeeper

          If I were your brother, I woulda been laughing my whole a $$ off!

          • Cheech

            Oh, he definitely enjoyed it. But he couldn’t laugh too loud or he woulda been out there with me.

        • GrownAzzMan

          You learned that day…LOL

    • That’s all I’m saying.

      • Junegirl627

        The squiggly hairs have me all the way done!

    • Buster Cannon

      Friends don’t let friends leave the house ashy.

    • cakes_and_pies

      I thought it was a dirty sweet potato.

      • Junegirl627

        OMG!!!!!

        You gonna get me fired I just spit coca cola on my keyboard. luckily I order my departments supplies.

  • miss t-lee

    I hope this isn’t your body part for real, for real.

    • OSHH

      I hope that is baby powder ala ashy larry

      • miss t-lee

        *fingers crossed*

    • There’s a face in it! I just saw it and now I can’t unsee… It will haunt me.

      • miss t-lee

        Girl…

      • It was gross when I first opened the post…now it’s kinda funny.

  • LadyJay?

    #5. I’m not offering you lotion, I’m straight JUDGING you. Like, hardcore. Nucca, who raised you? Penguins? Nah, can’t be penguins, they always have their situation moisturized and on fleek, maybe vultures.

  • JusticeNotServed

    nah, being ashy in public is a sign that you might be missing other hygiene related maintenance. its a warning sign.

    • Question

      Especially in open heeled shoes or flip flops. Like how you gonna put flip flops on and know your feet look like sandpaper?

      • JusticeNotServed

        i really don’t know. people get roasted in my family for having ashy feet.

        • Queen BL

          If a person is wearing flip flops with ashy feet and severely chipped nail polish (or just fudged up toes. Don’t trust them with anything. They don’t care about life or anything you have to offer.

  • Creole Reasoning

    #5 will work, but you have to use that sparingly. Like you can have a couple ashy knuckles, but if your whole hand looks like you’ve been tossing pizza dough she might just assume you’re homeless and give you some change or whatever.

    • OSHH

      like you been punching bricks lol

      • Val

        Or playing in flour. Lol

        • brothaskeeper

          Or thumb-wrestling the Pillsbury dough boy.

  • DAMON JENKINS IRVING JOHNSTON YOUNG. (This felt like a full name moment) That picture is killing me softly. I opened up VSB and whimpered audibly while covering my mouth in shock… Please erase it from the internet and then from my memory.

    Jergens Cherry Almond Lotion is a no-go for me now. Did they change the formula? Smells good but I’m ivory-colored an hour after applying. Now I’m all about the butters, specifically shea butter, which unfortunately does take me longer to apply. Because it feels like an act of queenliness. I may be late to work but I’m slidin around in my Office Depot chair all day, softer than a mug.

    Lastly, I instinctively don’t trust an ashy dude, so I’m not offering him no moisture of any sort, mkay? Ain’t no ashy babies b. That dude does not know how to love if he’s walkin around actively ashing out of control. It’s a fact.

    • Other_guy13
      • Gracias, Guy. What’s goin on with yours? Was there another strike?

        • Other_guy13

          Anytime…lol…no strike….not this time, there were a lot of post where things got hairy so I had to go incognegro. Gotta keep my job…I’ll put it back up after the election pending the outcome…trolls be lurking.

          • Tambra

            Yeah. We can’t have you pacing these skreets.

            • Other_guy13

              I mean…I think Todd got the entire East coast locked up so I gotta find another way.

          • Aw dang, sounds like I missed some fun :( Well, I’ll be holding you to an avi glo up after the election season ends.

            • Tambra

              I think he is hoping we would forget what his face looks like when he goes full becky. He has been hinting of doing such things.

            • Other_guy13

              I got you

            • L8Comer

              ?? @ avi glow up! Lovin your new avi as well :)

        • Medium Meech

          Out here looking like a sexy baby deer taking her first selfie for the ‘gram. We see you.

          • Lol thankyou? I had my flower crown shamed right off of me.

    • miss t-lee

      “Jergens Cherry Almond Lotion is a no-go for me now. Did they change the formula? ”

      Used to be good, now….not so much. Might as well be using Suave or Queen Helene

      • LadyJay?

        I don’t like QH. I like their other product offerings doe.

        • miss t-lee

          It’s all terrible. From their hair stuff to their body products.
          Basura.

          • PhlyyPhree

            Seee, now I swear by their ginseng cholesteral conditioner for my weekly deep conditions. Like my locks stay so fluffy because of them. It’s been a 20 year love affair with that stuff

            • miss t-lee

              Doesn’t do a thing for my hair.

        • Mary Burrell

          That Mint Julep green mud mask was pretty good.

        • J’aime les hot cheetos

          Straight water! Smells good though.

      • Adrienne_in_MTown

        Too much water. I think of it as white people lotion. Is that bad??

        • miss t-lee

          That thin azz lotion ain’t doing nothing…lol

          • Adrienne_in_MTown

            I’m a Cetaphil cream kinda of girl, myself. Plus a little coconut oil with every pass.

            • miss t-lee

              I wash my face with the Cetaphil. It’s good stuff.

          • Watery lotions = you dont love Jesus.

            • miss t-lee

              Might as well just put more water on your skin.

      • Mary Burrell

        Suave or Queen Helene struggle lotion when you how no money.

        • Tambra

          If you are going Suave and Queen Helene, it’s better you do not use anything. Add Razac to that list. Instant headache.

          • Queen BL

            Queen Helene is basically like applying water… and what do you get when you apply water to ash? More ASH a hour later. Just don’t do it. Put that $1.25 to better use!

        • miss t-lee

          Just use Crisco. Don’t even waste your money on struggle lotion.

          • Mary Burrell

            That’s what I said down thread Crisco is not just for frying chicken.

            • miss t-lee

              Hey…my grandmother used to improvise…lol

              • Mary Burrell

                Exactly

              • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

                I just use various lotions now.

                • miss t-lee

                  All types for everybody!

                  • truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

                    Right on.?

          • Mochasister

            What about good old fashioned Vaseline? It’s an oldie but goodie in my book.

            • miss t-lee

              It’s good, but sometimes you don’t have that…lol

            • HoneyRose

              Vaseline doesn’t moisturize the skin. It just sits on top

              • Mochasister

                But it do take away that ash!

      • Conrad Bess

        *Goes to gym bag. Looks at Queen Helene bottle. Remembers Miss-T-Lee and Mary Burrell’s savage shade. Replaces with Delon*

        Comes back to read comments like nothing was wrong. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/26e69c2c9620eb10e419e0afe181cd4f9d8f24dded7321860f7d3c6c87d276bd.png

        • miss t-lee

          LMAO!!!

    • kimest3e

      Jergens Cherry Almond is only good for your hands at work. It keep ashy hand syndrome at bay. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/23bc5bcfc5ad9cd07f773cdc324a35389e895b52a67e3b1b86e483a56f8e75a3.jpg

      • Adrienne_in_MTown

        I can appreciate the hand sanitizer close by.

    • Mary

      Yeas to shea butter, but you gotta go full African and use black soap to get it off.

    • Mochasister

      An ashy man is not sexy. Who wants to caress dry, ashy skin?

    • Coco

      BEST read a hypothetically ashy man could EVA get.

    • Maestro G

      **Lastly, I instinctively don’t trust an ashy dude, so I’m not offering him no moisture of any sort, mkay?**

      Ouch. That shot went to the heart of any ashy brotha tryin’ to get put on. #RightBetweenTheAsh

    • HoneyRose

      Yeah, I can’t do Jergens anymore, it feels thin and runny and watery and I’m dry again in an hour. I do lotions with coconut oil and shea butter in them. Nubian Heritage is my go-to brand, and their sister brand SheaMoisture is excellent too. I make sure to set aside a good 5-10 extra minutes to lotion up properly (and I use body wash with oils in it, too, for good measure).

      • AJ Thomas

        Sounds like my routine. Olay with moisture ribbons body wash. Neutrogena rain bath oil in the shower then Eucerin lotion afterwards. Only downside is I can’t wear silk after all that.

        P.S. I grew up in New Jersey so in the winter my would grease us down with some Crisco. #HatedIt but we were never ashy.

  • Val
    • Val, you been on one lately. Your shids been havin me dyin!

      • Val

        :-)

  • Wild Cougar

    You forgot to say, you can piss off Black people overly concerned with the appearance of other Black people. In the summer I often go to the store in flip flops and ashy feet on purpose to get a chuckle from people who take themselves WAY too seriously. Pissing off fussy Black folks is part of my summer joy. I look forward to ashy feet in flip flop season every year.

    • Val

      Hiya, WC!

      *waves*

      Nice to see you.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Hey Lady! Where you been??? I’ve missed hearing about your boxing exploits.

      • Wild Cougar

        I’ve moved on from boxing to the next project that don’t leave me enough energy to be on here.

      • Wild Cougar

        I be trolling in the chips aisle. You should see the looks of horror I get. It’s big fun, you gotta try it.

    • LadyJay?

      WC!!!!!!!!

    • Mochasister

      Ashy feet are the debbil!

      • Wild Cougar

        It’s really not that serious. That’s why I get such a laugh out of it. Why are you so concerned about the skin on my feet? Don’t you got stuff you do?

  • Junegirl627

    1. Totally disagree – you too cheap to buy good lotion/ moisturizing soap or too lazy to use lotion/ oils straight out the tub.
    1.a – dirty and homeless people are ashy too. They just have grey or brown tinted ash

    2, you always find time to lotion exposed skin when you’re late. Thats the walk and lotion. Walgreens and bath & body works were selling travel size lotion long before 9/11 for reason.

    3. Totally unnecessary scenario. Black people get shot not kidnapped.

    4. True Story – I got nothing

    5. I’ve done it. It was a way I was able to tell if you were single or had a garbage GF. If you were ashy or rough skint. So Hey!…

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