what i can't live without

What Fernando Mateo Can’t Live Without

Photo: courtesy fernando mateo

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked Fernando Mateo — a Republican candidate running to be New York City’s next mayor — about the bodywash, bedtime snack, and bottled water he can’t live without.

The bath gel is more like a liquid that you pump out and creates suds. I rub it in with a cotton towel. I like that it’s light on the body. My skin is very soft and I am not a hairy person; this just glides on and rinses right off. It leaves skin smelling amazing — very fresh and clean. I’ve been using it for about five years, at least. I went to my daughter’s house on Martha’s Vineyard and it was in all the bathrooms there. I tried it, loved it, took a photo of the bottle so I could buy it, and have been using it ever since.

I have big, strong hands, so I need toilet paper that won’t break when I’m wiping my butt. This has that toughness, but it’s soft enough for my sensitive areas. I’ve used other toilet paper and my hand has ripped right through it. It’s a mess. I usually wrap the paper around my hand a few times just so it doesn’t break.

My daughter told me I should drink Essentia. She said it has a lot of other things my body needs, aside from being hydrating. I’m the love of her life and I know she’s trying to take care of me, so I took her word for it. I order a case or two every other week. I try to drink a bottle or a bottle and a half a day.

Every morning, I put a handful of almonds, a half-cup of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, a frozen banana, a cold glass of Essentia water, and some cinnamon in the NutriBullet and blend it. My sister gave me the recipe. It’s supposed to keep my cholesterol in check. It comes from the homeland, from my great-grandmother. She was from the Dominican Republic and passed it along to my sister before she died at 106. The NutriBullet breaks everything down — it blends the oats really well — into a smooth shake.

I rub this on my body every day, all the way down to my toes and feet. I have very soft feet. Very nice feet. The lotion is very light and very smoothing. It’s not sticky or thick. I do it every morning so that my body is lubricated and feels good when I leave the house.

I just cut my hair short — I buzz it myself — because I have a nice-shaped head. But I’ll wear it long, too. Short or long, I usually wash my hair twice or three times a week. I wash it less when it’s short. I found this coconut-milk shampoo and conditioner by researching healthy hair products. I’ve been using them for about ten years. I believe you are what you put on your body, so I try to look for products that don’t have a lot of chemicals in them. I only use a little bit of each when my hair is buzzed, just to get the nubs and make sure they smell good. I’ll use more when my hair is long. The products smell like coconut, which to me is a very soothing scent.

It really cleans my teeth well. I go to the dentist twice a year for cleanings and to make sure my teeth and gums are healthy. My dentist always tells me I do a phenomenal job. I brush and floss twice a day. It’s not healthy to brush more than that because it’ll damage the enamel on your teeth. I’ve been using Philips Sonicare electric toothbrushes since they came out. I change the heads every two months or so — I can tell when it’s time by the feel. My toothbrush is all white because it helps me tell how clean it is.

The biscuits are semisweet. They’re thin, about an eighth of an inch thick, and crispy. There’s a cinnamon flavor, too, but my favorite is blueberry. I eat a four-pack before bed three or four times a week. It’s like a bedtime snack. I always have them with a ginger tea. I take a ginger root, slice ten or so really thin pieces, boil them with water in a pot, then just pour some in a cup. The tea softens the biscuits a bit. The combination is amazing.

I am a meat eater. I love steaks and I think I make one of the best you’ll ever have. This wine is great for pairing with steak and creamed spinach or mushrooms or asparagus. It’s fruity, not too sweet, not too dry. You take a sip with each bite of meat and you’re in heaven. I first had it when I invited a guest over for dinner — Yoenis Céspedes, back when he played for the Mets. He came over to eat and I treated him to a nice bottle of wine, then he sent me a case of this as a gift. It’s better than the wine I treated him to.

There are people you see with gunk stuck in their ears, but I’m not one of them. I always have Q-Tips in my medicine cabinet. I use them a couple times a week. I like my ears to be clean and dry when I go to sleep. I usually only need one to clean both ears — one side for each ear.

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What Fernando Mateo Can’t Live Without