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Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Man Spa

When I was 14 I finally started spending my own money on haircuts. Of course it was no coincidence that I was in high school and I was in a new town and I didn't think my shaggy, pouffy mullet was really "in" anymore.

No, it was never "in". A combination of poverty and junior high depression resulted in a look that shouted "I haven't had a haircut in 6 months and I feel bad about that and please don't ask me about it!" Think Matthew Broderick in War Games, but add a whole lotta party in the back. No, think the kid in "Iron Eagle". That kind of coif.

So when we moved to Kingston and I had a little allowance money in my pocket I started spending a little of it on haircuts. A very little of it.

At George the $6 Barber. He specialized in the type of cuts the kids going to the Royal Military College needed to get: Buzzed on top, shaved on the sides, "high and tight". I never went that far; I made him work for my $6. But my haircuts were pretty basic. And George was old and practically blind. But even a blind barber can do a simple cut when he's been doing it for 50 years.

Ever since George I've been a big fan of barber shops. They are exceedingly manly sanctuaries, usually with a game on the television and a Maxim or a Playboy lying around to read while you wait for your turn to get your ears lowered. I love the barber.

But, I've also always been a little envious of Emily's "I'm going to get manis and pedis" afternoons. Not because I crave the girl talk or have a desire to get my toes painted; but for the relaxing nature of the experience. My cut takes 15 minutes; it's not exactly "me time". But there is no way in hell I'm going to go hang out at Pinkie's for an afternoon.

But I would like to just relax somewhere. And I'm not so attached to dirty fingernails that I fear a little pampering. If someone could do something about my cuticles or my clogged pores while not also asking me what colour my panties are, that would be great.

It turns out there is a place, a magical land of golf clubs and black leather furniture; of facials and football; of haircuts and beer.

Yeah. Beer.

Apparently at some salons when you walk in they spring champagne or wine on you or something. Champagne makes a fine drink in the afternoon if you are going to wait for your toenails to dry, but it's not my cuppa.

I went to American Male on Saturday, and the hot, bored, receptionist greeted me with my choice of beverage. I opted for a coke, because, well, it was 1 in the afternoon and there was no hockey game on; but it was nice to know that I could have had a beer if I wanted it.

There are golf clubs and skis hanging on the walls, and there is nothing like lavender stinking up the place. Just the scent of leather.

I was taken in hand by Linda, who asked "Have you ever had a paraffin dip?"

Surely that was a line. As was: "You look like that guy on Grey's Anatomy: Dr. McSteamy."

Whatever. They were good lines.

She wouldn't tell me what she was going to dip in wax until I agree to remove my wedding ring. I suppose she didn't want the reminder that she was asking a married man to go into the back room with her.

I admit it: the lines worked on me. I caved. I took off my ring and followed her into the back room.

And then Linda spent an hour doing things to me that no one ever has; touching me in ways that made me forget all about my commitment. To George, the $6 Barber and barbers everywhere.

My hands were dipped in hot paraffin wax and then wrapped in plastic bags and covered with something like an oven mitt. Then she took me over to the shampoo station and had me relax in the chair while she washed and conditioned my hair. And I found out that a facial is essentially a face massage, and it feels awesome. A hot towel on my face and a scalp massage later and I had a hard time remembering what I had even come in for. Hadn't I always been here? Lost in a haze of wax and conditioner?

But really I had come in for a haircut. It just so happens that this cut comes with a half hour of rubbing and stroking.

Eventually Linda and I made it over to another black leather chair. I sat in front of a huge mirror while she came up behind me and asked if I knew what I wanted.

"Um. No, it's my first time."

"Then let me take care of you."

Oh, Linda, baby. I'm in your hands. Forever.

She took care of me, alright. Pulling, tugging, getting out her little brushes every now and then to tickle my eyes and nose. I could see it all in the mirror.

Eventually, too soon, it was over.

"Do you want a blow?"

Wow. I didn't think I could handle that after everything else.

"We'll just let the air take care of you, then."

She had to hint, gently, more than once, that our time was over. I didn't want to hear it. I wanted to stay in that chair forever. But it wasn't to be.

I went to the counter and paid my bill with my personal credit card; I didn't want this one showing up on the joint account statement.

And I booked an appointment for two weeks from now. For a "cleanup".

I may never go back to a barber again. I may pay Linda to "detail" my hands and feet next time, or get a full body massage after my next cut.

I will never have to worry about my palms being hairy. I know that Linda will always be there, with her magic massaging fingers and hot wax.

The Man Spa, and Linda, have ruined me.


Middle Aged woman said...

The incredible place I visit for cut and color has a Man Spa next door. They get better coffee cups than the girls do, and a big-ass flat-screen TV!

babybloomr said...

No back waxing? No manscaping?
Honey, you're still practically a virgin.
Next time? Man up and get highlights.

Dani said...

Wow. That whole post was kinda' sexy.

Mary Beth said...

Wow! If there were a hockey game on, your wife and child might never see you again!

Loralee Choate said...

Welcome to the dark side, baby.


Anonymous said...

I've been trying to convince my Big Bean to do a "couples day" at the spa, so far, no dice.

He says he has nothing against it, it's "just not for him."

Translation: "If I did this and liked it I would have to keep going back, and then I might start wearing man-perfume and carrying a purse."

Will said...

This ain't helping the lady like image my man. Crackin' funny though.

Mr Lady said...

The Dark Side welcomes you.

Aunt Becky said...

Bwahahahaa! I vote for manscaping, too. It's necessary.

Mel, A Dramatic Mommy said...

I'm here with hubby using you as an example of why Supercuts is passe. I said, "he even likes the Redwings." (Hubby's favorite team). It's not working.

Neil said...

Call me naive, but I don't think I quite understand what she did to you. Your hands were wrapped in hot wax and plastic bags and this was supposed to be enjoyable? Sounds more like what they did to torture soldiers in Vietnam.

The Flirty Girl said...

LOVE IT! I hope you start a trend... A spa day for the guys. Get all of your buddies to go. When you start including strangers I'll send my husband :P

Nancy said...

Expand on the menu.

I wish more men would pamper themselves like that.
Cleaned up is always sexy.

Chag said...

So this is what happens to a guy after he goes to BlogHer?

While I'm sure it was an enjoyable time, I'm way too cheap to pamper myself like this.

AMR said...

I've never been to a spa nor have I ever enjoyed a massage. Your orgasmic experience may just force my hand.

Sandi said...

when I saw your new profile pic I thought you do look like McSteamy.

Glad to hear that you enjoyed your parafin dip. We have a man spa here that I keep threatening to send my husband to even though he says that he'd hate it.

Whit said...

Now that's a happy ending.

Carolyn...Online said...

So is this full release or what?

Zip n Tizzy said...

I'm with Chag...I've seen how the ladie's have been treating you both at, and since blogher. It's starting to seem a bit cultish..."Join us, join us"...
Well, as long as you don't max out that personal card, these spa days do add up, then I'm sure your wife will love not having to justify her own indulgences.

Cassie said...

This is ironic. My husband just did a guest post on my blog a few days ago about a similar experience. The difference? He made the whole thing incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. He is the only person I know that could go in for that kind of treatment and come out more tense than when he went in!

Jennifer said...

LOL okay so I'm totally laughing at all the double entendres. That was great.

Joe said...

My brother-in-law goes there. I have been thinking about going as well, but am too chicken to go (since I gave him a such a hard time). :)

Anonymous said...

Dani's right: That post was pretty hot.

And mmm, paraffin. I'm in love with paraffin, feels so good!

RhoRho said...

You know what this means? You're a metro. A metrosexual. I know, I'm married to one. Luckily, so far he only spends about, I donno, a gazillion dollars more on his hair than I do mine. And still does the manscaping at home, for now.

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! You kill me!

for a different kind of girl said...

I felt a little tingly reading this post, I must admit. Is the blowing extra? I suggest springing for the blowing. Don't jump into the buffing too soon, though.

EatPlayLove said...

I vote for some body waxing next time, your infatuation with Linda may end sooner than you think.

The Broken Man said...

We have something similar in our town - playstations and x-boxes while you wait, and fantastic pampering. I don't think the haircuts were up to much, but after the rest of the experience I really didn't care.

The bill wasn't great though... It'll have to be a rare treat! :(

The Broken man

gorillabuns said...

I don't get this kind of treatment at my hairdressers. Maybe I have to be a man to get a hot wax dip.

reneedesigns said...

My husband goes to one of those and loves it. They have a pool table in the waiting room. No X-Boxes or I'd never see him again.

Badass Geek said...


Even Oprah and Dr Phil can't save you, now.

Redneck Mommy said...

I knew you were a tucker.

This just confirms it, dude.

caramama said...

Oh, I love the paraffin dip! And I also think you should go for the blow next time. It's excellent!

Loved this post. It also made me a little hot. Maybe my hubby would go if he thought about it in this way. On second thought, maybe I should keep him home.

Jennifer H said...

Now I know where I'm sending my husband for his next birthday.

I told my hairstylist that someone should open salons for women with services provided by really hot male stylists and massage therapists who know what they're doing. No weak massages (with apologies to the husbands who try), and nothing too inappropriate going on--just pampering by hot men who know how to give a really good scalp massage during the shampoo. And who smell really good.

Women would totally pay for that.

Miss Britt said...

But did you go shopping afterwards? Just to, you know, see if you found anything on sale?

Forever In School said...

I am so gonna share this post with my husband. He has to read it.

Anissa Mayhew said...

Seriously, when the little Vietnamese woman is scraping callouses off the soles of my feet while chatting away with her friend in a language I don't understand, I find it hard to get the eroticism you did. Again, something the men try to steal away from us and find a way to make it better. Feel free to take childbirth next.

Stefanie said...

Wow, I wrote my little pedi thing before I read this. I see nothing wrong with a little "you time." And I too love a facial...wait...

ALI said...

yeah ummm..have to go with sexy.

Undomestic Diva said...

Sounds like every man's wet dream.

And let me just say that while women's salons may offer wine or champagne, rarely are there hawt guys to rub and stroke. They're either gay or female. Sigh.

Kile said...

Sooner or later you're going to have to tell your barber you're seeing someone else ("it's not you it's!"). Akward!

Assertagirl said...

One of my favourite expressions when describing hair is "Business up front, party in the back."

Now for the much did this afternoon at the man spa set you back?

Robin said...

I think Linda may have meant something else when she asked if you wanted a 'blow'.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, I took my friend Karl to a real salon for the first time when he visited last year, and he was like an excited kid in two candy shops!

Good times...

Mom101 said...

I think your marriage is over.

But at least you'll have good hair.

Dto3 said...

You should check out"Knockouts." It's basically Hooters girls cutting your hair, with free beer. You really don't care what you look like when you get out of there, you just want to go back as soon as you can.

Karl said...

Damn, I so need to visit this place! I love the barber, too, but for that kind of service? I'd probably sell my left kidney. No, wait. My right. I really like the left one.

Shelli said...

Isn't it freaking amazing. You made me decide to go get a pedicure tomorrow.

SciFi Dad said...

And suddenly, using moisturizer makes me look like Paul Bunyan next to you.

(Not that I wouldn't normally, though.)

kittenpie said...

Misterpie could never sit still that long. Me? I loooove going to get my hair done. Something about being forced to just sit for two hours is so good. And having someone else wash your hair? Just feels so decadent, I love it. And that's just the hair, I dont' even need to go for the rest of the pampering, as long as I get to do that much. Mmmm...

Xbox4NappyRash said...

In a sort-of-but-not-really connected way, I adore barber shops.

To the point where I am ridiculously loyal to them.

I'm hurtling towards 31 years of age now, and my mother up until I was 10 aside, I have had only 3 barbers.

1 in my home town for 7 years, 1 in my college town for the next 6, and the same one here in Holland now for the last 7.

I'm positively follically virginal.

Backpacking Dad said...

middle aged woman: the man is always looking for ways to keep you down :}

babybloomr: I would look hot with highlights. Or frosted tips.

dani: well thank you :}

mary beth: I'm already saying goodbye in advance.

loralee: the dark side smells awesome.

bejewell: It's called a satchel.

will: Just keep your hands to yourself, big guy.

mr lady: with fragrant, tickling arms.

aunt becky: I'm actually afraid to ask what manscaping is.

mel, a dramatic mommy: tell him there chicks are hot.

neil: you just have to experience it. it's like a big hug with wax.

the flirty girl: maybe I'll start a man spa meetup group :}

nancy: hand and foot detailing, cuts, massages, facials. I actually didn't even get through the entire menu.

chag: not as expensive as it is for the ladies. actually pretty cheap when I consider how much I've paid for a haircut at a regular salon before.

amr: it will not disappoint.

sandi: he won't hate it. he'll love it, and then he'll tell you tha he hated it but then he'll sneak out to it when you aren't looking.

whit: damn near.

carolyn online: damn near :}

zip n tizzy: I'm totally zombiefied. Someone stab me through the brain before I infect all of the other daddy bloggers.

cassie: that's too bad. Did he go to a man spa or to a standard salon? I don't think I could do this at a salon that wasn't all male.

jennifer: why thank you very much :}

joe: just do it.

anna grace: I'm getting all worked up re-reading it.

rhorho: what the hell is manscaping?

danielle-lee: :}

FADKOG: the blowing was included.

eatplaylove: I'm actually not very hairy. I don't think body-waxing would be worth it.

the broken man: I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap this place was, considering.

gorillabuns: maybe :}

reneedesigns: a pool table? awesome.

badass geek: I know. Just leave me for dead.

redneck mommy: all this proves is that I like having women play with my hair.

caramama: if you love him you'll let him go.

jennifer h: I bet they would.

miss brit: no, but I did nag my wife about putting the toilet seat down when I got home.

forever in school: say goodbye.

anissa mayhew: I had a friend who tried to convince me that a man could carry a child to term in his spleen or something like that.

stefanie: there's nothing wrong with a lot of me time I think.

ali: yeah.

undomestic diva: you should start that business.

kile: I'm hoping I can just break up with him by post-it

assertagirl: not as much as you'd think.

robin: I'm sure she did :}

hilly: and he probably smells great now

mom101: I'll miss her, but Linda is something else.

dto3: awesome.

karl: it's worth either.

shelli: just my little contribution to the GDP

scifi dad: I really should moisturize.

kittenpie: decadent is exactly the right word

xbox4nappyrash: I was the same way. I had to have A barber. Not any more though.

TLC said...

Wow, that was really something. I am all hot and bothered, now.

You know that American Male sounds like somewhere gay guys go to pick one another up, right? Yeah, you know.

Sounds like a place that costs an arm and a leg. But we want to see your hair cut.

Lapa37 said...

I just read your other post about nicknames and I wanted to make sure of something. Are you sure your not "gay Shawn"? JK I enjoyed the way you told the story it sounded like you enjoyed yourself maybe a bit to much.

Erotica said...

Recently I had to travel for six weeks, and while I was away my husband turned our master bath into his own personal man spa. It has an extra large spa type bathtub that he loves to spend hours in, reading usually. While I was gone he moved a television in the large doorway so he could watch movies, and he smoked his cigars and pipes in there too. Now that I'm home again, the only thing different is he doesn't smoke in there because my lungs can't handle the smoke. I strongly encourage every man to enjoy their own personal man spa at home if they can't afford to go out and do it.