Wax On, Wax Off

Pain is beauty. Beauty is pain. Seán McGovern takes a look at the sticky situation of male groomingThe feminisation of the male has created some masculinised equivalents of things we’d normally associate with women. In less lofty terms, it means that men have tried their very best to make things sound just that little less girly. Usually, They fail. Guyliner is still eyeliner, and manscaping? Well manscaping, with all its silliness, is something we should welcome. The modern man should have no trouble in tending to his own wilderness. If any man gets uncomfortable about talking about keeping himself trim, he’s a loser and deserves never to get laid. There’s really no excuse you can have for having to comb your back, unless you’re with someone who gets off on back hair. (If you are, stop reading. You two deserve each other.)This could easily be a an ‘otwo attempts’ page, but that would make it sound like something bizarre and frightening that one should only do for a bet. Male waxing shouldn’t be – and isn’t – something to fear. It’s an extension of a hygiene regime, and though it can be expensive, it’s a much more effective treatment than shaving. Waxing takes less time, and doesn’t involve you squatting over a mirror with a trimmer (or God forbid, the kitchen scissors). Before we get into the murky water of sexism, a cross-section survey of women will yield the result that they don’t remove their body hair to please a man, but to please themselves. The general female consensus is that they don’t like their underarm hair, so why keep it if you don’t like it? While a man with no underarm hair is rare (and this author doesn’t suggest that all body hair is unnatural or unsightly), if a man has quite a large amount of body hair in one or more areas and doesn’t like it, why not remove it? Just like dressing a certain way, you should never do it to please someone else – you should do it to please yourself.Stephen Thomas on Dame St is Dublin’s only exclusively male grooming clinic. The fact that it’s for men only means that there’s nothing these groomers haven’t seen before. Many grooming clinics do not even offer men’s treatments, as intimate waxing is something one woman understands for another. Male body hair is a horse of a different colour, however, and Stephen Thomas offers a wide range of services for every area of the man where hair can grow, including chest, back, ass and crack. The ‘back, sack and crack’ treatment is the most popular rhyming wax there is – and even if you don’t have hair in these three areas, there are other treatments and deals that focus on the areas where you might, all at a range of extremely fair prices.The waxing process begins with the patch test which takes place twenty-four hours before the actual wax. These tests are mandatory: removing a patch of hair from the areas to be treated reveals if the customer’s skin is suitable for a full wax. When the initial redness goes down, it easy to tell if the skin is compatible, and for most people it is. The wax used is a combination of normal hair removal ingredients as well as skin friendly oils and plant extracts.As for the experience itself… Well, there’s pain. But it’s quick and often humorous. The feeling is akin to the sensation you get stepping into really cold water, where you’ll make little gasps for air, as if winded. It makes for interesting situations when you’re lying with your ass in the air getting asked where you’re planning on going on holidays. “Well - hyahh - I was thinking of - hyahhh - going somewhere with the - hyahh - lads.” If you go with an open mind, you won’t care about finding yourself in bizarrely intimate positions you would only otherwise encounter after a very messy weekend on Buckfast.In the clinic you’ll be smoothed with an antiseptic ointment of tea tree and eucalyptus, which closes the pores. The after-treatment is simple – simply allow the skin heal for 24 hours by not exposing it to any soap or water, so as to let it calm naturally. By the third day, you’ll need to exfoliate to encourage the hairs to grow back slowly at a natural pace, and to prevent any ingrown hairs. The results last up to six weeks – and while you may feel colder with all that hair removed, your clothes will fit better, your skin can breathe better when it sweats – and ultimately, if you get rid of hair that’s really bothering you you’ll feel so much better. That’s the real reason to do it.Now be a man, shut up, and get your crack waxed.Stephen Thomas Male Grooming, 64 Dame Street, Dublin 2. Tel (01) 672 9444