The Great Manscape

Waxing for men

Gone are the days of men’s hair removal beginning and ending with the Sunbeam Shavemaster. Not only is today’s modern man obliged to regularly tend to the whiskers on his face, he’s also expected to be the master of his (hairy) domain below the neck. Girlfriends, boyfriends and the grooming world at large have decreed that there’s such a thing as too much chest hair, that tidying up one’s private areas is simply good manners and that pretty much no one likes a hairy back.

In response, more men are coming to the table—literally—and receiving the services necessary to achieve that just-right level of “furriness” for them. In a 2005 Study of Men’s Grooming Appliances and Tools, only 5% of male respondents reported having removed body hair below the neck; in 2014, that statistic soared to 39%!

Still, there’s progress to be made, and a whole sector of males needing and wanting body hair removal, yet stopping short of actually stepping into their neighborhood salon or spa. According to experts, all these guys need is a little encouragement, some practical guidance and a safe place to receive services.

Center: The Lounge's Owner, Jodi Shays (right), with Alexandra Dey, who heads up the Seattle location.

Enter: The Shays Lounge Men’s Spa at Queen Bee Salon & Spa
When Jodi Shays opened Queen Bee Salon & Spa in Culver City, California, in 2004, she did not have men on the brain. But 10 years and four locations later, the market-conscious owner decided it was time to start rolling out a red carpet for the XYs among us. In 2014 she added The Shays Lounge Men’s Spa with a service menu tailored for male clients. High on the menu list: body waxing.

With fees ranging from $15 to $80, Shays serves up no fewer than 15 different body waxing services focused on nostrils, ears, shoulders, armpits, arms, chest, back, torso, legs, toes, and intimate areas whose services are delicately dubbed The Brief Encounter (a mankini, including “treasure trail” removal); The Butt Reynolds (self-explanatory); and The Crack Daddy (ditto).

Of course, body hair removal is only a part of The Shays Lounge’s offerings—brow and facial waxing, facials, nail care and airbrush tanning are also on the menu—but it’s the one that seems to grab the most attention.

“It’s the busiest part of our men’s services business,” confirms Shays, who is also an esthetician. “And it’s needed! Men shouldn’t have to become contortionists in order to groom themselves.” Despite the negative perceptions of men’s waxing, fueled by that cringe-worthy scene in the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin, these estheticians are seriously meticulous about their work, stresses the owner. Squeamishness and cries of pain have no place here.

Shays credits referrals and word of mouth for her growing client list. “We work with a lot of professional cyclists and swimmers who have hair removed for health and safety, and to improve their performance, so word gets out,” she says. Once the clients find the Lounge, they tend to settle in, thanks to its excellent service and easy approachability.

“Comfort is the name of the game,” explains Shays, who offers guests a beer or a shot of bourbon or whiskey pre-service “to take the edge off.” The menu’s FAQ page on the spa’s website affirms the spa’s fearlessness about “going there,” addressing the questions that many male clients are afraid to ask, without a lot of fuss and just a touch of humor. And if there’s still any doubt that this men’s spa understands how to relieve awkward tension, one need only check out the portrait on the wall: It’s Queen Elizabeth II—perched staidly, her eyes firmly closed.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment...