• Photo for Permission to indulge freely
    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith

Permission to indulge freely

by S. Wentworth

Facials, pedicures, waxing and spa days are no longer the exclusive domain of women and queens. That’s the upside of the metrosexual revolution sweeping the XY set.

A combination of “man” and the manly yard grooming activity “landscaping,” “manscaping” is now a part of the popular lexicon thanks to shows like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” It’s more than just trimming and waxing that’s taking off. Self-indulgence rituals are standard fare for even the most macho men these days.

Eric Roos, co-owner of Nancy Boy, Inc., a line of fabulous beauty products designed for gay men and tested on boyfriends, said paring down is the big trend in manscaping now.

“The filled-to-bursting medicine cabinet is over, replaced with an edited assortment of high-grade products that do what they say,” Roos said. “Do we really need one product for it's-Wednesday-and-my-T-zone-feels-kinda-freaky and another that promises, yet again, to ‘firm’ our skin when, last time we checked, the only place that happens is the gym.”

Making the time to indulge one’s self is essential. Even Roos, who makes a living creating pampering tools, finds it hard to make time.

“[It makes] me feel great, but in the vein of the cobbler's shoeless children, I rarely seem to make time. It's mortifying to admit, but there have been so many times when I've thought, ‘Gosh, it would be really nice to slap on a face mask right now’ and after rooting around, find there aren't any in the house,” he said.

Designer Amit Shrivastava, 27, a cardio junkie and pedicure princess, said pampering rituals “make me feel relaxed, in tune with myself, calm and really relaxed. They all play a very big role in my life. It's my opportunity to really look after myself.”

When Shrivastava needs cheering up, he hits the nail salon for a mani-pedi pick-me-up. His favorite indulgence is “soaking in a bath with salts and scented candles after a deep tissue shiatsu massage,” he said. “I follow that with a good scrub using exfoliating gloves with a solution of eucalyptus and menthol oil.”

While some look at manscaping and other personal care rituals as relaxing staples, others find them a painful and necessary part of being a gay man.

“Serious manscaping rituals, like waxing and trimming, sort of feel like the bane of the single gay man,” Steven Spencer-Steigner, 37, marketing executive, said. “Of course, if I were in a committed relationship, I would say that they were the bane of keeping your man happy.

“I don't wax because I'm a whimp when it comes to pain,” he said. “I reluctantly trim with clippers two to four times a year, depending how my love life is going.”

Spencer-Steigner prefers “shadowing” to manscaping. He particularly likes to indulge in a quick trip to the high pressure tanning beds or a nap in the park on a sunny day.

At the nail salon, he’s a total bottom. “I don't do manicures. The women always make me bleed. I love pedicures—the full deal: parafin wax, massage, soak, etc,” he said.

With spas catering exclusively to men, like San Francisco’s Nickel Spa, it’s a revolution in men’s personal care. Whether you’re a waxer, tanner, massage fanatic or fountain of youth seeker, the metrosexual revolution means you’ve got permission to indulge freely.