Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Day At The Spa For Men

I used to have a job answering the telephone for a major American corporation. It was a fun job, and I got a lot of time to read. I loved doing it, and the pay was pretty good. I shared a cubicle with a really cool guy named Brian.

One day, in between calls, he stretched and rolled his shoulders, as if to work out a kink, and said that since it was payday, he said that he was going to go to a masseuse. I had seen the ads in the local paper that they printed in the bottom corners of the sports section, with all their thinly veiled hints of things available other than a massage, and thought that perhaps he was looking for a “lady of the evening”.

“Oh no!” he said. Nothing like that at all. There was a small business near where he lived that was staffed by one large family of Koreans. Mama-san was the only one who spoke much English and the daughters did all the massage. It was strictly on the up and up. No funny business! There was a standard half-hour rate, and if after a half hour you weren’t satisfied, for a small fee, your time was extended to an hour. These were skilled and trained professionals. Licensed and everything. It was fifty bucks for an hour, and according to Brian, worth it at twice the price.

It was one of those things that he treated himself to once in a great while, but felt that though the price was dear, the benefits more than covered the cost.

To a certain extent, I could see where he was coming from. There were things that I treated myself to occasionally, like new music, a nice meal out, or a really good bottle of top shelf liquor. I don’t keep Johnny Walker Red or Stoli around, but every now and then, you just have to treat yourself.

“Hell,” I figured, “I’m worth it.”

I have never had a professional massage, nor do I see one in my near future, but I have experienced the joy and relief that a good chiropractor can provide. That sudden realization that all the kinks and rough spots have suddenly been made smooth, and the rush of feeling that reminds you what good health and relief are all about.

Yea, been there.

Now in this day and age, it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to spend a day at the spa and to come back rejuvenated, refreshed, and well pampered. But most of the guys that I know would think it a little strange if some guy they knew blew great gobs of money at the spa to have a facial, chemical peel, and pedicure while sipping Long Island Iced Teas. This is not treated as acceptable behavior. It’s o.k. to spend most of Friday night in the hot tub, sucking down inexpensive American beer and pinching your wife’s butt under the water, but to spend $300 to $500 for a weekend fling at the Spa is not treated as acceptable behavior.

“Man, I could have bought four new tires and a case of good beer for that kind of money, you big dumbass!” would probably be what you would hear. (At least from the guys I know.)

Well, if the holiday blues have got you down, take Doc’s sure-fire formula to better mental health.

Here’s what you do: Find two, whole, uninterrupted hours. No kids, family, appointments, or having to be anywhere in particular. This is very important!

Buy some beer.

Run the heater in the bathroom for 10-20 minutes, even in the summer, or Florida. You need it hot!

Drink a beer while you are waiting. Domestic is fine, but if you can spare the cash, buy a brand that you can treat yourself with. Try and purchase a canned beer. A sixer of 16 oz. “Tall Boys”, if you can. I know it sounds silly to say treat yourself in one breath, and tell you to buy canned beer in the next. Trust me. This will make sense later. (Steel Reserve is a good middle ground, and they sell it everywhere.)

Once the bathroom is good and hot, start the shower. Put on some tunes. Nothing too rockin’, you are trying to relax a little, just something kind of gentle that you haven’t heard in a while. Tunes aren’t crucial, but it helps to set the mood.


Set the shower to kind of warm. Let it run. Bring your beer to the bathroom. Try to keep it as cold as you possibly can. An ice chest is great, but not necessary. The water in the bowl keeps them pretty cold, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Bring all your beer. You’re going to be here for a while.

Crack a fresh one and strip.

Strut in front of the mirror for a minute. You are lookin’ pretty good, all things considered. (Tell yourself this, even if it is a lie. It’s you, and it’s o.k. to lie to you.)


Climb into the shower and take a beer. Use your non-dominant hand to hold the beer. Try to keep it reasonably dry. You do not need to let this delicious beer get watered down by tap water. If that’s what you want, buy “light” beer.

The water will be a little bit of a shock as you move from hot bathroom air to tepid shower water. There will be a shiver. Don’t fight it. This is all part of the process.

Don’t drink the beer yet.

Turn the water a little warmer, not too much. Let it fall on your back, neck, and shoulders. Move around slightly, so that you can appreciate the feel of the warm water, as it touches each part in turn.

Take a swig.

Feel the icy coldness falling from tongue to belly.

Turn the water to a little warmer.

Take a swig as needed.

Don’t make the mistake that this shower is an “I’m getting ready for work” shower. You are going to be here a while and no soap need be involved. You will be spending enough time under this water to wash every silly little millimeter of you eight times over. This is not about getting clean.

If you have to pee in the shower, so be it, but I don’t recommend it.

Relax. Let your mind wander. Try not to think of any one thing in particular, then turn the water a little hotter and take a swig. Think of nothing. Keep thinking of nothing. If you start thinking of sex, this is a whole different kind of "you time" and will not be covered in this recommendation.

Repeat. Don’t be afraid to keep turning the water a little hotter, maybe to the point it is a little uncomfortable or stings, just a little. Your plumber has set your water-heater to 120 degrees, and while that’s hot, it isn’t hot enough to burn you. Just let the water keep hitting someplace that it hasn’t yet, or at least, hasn’t in a while, and apply beer as needed, to keep your core temp down. This is important!

The hot water works out the kinks (especially if you have great water pressure or one of those massaging showerheads.) and the cold beer keeps your core body temp from getting too high, as well as adding a good muscle relaxer. Three or four beers is about my limit, by that time, I am pickled and pink, but there is no reason that this can’t be the greatest “YOU” party that you have ever had. Take a swig.

Don’t take bottled beer in the shower, if you can help it. Glass is slippery when it gets wet, and try as you might, that bottle is going to get wet. Nothing can end a little “you time” quicker than the sudden realization that the floor of the shower is covered in broken glass and you are stark naked. There is a reason that most accidents in the home happen in the bathroom. Things tend to get slippery when wet. Buy canned beer for safety.

When you are ready, and feel the benefits of the 45 minutes to an hour that you have spent, get out. Have the towels near the heater, so they are warm. Not too near the heater, no need to call the local fire department to see you enjoying a day at home “in the spa”, but you know what I mean.

Rub yourself down vigorously. Not just to dry yourself off, but a really good scrub, like you are trying to remove permanent marker drawings. Don’t shave or trim your nails, unless you have to, but this would be a great time to do it, if you are looking for an excuse. Your beard is soft and trims easily, as well as your nails. You just spent 45 minutes softening them up, so five or ten wouldn’t be out of the question. You can finish your beer, and by this time, your absolute favorite song is on and you get a chance to sing really loud, and really badly, if you haven’t tried this already. (If you are shaving, don’t bring the beer to your lips, but pour it in instead. Shaving foam ruins the taste of beer.)

Repeat the strutting in the mirror, ‘cause you thought you looked good then, well, that ain’t nothing to the man you see before you now! Clean, shaven, trimmed, and lookin’ as good as you were at eighteen! Damn! You clean up well!

Finish your beer and head to the bedroom. Don’t put on a thing, not even underwear. Turn the t.v. on, with the sound down low. Put on a movie that your wife won’t sit through, like “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly” or a good ball game with two teams that you don’t care about. Something that you like, but won’t keep you awake. (NO PORN!) The sound must be low, to where the announcers sound muffled, or the explosions and gunshots can fade into the background noise of your place. Slide between the cool sheets of a freshly made bed and watch for about half of a beer.

Take a nap. This will be the dreamless sleep that you had as a baby. The best you have had in years! It can, and will, recharge you.

As soon as you realize that you are awake, finish the rest of your kind of warm beer and lay there for ten minutes and think about how good you feel.

Above all, tell no one. They will never understand.

Those cowards!



  1. I'm totally doing this when I get home. Why have you hidden this spa treatment from me?!?

  2. me too! Actually, i got as far as the drinking part and forgot entirely about the shower. I was pretty relaxed just that way alone.

    But, lemmie tell you, NOTHING beats a good pair o' hands; massage and body work is totally worth it.

  3. Yes, a good "going over" by someone who knows what the hell they are doing is much better than any beer and shower can provide, but as not everyone has this sort of thing available, or the cash to hire a pro, this is an inexpensive alternative.



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