The beauty parlor and the beast

A considerable number of straight Filipino males would rather die than to find themselves inside a beauty salon.
Which is perfectly understandable.
After all, the beauty parlor was not tailor-made for straight men.
It was exclusively designed for and primarily caters to women who have the mistaken notion that looks were the only things men cared about.
This is patently untrue. Most men are preoccupied with bust size as well.
Really.
But that is another story best left untold lest we incur the ire of flat-chested feminazis, who are usually humorless.
Anyway, a beauty salon represents good grooming and cleanliness, values which are alien to regular guys since they are congenitally unkempt, lazy, and primitive.
Between taking a hot shower or a short nap, they would prefer the second, since sleeping requires very little effort.
All you have to do is either close your eyes or watch  TeleDyaryo, that snoozefest on the government-owned National Broadcasting Network.
However, despite the benefits of uninterrupted slumber, unkempt men are becoming an endangered species.
Reports indicate that an increasing number of Asian men, including Filipino males, are now spending more time and money to improve their looks because apparently, this is what their partners want. Fortunately, I do not belong to this category.
Since my looks are beyond repair, my sartorial and tonsorial concerns have always taken the back seat to the more important things in life (i. e., the struggle against various injustices including beer price increases).
Unfortunately, over the weekend, I was coerced by my lovely spouse into getting a haircut at a mid-end salon, instead of the cheap barbershop where I usually go to.
She said that since we were going to a wedding that same day, we might as well go to the salon and get myself a pricey trim while she had her hair done.
I relented, especially after I was told that I was not going to pay for it.
The minute I stepped inside the salon?s clean and climate-controlled confines, I felt emasculated, ashamed even, that I had considered getting a haircut in a fancy place like this at all.
I became immediately apprehensive, thinking that I was slowly becoming one of those so-called metrosexuals or latent coño kids coming out of the
closet, which were exactly the kind of people my friends and I hated.
This feeling went away shortly when I was ushered to the shampoo area where my hair was lathered and rinsed.
It was fantastic.
A cool water spray emanating from a handheld shower head ran through my hair and scalp, bringing forth emotions never before felt.
Or at least not since I went on an extended dinner date with my wife.
Later on, with a towel wrapped around my head, I was led to another area where a female attendant thoroughly wiped my hair dry and took pains to
ensure that the large bib secured on my neck did not raise the possibility of asphyxiation.
She then gave me the assurance that my barber would be with me as soon as he was done with a previous customer.
It took nearly half an hour before I had my hair cut.
To keep me preoccupied, I was offered iced tea, which I graciously accepted.
Thankfully, as it turned out, my haircut was well worth the wait.
Nevertheless, next time I need my hair trimmed, I?m still not going to a salon.
Unless of course someone offers to pay for it.

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From the Blast from the Past Dept. This piece was published in the Manila Times in November 2005, when my humor — such as it is — was still in ample supply. It was retrieved from my files after a close friend told me a few days ago that I should feed my blog regularly. Here you go, friend. Thanks for the faith and the support.

From the And the Credits Go To Dept. Pic is from sabahpower.blogspot.com which says it came from badcontrol.com.

In your face

It wasn’t easy.
Not for regular Filipino males such as myself who place very little premium on physical appearance and cleanliness.
But it had to be done. And quickly.
Yes, ladies and lesbians, gays and gentlemen, trannies, tramps, and tarts, butches, bitc*es, and bastards, I had a facial.
I’m not exactly proud of it.
Allowing a stranger to smear mud, oil, and fruit extracts on your face is a decision that doesn’t come naturally to most men. Or at least not to me it doesn’t.
Sure, it’s clean. It’s probably even healthy.
But even in an age when metrosexuals and fashionistas reign supreme, I remain skeptical whether men should get regular facials at all.

This is a photo from fototech.com. The male in question is obviously not me.

This is a photo from fotosearch.com. The male in the picture is obviously not me.

Whatever happened to good old soap and water?
Have they gone the way of the pager, the 56k dial-up connection, and — with all due respect to communists — communism?
Apparently, they have, at least for some males excluding myself.
An informal poll I undertook via text messaging indicated that some of my friends use facial cleansers, others use astringents, and, as expected, a few had regular facials.
It’s still soap and water for me.
They remain my weapons of choice in the daily struggle against stubborn dirt and noxious body odor, a never-ending war in which I occasionally lose.
Despite their easy availability, I know well enough that sometimes soap and water may be insufficient or inappropriate in certain instances.
Which explains why the only time I agreed to get a facial was a few hours before I got married. This was seven years and seventy-seven pimples ago.
I did it for my bride, the occasion, and our guests, some of whom I have never had the misfortune of meeting again. But that’s another story.
My latest decision to get a facial involved no such grand event.
One day, while at the office, a female co-worker lunged at me without any explanation at all.
With nothing but her bare hands and a maniacal smile on her face, she attacked my left cheek and tried to pierce what she correctly diagnosed as a whitehead, also known as a non-inflamed pore blocked with sebum, according to Wikipedia.
“Hold still,” she told me, her right palm pushing my nose up, threatening to deform it.
“I’m good at this.”
Seconds later, she pressed her thumbs together in an effort to remove the offensive pore.
She failed. The stubborn sebum stayed secure, subcutaneously speaking.
It didn’t take long for me to get the message.
So the next day, I decided to go the whole hog.
I went for the facial after I got a haircut.
The process took more than an hour.
Eyes closed, I lay prostrate on a reclined barber’s chair while a clear, hollow tube the size of a pencil sucked away at the accumulated facial dirt of the past seven years.
It wasn’t an easy job for Facial Vacuum Guy, who said that his harvest of my facial debris was his most bountiful in recent memory.
Nor was it a walk in the park for me.
All throughout the procedure, my legs fell asleep, my butt turned numb, and my back incurred so much pain that I wished for a paracetamol overdose.
But then again, who was I to complain?
These vexations were just the price of male vanity.

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Also published in GMANews.TV.