One of the best things about being a missus is accompanying the mister to the barber shop. Barber shops are usually no-nonsense places, awash with brash white lights, devoid of exotic eastern decor. That's why they are not as seductive as spas. Absence of fancy Asian frills notwithstanding, they provide comparable levels of service.
Men go to the barber shop not for the ambiance but for simple pampering sans zen music and that irritating soundtrack of birds chirping. Given a few minutes, you start appreciating the DOMish music, and even start finding it strangely comforting.
The good thing about barber shops is that, unlike beauty salons, they are not frequented by gaggles of girls bonding, texting, gossiping. Just men, quiet and serious, intent on only one purpose: to zone out from the world, the work, and the wife. An invisible "Do not disturb" sign hanging around their necks.
This particular wife tagged along but promised to ignore the husband so she can also zone out. He picked Beppo's Barber Shop at the ground floor of A Venue on Makati Ave. She picked the foot massage from the extensive menu of services.
She picks well. After several days of hard, physical labor -- moving heavy objects and standing for hours dusting and such -- she feels the soles of her feet are screaming, "Massage us, massage us!"
*Ending bothersome third person narration here*
Sheena, my therapist starts with hard, reflexology-like movements from the knees down. She goes easy on the oil, just enough to make it pleasurable, and not too much to make me feel like I'm being prepped for roasting. As I focus on Wuthering Heights, Sheena focuses on providing comfort to my tired feet and her deft fingers do not miss a spot, rubbing away my pains. After the thorough kneading, which I think is glorious enough, she brings out this scary contraption that she straps to her hand. When her fingers touch my flesh, I discover that one thing missing from my life until now, well, two things actually -- Sheena and her wonderful, vibrating machine.
Nirvana. I am not fond of using eastern religious terms, but WordWeb's definition fits perfectly -- complete bliss and delight and peace. I drop my book at its story's most exciting part, as it is getting in the way of my zen. That wonderful vibrating machine, from hereon to be called WVM, is the answer to all the world's problems -- wars, drugs, road rage, and Britney Spears. If everyone would just have Sheena and her WVM, then everybody will be living in a state of well being, and we will all just get along.
After the WVM does its wondrous job on my feet, the rest of my body feels envious. Sheena hears my shoulders' jealous rage and massages my arms, hands, shoulders, head. I run out of eastern mystic terms to describe the ecstasy.
Then she slows the pace and ends with a light finger massage. And I understand finally what my guy friends mean by "happy ending." Then she does what very few spa therapists do -- towel wipe out the oil and slap on a splash of one of my favorite scents in the world, rubbing alcohol. Then she covers me up with some fuzzy towels and lets me nap for a few minutes.
As I hover between dazed awakeness and the brink of REM, I understand why men usually top up with more services they don't really need like manicures and ear waxing. They just don't want the experience to end. Sad sigh.
Sheena doesn't allow me to leave with bedhead. She spritzes water on my hair and brushes it, making the fat tip and the pension plan I'm planning to give her so much worth it.
Really, this is the most fun and pleasure you can have without taking off your clothes (I mean, taking off your clothes at the spa, pervie). All for 350 pesos.
My new word: barbelicious.
Try out Beppos' Barber Shops' grooming and massage services. They also have branches at Cash & Carry (South Super Highway) and The Link Building (Makati Avenue across Landmark)
PS: (June 8, 2009) Today I went for hot oil treatment and again had a pleasurable encounter with the Wondeful Vibrating Machine, this time on my head. Lovely. Great hand massage too on the shoulders down to my fingertips. Mmmmm!