TWO weeks ago, I did something I haven’t done before: I went for my first ever male grooming experience.
I don’t drink much, so I am not sure about champagne so early in the morning, but it was the best love I have given myself in decades.
The gentlemen’s grooming experience at Sorbet Man Cresta changed how I felt about men and grooming. What made it even more unforgettable is that I won a hamper, which comes in handy in these times of a recession.
It has been two weeks since I broke my male grooming virginity, and I wish I had known what I know now about taking care of myself when I was a teenager. My skin would be much healthier.
Please don’t tell my cousins down in KwaMhlab’uyalingana and Mpophoma, they will think I am coming out of the closet. Why else would a man be spending hours – and hundreds of rand – in a salon? They would ask, disgusted: “Abafazi benzeni bona?” (what then should the women do?)
This is usually followed by the speaker spitting on the dry earth to show their disapproval.
For many African men of my generation, especially us Ngunis, male grooming is a swear word. They will tell you that a man must not look beautiful. He should be “manly”.
I know some chaps who don’t use roll-on or perfume at all. That’s for women and gay men, they will say. A man must smell of sweat and must not shave his armpits and the region to the south.
Growing up, male grooming wasn’t an option. You all used a slab of Sunlight soap to wash clothes and to bath, using a rough orange sack to reach all the dirty areas.
No matter your skin type, you used the same soap and same body lotion. Vaseline Blue Seal was the obvious choice. When your hair had overgrown and you looked like Khaphela from Generations, you walked to Njabulo, who ran a sidewalk “salon” and got your box cut and your beard shaved off. He applied methylated spirit as aftershave and off you went.
I have dry lips and dry skin. Thanks to the hamper I won, I now have suitable hand and nail lotion. They are going to breathe for a while.
I shudder to think how much it will cost me to replace when the freebie runs out, but there is going to be a few drinks sacrificed.
But male grooming is more than just shaving and haircuts. I now know about treatments such as Manli-Cure, Pedicure and MediPedi. These are hands and feet treatments that cost between R130 and R435.
It’s a lot of money, yes, but let’s talk when you have tried them out and you have sobered up from wasting hundreds of rand on a weekend of endless boozing. It will make sense.
I haven’t done the manscaping (waxes) yet, but I am going in soon for a dermalogica facial. Don’t worry about the big English, these are just facial treatments to deal with skin problems while one relaxes. I will also go for a battery booster massage.
I have come to know that you can spend less on looking after your skin than you spend on booze and meaningless dates.
I never knew there was something called a healthy beard. Until my first experience at Sorbet Man Cresta, I simply just asked my barber Wale to trim and shape it. No oils were used and I didn’t worry about treatment.
On Monday, I went back to use a voucher I won during the grooming breakfast two weeks ago.
A haircut and shave sets you back R200, but you get royal treatment. I was shocked when the receptionist offered me a choice of single malt whisky, beer, cappuccino, coffee or water – all complementary.
My cousins in KwaMhlab’uyalingana would have settled for a beer and ditched the grooming experience.
The “abafazi benzeni bona” mentality runs skin deep. They are probably disgusted just reading this column. Bazoba strong.