Some men may still view it as a feminization of dudes. But this jittery batch seems to be shrinking. According to the International Spa Association (ISA), nearly half of spa visitors in the U.S. are now men.
Surprised? It depends on whether you consider a spa a place of primping and coiffuring, where the lavender scent is inhaled by robe-clad women in search of exotic mani-pedis.
Let’s just say that this view is more than a quarter century old. Today’s spas are all about health, wellness, and fitness, and yes, ok, primping and preening as well, if that’s what’s required.
The ISA report says that a typical male spa-goer is between 25-44 years old, is employed at management or executive level, and earns over $50K per year. These guys have a lot of stress and are seeking spa treatments, scrubs and massages to shake it off. Plus, with today’s spas offering an array of testosterone-enhancing fitness options, the traditional image of spas as solely the domain of women in hair curlers with fruity masks and vegetable eye patches, is fast disappearing.
The spa as guy-dom? It’s coming. In an interview for a Wall Street Journal Article about spa vacations becoming the new executive perk, Bart Lorang, founder and CEO of a Denver software company, said, “When people are looking for something that’s a little different, or their anxiety levels are high, I encourage them to go to one of these places.” He is, of course, referring to spas, and the more expensive spa vacations.
In the same article, Chris Papouras, an oil industry executive, who had long considered a male spa experience a “metrosexual boondoggle”, became a spa convert. Papouras says he found going to the spa to be an “intense, physical experience,” and it turned him into a wellness and fitness enthusiast.
The spa industry is booming, and spa owners in their business growth plans are betting on more men crossing the spa portals.
Most spas offer much more than just facials and mani-pedis, although these services – under different names, such as “facial grooming” and “manly-cure” – are also being sought by men. And why not? Are withered, black-head-dotted skin and calloused feet a sign of masculinity? Maybe in the cave-residing epoch of our evolution, but not in 2017.
Still, men in spas is actually not a 21st-century concept. We think of Roman soldiers and gladiators as the epitome of masculinity, right? Aren’t they famous for frequenting those hot baths and dark rooms to be massaged and scrubbed as the perfect way to unwind before they killed a barbarian/lion or two?