Archive for Monday, January 11, 2010


Waxed: Staff writer Gavon Laessig takes a personal journey through the manscape

Gavon Laessig in before and after photos at his chest-waxing appointment at Salon Di Marco, 733 Mass. A survey from Remington indicates that 53 percent of women prefer that men undergo chest grooming.

Gavon Laessig in before and after photos at his chest-waxing appointment at Salon Di Marco, 733 Mass. A survey from Remington indicates that 53 percent of women prefer that men undergo chest grooming.

January 11, 2010


Chest waxing at Salon Di Marco

In researching his story on "manscaping" — the fine art of advanced male hygiene — reporter Gavon Laessig undergoes a chest waxing at Salon Di Marco. Enlarge video

Tara Kuba, esthetician at Salon Di Marco, 733 Mass., performs a chest wax on Gavon Laessig, Lawrence. She applies talc powder first to keep the wax from sticking.

Tara Kuba, esthetician at Salon Di Marco, 733 Mass., performs a chest wax on Gavon Laessig, Lawrence. She applies talc powder first to keep the wax from sticking.

Tara Kuba, esthetician at Salon Di Marco, 733 Mass., performs a chest wax on Gavon Laessig, Lawrence. She applies talc powder first to keep the wax from sticking.

Tara Kuba, esthetician at Salon Di Marco, 733 Mass., performs a chest wax on Gavon Laessig, Lawrence. She applies talc powder first to keep the wax from sticking.

A gorilla, a muskox and Robin Williams — three burly animals I’ve been compared to when shirtless. Frankly, I’m a hirsute man.

Aside from occasional, youthful experiments with shaving, I’ve never been a big proponent of so-called “manscaping.” It was just too hopeless. Considering my chest looks like a Joseph Conrad novel, you would need to napalm that manscape.

I’ve also avoided manscaping because I kind of took pride in a lush chest pelt. It harkened back to the days of Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds, when men were men and women were grossed out by those men. It was a simpler time.

Basically, due to laziness and misplaced machismo, I’m quite comfortable in my hair suit. It just fits.

So when my editor passed along a recent study regarding men and their grooming habits, my shag stood on end. Apparently women don’t like hairy men. According to this survey conducted by Remington (who would have absolutely no interest in promoting shaving), 57 percent of women think poor grooming is a turnoff. Some of the findings were understandable, such as a vast majority of women disliking back and “bum” hair (“bum” being Remington’s term).

No, what was so disheartening as a fellow who proudly sports a fur jerkin is that a majority of women, 53 percent, endorse chest grooming. Granted, it’s just a bare majority (if I intended that pun, may God shave off my tongue), but in a democratic republic like ours that’s all it takes.

I was living blissfully unaware, along with the 83 percent of men in this study, and just letting my chest chia. But elections, even those in the form of a poll conducted by a nonpartial razor manufacturer, have consequences. It was my civic duty to whack the cleavage weeds. I needed something bold. I needed the help of a professional. I needed wax.

A certain stigma?

Enter the cosmetological experts at Salon Di Marco in downtown Lawrence and the steady hands of Tara Kuba. Tara is a master wax-slinger at Salon Di Marco, and she certainly had her work cut out for her.

Luckily, I have no pride or shame, so asking for the appointment and disrobing in a small room in front of a young woman didn’t really bother me. Not that it should. For some reason, more than likely because it’s perceived as “feminine,” waxing for men has a certain stigma. It’s an obviously hypocritical position on the part of men since our culture expects women to be perpetually, prepubescently hairless. Thank goodness gay men have struck a blow for equality, leveled the field, and made hairless dude-chests sexy.

On the flip side of the anti-depilatory sentiment, guys who wax their chests can be perceived as overly — oh, shall we say — “Schwarzeneggarian.” You know — those testosterone cases who work out too much and generally use liquid tan.

Another reason men don’t wax is that that they’ve all seen the scene from “The 40 Year Old Virgin” where Steve Carell gets his hair ripped off and takes Kelly Clarkson’s name in vain. After seeing his mutilated and bloody chest, most guys are just afraid of losing a nipple.

Anyway, I’m shirtless and lying on the table at Salon Di Marco. My chest hair is so long, trimming it before the waxing is discussed. I should have seen that as an ominous sign of things to come, but being foolhardy, I dismiss the trim. A pot of hot wax and a stack of tongue depressors lay on a tray next to me. A halo lamp shines an unforgiving light on my pasty flesh. I feel like a cadaver in an operating theater. It’s go time.

Let it rip

Tara powders my chest with talc, to prevent the wax from sticking to the skin, then slathers on the botanical-based goo near my collar bone. It’s hot, but certainly not scalding. She lays a cloth strip over the matted hair and wax, pats the strip firmly so the wax will cling, then swiftly yanks.

You know that sensation when you rip off a Band-Aid? Multiply that by a quantum factor of Stephen Hawking proportions. I see starbursts. My eyes bug out, and I white-knuckle the table. Rather than screaming, my first response is to start laughing. It’s a nervous reaction. Tara must think I’m a giggling masochist. I won’t lie — that hurt like a beast.

But subsequent strips aren’t nearly as bad. You build up a tolerance rather quickly. I still hold my breath and tense up before each stroke, but you get into a groove. Tara is working so quickly that you don’t have time to pause and reflect on the radical terraforming taking place just below your neck. Nipple work still snaps you to attention, however.

In only about 10 minutes, the deed is done. My chest has been deforested. In the wake of the waxing, my torso is dotted with dozens of bloody little pinpricks — collateral damage for the sake of a sleek chest. Tara adds a soothing coat of tea tree oil, and that’s that. I’m now an inflamed, pink Ken doll from the waist up.

For the rest of the day, I can’t walk for any extended period of time. The raw chest rubbing up against the fabric of my shirt is agony. It being a cold day, my “high beams” are on, which compounds the excruciating friction. I don’t complain too much, though. A lady friend of mine suggested I imagine what it would be like to get a Brazilian. Horrifying food for thought.

It’s been a few days now, and the pain has slowly morphed into itching. I’m told this is normal and should clear up before long. What won’t clear up any time soon is the doughy, shapeless physique that no longer has a follicular sweater to hide behind. If anything, this experience has taught me I need to work out. I’m a featureless tube of bloat without the chest hair. I’m pretty sure the women in that survey might reconsider their vote if they saw me shirtless right now.

Another thing I’ve learned is that women deserve our undying respect for maintaining this kind of regimen in far more sensitive areas of their bodies. Thanks to a societal double standard, I’m allowed to be blissfully gross and hairy without much consequence. Women are frowned upon in polite society if they don’t pluck and wax and shave and laser and generally slash and burn themselves. I would tip my hat to you, ladies, if it didn’t hurt so much to move my arms right now.


bmwjhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Well-written and hilarious...

Cue the: "this is news?" posts...

thepianoman 7 years, 9 months ago

LOL. This is news????

No way in hell I'd have my chest waxed. Just hearing Gavon describe the post-wax pain gives me goose bumps. UGH. The bumps, the bleeding and I'm sure some extensive chapping and itching, especially with the dry, cold air, make this so undesirable.

Besides, some chicks find men with hairy chests attractive!!!

I'v been called the human chia pet!

thepianoman 7 years, 9 months ago

Hell, Multi, I prefer an amazon women.....She doesn't need to shave!! Hats off to you gals for enduring that stuff!!!

JustNoticed 7 years, 9 months ago

Yikes, a horrible event but very cleverly written.

number3of5 7 years, 9 months ago

Men without chest hair are not real men. They are boys who can only attract girls, not real women. When I was young enough to need to keep my armpits shaved to help with odor in the public, I shaved only once a week, same for the legs. Now I don't have any hair on my arms and legs. Oh in case you are wondering, I am a real woman.

Leslie Swearingen 7 years, 9 months ago

I think Olympic swimmers have the best bodies, a nice clean look. I don't consider shaving to be a big deal or time consuming any more than brushing your teeth.

RogueThrill 7 years, 9 months ago

Do "real women" only live in "real America"?

thepianoman 7 years, 9 months ago

Thanks number30f5!! I am man hear me roar....insert the (Tim Taylor grunt here)...arh, arh, arh, arh!!!

Multi- LMAO. I could comment further....but will may get deleted...LOL.

A lady I work with thinks my chest hair is "sexy."

As far as genetics and little brother is completely opposite of me....he is 26, nearly bald and has one or two BLACK chest unable to grow facial hair...I am thankful for my hair!!!!!

Bottom Line: Thick, black, curly chest hair is "in." It's a turn on.

schula 7 years, 9 months ago

Love a man with some nice chest hair (not like Gavon, though). More like Tom Selleck, Nic Cage or Burt Reynolds.

verity 7 years, 9 months ago

I did NOT want to see that picture.

labmonkey 7 years, 9 months ago


I think you put too much expectation on yourselves. I have made fun of girlfriends in the past when they spent an hour that would have been better spent sleeping putting makeup on. I think I have only seen my wife in makeup twice (and I have seen very few women who NEED makeup). There are times I have wondered what someone actually looks like, but I would have to take a jackhammer to her face to remove all the makeup.

As for shaving....I am not saying women have it easy...but what grows on our face is much tougher than what grows on your legs and armpits....and unless we're bankrobbers it is something we cannot hide if we screw up.

acg 7 years, 9 months ago

That was hysterical!! Now, as bad as that was, imagine it being done a little farther south and you know how women feel. ;)

chelsea7 7 years, 9 months ago

It's not surprising to see a Salon DiMarco employee (Tara) double dipping her wax stick and NOT wearing protective, latex gloves. Salon DiMarco is unsanitary and discusting! The Kansas Board of Cosmetology will die when they see this!

ohgeeze 7 years, 9 months ago



thepianoman 7 years, 9 months ago

Speaking of the unibrow...I shaved mine last night!!!

bastet 7 years, 9 months ago

chelsea7 (Anonymous) says…

"It's not surprising to see a Salon DiMarco employee (Tara) double dipping her wax stick and NOT wearing protective, latex gloves."

Oh, yeah. That is completely disgusting.The whole nasty episode is pretty off-putting.

ldvander 7 years, 9 months ago

Really Great Gavon!! I'm glad you could add more to the grooming debate. But still, I hope you grow back that sexy beast cuz men should never shave their chest! Sorry, Irish and Multi. Double standard set up by society. But, heck, been attached to a wom'n who did not shave either pits or legs at different times throughout the year for her own reason and I sure did not kick her out of bed.

superduper 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm so gonna poke you if I see you one the street. Way to go! A fun experiment.

Falling out of the shower and breaking your sholder :) LOL Sorry about that. I about saw my wife do a backflip when shaving. Just about killed me laughing. Although I did appreciate the smooth later!

JustNoticed 7 years, 9 months ago

Gavon, Has your right shoulder been dislocated or otherwise rearranged?

bearded_gnome 7 years, 9 months ago

A lady I work with thinks my chest hair is “sexy.”

---for a proper understanding of the above statement, some context is vital: please define "work." and, you "work" shirtless? "tote that barge, lift that bail? ya' gets a little drunk and ya lands in jail?"

Right on Labmonkey, ya beat me to it: Men scrape their faces. until quite recently, for hundreds of years they, or their barbers, did it with something that easily could have cut their throats! then, after scraping the face and opening a thousand little wounds, they're expected to put on cologne, or worse, "bracer." yes, put some alcohol on all them little cuts, but don't act like it hurts, because that would be unmanly. no, you are supposed to like it and it is good for you!

and, by the way, according to the comments under the women's hair/shaving LTE, I am natural or liberated because I do not shav...anywhere.
you'll just have to guess about my chest hair...I don't show it to simply anyone or at work.

been_there 7 years, 9 months ago

All the comments about prickly when growing out brings back unpleasant memories about childbirth. Something I am told they do not do anymore.

Dateable_Shelter_Dude 7 years, 9 months ago

JustNoticed (Anonymous) says…

Gavon, Has your right shoulder been dislocated or otherwise rearranged?

See 7:51. Gavon's previous experiment with hair removal. I can't wait to hear what other kinky things Gavon will be up to next. Most men won't tell this sort of thing unless they get very dunk.

Christine Anderson 7 years, 9 months ago

As usual, Multi has me in stitches! I personally resent the time it takes to shave armpits and legs; therefore, I only do it when I know there's going to be good reason to. Yep, that's what I mean. I personally prefer men with hairy chests. No, not King Kong, but if you're nestled into the guy's arms afterward and you think "Geez, where's my tweezer and he'll be a smoothie", the man just doesn't have enough chest hair.

Now, Multi, I want to ask you and all the other ladies out there who dare to answer the question...How do we feel about men shaving the "hair down there"? I'm gonna get in trouble for this(ha ha), but I personally think men should leave there what the good Lord gave them. Otherwise, they will be forced into a perpetual state of pubic smoothness. Men, you wonder why? When a man shaves "there" and then lets it grow back, it's like making love to a cactus!

redmorgan 7 years, 9 months ago

Why did you do it??? It's so effeminate for a man to wax his body hair!

bearded_gnome 7 years, 9 months ago

I would consider trimming it though. If I could figure out how to make it look like a chevy big block 327with headers and a full rise manifold.

talk to the specialists who build floats for the Rose Parade! bet they could help!

WFG, I had the same thought, besides Maryon is such a ladykiller anyway don't ya' know! my guess is his aphrodesiac of choice is either GHB or a large dose of E85...applied to his victims, uh dates.

observing 7 years, 9 months ago

Gavon, you are my hero for this article. I was laughing out loud at work, naturally at your expense but you just made me laugh! not go down this path! You'll regret it. When I think of all of the trimming and shaping we women go through I want to shake these guys with weirdly manicured eyebrows and shaved arms and say WAKE UP. You can't go back so easily! That itch Gavon talked about doesn't just impact you. Ouch.

Great article....

KansasPerson 7 years, 9 months ago

WOW multi, do you have absolutely no filter whatsoever? I now know a great deal more than I ever wanted to about your "dating" habits (euphemism there!).

BaxterC 7 years, 9 months ago

I think you missed a spot on your face. Which one are you, The Good, The Bad, or The Ugly?

By the look of that mustache, I'd say the Ugly.

poppylou 7 years, 9 months ago

first of all, latex gloves are not part of state boards requirements.

second of all, she's not double dipping. turn up your volume and you can hear her pile of sticks. additionally, if she were double dipping, each time she picked up the supposed old stick, she'd having a cloth strip stuck to it because that's what she's laying it down on.

Tara's waxing services are the height of cleanliness and efficiency. And that's exactly what I want in an aesthetician. Job well done!

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