Facials are not just for women, but when the Finksburg Senior Centerarranged for a trip to have the treatments done, none of the male members would go.
Despite pleadings from center director Suzie Santalucia, the men declined.
"They just think facials and flower-arranging are just for the women," Santalucia said.
But there is one male equivalent to a facial -- an old-fashioned barbershop shave.
Cal Bloom does them in hisMain Street shop for $6.50, but they aren't very popular.
"If I get one a week, I'd be lucky," Bloom said. Those who do come in are either young men who are curious about what it's like, or older men whose wives used to shave them with a straight razor, which is hard to use on one's own face, Bloom said.
The latter group come in now andthen because their wives have died or can no longer wield the razor with a steady hand, he said.
Even Bloom won't shave himself with astraight razor, which was all men used until about the 1950s. About that time, safety razors and electric shavers took over the market.
But while a straight-razor shave is a little more treacherous, whendone by a barber it lasts about two days longer than a typical home shave, Bloom said.
The trick is in the last step, in which the barber goes against the grain of the beard, getting a much closer shave,Bloom said.
The first step is a towel soaked in hot tap water andplaced on the man's face. That softens the beard and opens pores, Bloom said.
Next comes hot lather and a shave in the same direction the hair is growing.
"If you went against the grain at the beginning, there's more of a chance of nicking the skin, because the hair islonger," Bloom said. The razor would pull and drag on the longer whisker.
After the first shave, Bloom feels along the skin and runs the razor up against the grain to get as much of the beard growth as possible.
He finishes off the treatment with another hot towel and then a cold one, followed by a few slaps of the classic Bay Rum fragrance, a barbershop staple.
"It's real relaxing and soothing," Bloom said of the shave. "It's almost like a massage."
But alas, few men indulge since the 1940s, when barbershop shaves were a weekly ritual for many men on Saturday nights, to prepare for church on Sunday.
"In the old days, if you came to the barber and got a haircut and didn't get a shave, it would be like you were cheating the barber," Bloom said.