Manicures and spas

2012-05-09 12:54

I’ve been called a lot of things – some of them rather nasty but at the same time accurate – in my time, but metrosexual or mirrorsexual have not been among them.

I have this reputation – rightly so most of the time – for being something of a stoner-cum-ageing football hooligan, a bit of a geezer who’s a lot more at home in the pub, in the stands or the charge office for that matter than a spa.

Pass me a Pickled Pig Porter and I’m grinning like a Patagonian Tooth Fish.

Mention a manicure and I’m over the hills and far away before you can say “exfoliate’’.

So it was with more than a little trepidation that I decided to take the plunge into the unknown world of pedicures, manicures and facials and accept an invitation to Ballito’s Hotel Izulu’s Impilo Spa.

My concern was legitimate: my only prior experience of the male cosmetic industry had consisted of popping into the Fine Gentlemen’s Grooming Club in Durban’s Overport Drive for a razor chiskop and finding my drinking partner JahNoDead having a facial on the sly.

It was a shocking, pitiful sight.

The dreadlocked one was wrapped in a bib and strapped into a reclining chair with his face caked in some nasty greenish-white substance, staring blankly into space.

Then he noticed me. He turned ashen under what I later found out was an avocado-based face mask aimed at drawing impurities out of his drink-ravaged skin. His rep as a hard man was screwed.

Caught in the act and totally at my mercy, he had no option but to fess up about his counter-revolutionary tendencies. My mucker, it transpired, had gone the whole hog.

Not only had he started with the hot towel treatment, razor shave and facial massage, but he had gone over the edge and had the full facial (with the mask nogal) and a steam treatment to get the legacy of countless pints of India Pale Ale out of his epidermis.

Fine Gentlemen’s, it transpired, is far more than the top notch barber shop, staffed by razor wielding geniuses from the Indian subcontinent, I knew it to be.

Not only do they offer facials and steam cleansing, but they also do neck, head, face and full-body massages and stock all kinds of chemicals which I’m told turn you from Vinnie Jones to David Beckham in a couple of weeks.

But enough of JahNoDead and his mirrorsexual tendencies.

After a night in Izulu’s luxurious Romance Sweet (where I was able to watch the Sunday afternoon PSL and EPL fixtures with an icy beverage from the mini bar as the rain poured down) it was off to the Impilo, located above the hotel’s reception and dining area, for a paraffin pedicure.

I was in the more than capable hands of Suehana Sewpursad, a nine-year veteran of the beauty industry, who reeled off the names of countless macho celebrities who regularly visit the spa for treatments as she got me settled on a reclining massage bed and got to work on my slop-tanned, cracked-heeled trotters.

I have to admit they were an ugly sight: that weird white V from the straps on my flip-flops; mangled toenails from when I lost my nail?clipper and tried a steak knife; crevasses worthy of the Antarctic in the heels topped with a full summer of ground-in bitumen from Addington Beach.

Sewpursad kicked off with a warm, kinda sexy soak in a footbath with pebbles to soften my hooves and then coated them with a mixture of grapefruit, sugar and tea tree oil to exfoliate them while some calming pan pipe music filtered in and chilled me out.

I felt myself relax all over as she went to work removing calluses, sanding down cracks and scraping out enough bitumen to tar the road to Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

Out came a numbing agent and some wicked looking scalpelish things and the nails were suddenly transformed from something out of a Frankenstein movie into human toes.

Then my feet were dipped in this bath filled with liquid paraffin and wrapped in two big dealer bankies and left to settle before being peeled off, doing wonders for my circulation in the process.

All that was left to be done was the final buffing of the nails and a banging foot massage and I was a new man with new feet.

And a new attitude to man-style tittervating.

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