My best-worst spa session ever
If you’re a strong/sensitive, red-blooded American man who treats his body as a temple — don’t we all? — then of course you love regular spa treatments.
I mean the full deal: sauna, steam, facial, makeup, electrolysis, wax, mani-pedi, exfoliation, wrap, pack and aromatherapy, not to mention cutting, styling and coloring back, chest, beard, eyebrow, ear, nose, finger/toe knuckle and remaining tufts of head hair. Finish the session with a skin-replenishing, radiance-enhancing UV bronzer and you’re ready to barbecue, the best a man can be.
For the discerning gent, the world offers some amazing spa destinations.
Per elitedaily.com, you can enjoy a venik massage in a Russian bathhouse that involves being flayed with a bundle of oak or birch tree leaves.
Or relax in a bathtub of ramen noodles in Japan as sweet yet overly salty revenge for living broke on convenience-store ramen in college.
A Mexican Halkali cactus massage sounds painful, but less so than an all-day “ideation” off-site at work.
Vinotherapy in Italy lets you soak in what you’re drinking, the perfect zen alignment of inner/outer bodily experience that makes you want to quit your job but you can’t because it pays for soaking in what you’re drinking in Italy.
But you don’t have to leave America for unforgettable spa.
Or be a 20-something Silicon Valley billionaire slumming at a Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons five-star resort, or a Hershey Park tourist yearning for the famed chocolate fondue wrap treatment.
Instead you can “rejuvenate your body, mind and soul” on the family budget by visiting the fifth floor of a grimy, decrepit 1960s office building in Manhattan’s Korea Town at 5 W 32nd St., above or astride (hard to tell) the BCD Tofu House featuring kimchi sondoobu tofu soup with bulgogi and mushrooms ($2 extra).
There you will find a spa called Juvenex.
Juvenex is both famous and infamous for being very good and very bad at the same time. Like Kanye West. Or Oreo chunk ice cream, especially drizzled with booze.
Since, like most hack writers, wallowing in the good/bad is what I’m all about, I indulged in the spa experience at Juvenex.
Five takeaways I might post on Yelp as a recommendation/warning:
- Like many of America’s best/worst dive bars and actor Val Kilmer, Juvenex wouldn’t look so good if the lights came up. Dive bars turn on the house lights at closing time to scare lingerers back to their squalid homes and lives, but Juvenex is open 24 hours and keeps the lights low. Interior design-wise, Juvenex is sticking with its ’80s retro-deco vibe waiting for it to become retro-retro-cool instead of butt-fugly.
- You would think the slow, grinding, fluorescent-lighted elevator up to the barely respectful receptionist may not get you into relaxed spa mode. But the fear of being trapped in the elevator when it breaks down, and the stress of knowing you look butt-fugly in that lighting, heightens your need for spa. Juvenex knows what it’s doing!
- If extreme claustrophobia is your thing, then you’ll love the sauna igloo and steam room that your personal Juvenex spa consultant forces you to enjoy. Especially since the heat is turned up past 11. This not only collapses your lungs and melts off your skin like a Raiders of the Lost Ark Nazi, it also helps you understand what President Trump’s evangelical Christian base is talking about regarding unrepentant sinners (not him) roasting in everlasting soul torment hellfire.
- You don’t have to be Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, comic Louis C.K., or a friendly neighborhood flasher/sex offender registrant to, ahem, let the boys out. Accidentally or on purpose. Full frontal nudity doesn’t seem to be an expressed policy at Juvenex but neither is respect for modesty. The female staffers walk in on you as you’re changing, while the masseuses (sorry: massage therapists) make you lie on the table completely nudie and then command you to flip over while your everything and whatnot flops around. It makes you think in Korea nobody cares about your junk because everyone has junk.
- You learn what tuna caught on the high seas goes through. Sure, you love seared sesame-crusted tuna steaks, delicate tuna carpaccio and sashimi, “fresh” tuna salad at the grocery deli and Starkist Charley in a can blended with Hellman’s. But until you’ve been slapped down on the slippery wet vinyl Juvenex massage tables, vigorously scrubbed raw and bleeding with crystalline sea salt, flipped over for torturing your tender frontal regions and violently doused with buckets of scalding water by the masseuses (sorry: massage therapists) who laugh while disrespecting the last shreds of your personal agency, you don’t know how fresh-caught tuna feels. I do now. I’ll enjoy tuna even more respectfully.
So, guys, if you’re stressed and tense, instead of acting out like stupid men the woke media is finally exposing as bad and victimizing everyone in our patriarchal society, maybe get some spa. Especially Juvenex spa. You’ll be relaxed and maybe a bit disturbed, but definitely shiny clean. And you’ll never disrespect women again. You’ll be the best a man can be.
Extra tip: For a truly mind-blowing post-spa experience, spend the added $2 at the BCD Tofu House for the mushrooms in your kimchi sondoobu tofu soup with bulgogi. You’ll thank me.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.