The wafting scent of potpourri is not, perhaps, a man-magnet. But men love a good doting-on as much as the ladies do, and many spas are trading the flowers for flat-screen TVs to show men that "pampered" doesn't mean "girlie."
Spas calling themselves unisex have toned down the goddess vibe in terms of décor and accoutrements, opting for "modern and sparse" or "warm and neutral" -- anything simultaneously posh and gender-neutral. Other spas have gone all the way to the all-men extreme and might as well have a "No Girls Allowed" sign on the door, sporting TVs set on sports and money channels, leather chairs, cigar lounges and fully stocked bars.
There are spas that have billiard tables, spas where a shot of hard liquor accompanies the back-wax package, spas where you walk into the "locker room" to find buckets of ice-cold beer. The American Male spa chain features sports-memorabilia décor, and the Nickel Spa in Manhattan looks like the inside of a sub (and calls laser hair removal and wrinkle-reduction "Tech Treatments").
Catering to the man's man is paying off, with new men's spas popping up wherever there are men willing to break the taboo -- which in many cases has already been accomplished via an insisted-upon Valentine's couple's package. Men who would have never set foot in a spa on their own, dragged in by a wife or girlfriend against their will, have found out they like it and, with the rise of the men-only spa, that it can be as much a manly endeavor as a workout or a trip to the barber.
Metropolitan cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas are prime locations to find some good male pampering. But with the increasing focus on stress relief for health (some health insurance plans cover massage) and the spreading metrosexual revolution, before we know it, men's spas could be dotting the heartland like so many windmills. Cowboys need clear pores, too.
For more information on men's spas, including how to find the right one for you or your guy, check out the links on the next page.