Thursday, 18 October 2012

Neighbourhood Alert: Do you know where your bar is?

In case you haven’t noticed, neighbourhood bars are changing. You used to go there to get sloshed and, depending on your orientation, hitting on someone of the same/opposite sex. Maybe those places are still around. If so, they should be marked with flashing neon signs YE OLDE BAR so you don’t accidentally fall into the hands of unscrupulous personal grooming bar operators.

I first sensed the danger twelve years ago when I lived in L.A. and a colleague looked at my sandaled feet and said, with pity in her voice: Oh. You do your own toenails?

Until that point I naively associated bars with pleasure. Then I noticed them: the juice bars, the mani/pedi bars, the brow bars, the wax bars, the botox bars.

The old-style bars had the decency of keeping their walls solid and their lighting low, but these new establishments have no shame. They sport floor to ceiling plate glass windows. They brazenly show off their sordid practices. They play to the voyeur, invite you to catch clients in the act, with their fingers splayed and their feet soaking in pomegranate and lime while Asian slaves, tortured by piped-in cheesy rock, cower before them and labour away at their primp jobs.

It’s a billion dollar industry, ranging right below mortgage payments on some people’s budget. And what do you get for your money? After schlepping from one bar to the next and emerging, finally, hairless, buffed, and shiny, you no longer have the energy to show your body off at YE OLDE BAR. And even if you do, there’s no payback. In the dim lighting your expensive new body looks just like the old one. Plus, your hangover will be unbearable. Your botoxed face won’t allow you to contract your brows or twist your lips sufficiently to let out a good groan, and what’s a morning after without a good moaning and groaning?

It’s time to organize and put pressure on local politicians. Demand clear and prominent warning labels on the new-style bars, something like the screed on cigarette packs: The Surgeon General has determined that too much grooming is detrimental to your fun and may lead to the eradication of sinful pleasures. Need help to quit? Write to www.gospafree or leave a comment on this blog.

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