Fella. My man. Can I share something with you? I wish there was some way to maintain the dolphin-like sheen of my skin without getting sharp objects near my goolies. I am also uncomfortable visiting hair management strategists; most are women, working in spas and clinics which cater to women. Wonder if that has anything to do with the constant, disproportionate pressure on women to keep hair strictly limited to the top of the head and maybe above the eyes. Many men have resorted to shaving with the same razor I — uh, I mean they — use for my — uh, their — morning shave. Not good. Brothers, if you'd like to keep yourself baby-smooth, there's a quiet, low-key little salon behind Jing'an Temple that could be your thing.
JSquared is a two-room operation running out of a quiet lane off Wanhangdu Lu. Established explicitly as a guys-only, queer-friendly space, the technicians are all male, and there is only space for one client at a time. Everything tailored to soothe that fragile male ego. A technician walks you through a powerpoint presentation, explaining the process, the dynamic freezing technology (healthier than waxing, faster than other laser epilation due to its 12x12mm grid), and the "schedule" for permanent hair removal. Once your questions are answered, it's on to the treatment room, where the technician cleans the target area, applies a gel, and rubs what looks like a showerhead across your skin. The machine targets the root of the follicle, freezing it and limiting future growth. It manifests as a light prickling sensation. The technician goes carefully and methodically, constantly checking in to adjust the intensity. Getting my chest done took a little over half an hour. Factors like a larger target area, such as the back, means it could take longer. After one session, the hair did grow back (though noticeable lighter and thinner). JSquared does not magically make the hair disappear after one time; it takes five sessions, 28 days apart, for the hair removal to be "permanent" — in reality it'll last a couple of years. Once you've completed five sessions, they'll provide free hair removal service for one year. It can seem a little pricy. One session on one body part costs 298rmb, and you'll likely end up needing to pay double that for a noticeable area: for example, the chest area doesn't include the nipples, and pubic hair doesn't include the groin. Getting a five-session "course" done on one area costs 1,400rmb; a five-session course on any six parts costs 5,800rmb. If you want to get your whole body done (excluding the top of your head and above the eyes), it'll cost you 16,000rmb. To offset this admittedly high cost, they don't have memberships like a lot of other salons do. If you need a bikini wax for the weekend pool party, pronto, JSquared might not be your choice. But, mans, if you find that your out of control body hair is a consistent problem, this is a good long-term investment; the machinery is top-notch, and the technicians are friendly and understand that this might be a new experience for some men. And it's a gajillion times better than shaving with the razor you use on your face. * JSquared is located at Lane 140 Wanhangdu Lu, near Beijing Xi Lu / 万航渡路140弄, 近北京西路. Call ahead for an appointment.