Over the past six months it’s been hard for me to find time to work out. In September, in a quite dramatic drive to break a 0-0 tie between the shirts and the skins, I tore my hamstring. Then, I was busy with my introductory course into fatherhood. Since I don’t belong to a gym or a pool, and most of my year-round fitness is done outdoors, this winter, which included the Polar Vortex and other unnamed days of frost, made athletics difficult. The ice and snow limited the number of times I laced up my running shoes, the rain and freezing temperatures reduced my days of cross-country skiing to two, and the one weekend that I snowboarded in New Hampshire provided me with little more than a nice leg burn. Continue reading
When we commute to work, let’s say, we’re not very observant. We multitask between phones and newspapers or we fidget with the radio dial and monitor our road rage. The same goes for when we walk around our neighborhoods. We’re more wrapped up with… Did you see what Bill wrote on Facebook? Did you make sure to retweet Jessica’s controversial statement? We overlook many worthwhile oddities and miss out on the myriad strange encounters that did not include us because we were occuppied. One of the reasons people experience culture shock when they travel is because they commit to being observant. In the past few months, I came across people, attire, tattoos, and the work of flawed taxidermists that made me laugh or left me befuddled. Here’s a collection of funny travel photos or images that captured the irony of our world. Continue reading
My weekend in Sunny Isles, Florida was set to be a father-son-getaway. The tourist board invited me down and asked what activities I wanted to do. My father is quite content reading the newspaper, swimming laps in the pool, and eating a good dinner. But I figured, we should do something stereotypical of a male-bonding trip. So I selected the things most guys (not us) do on a getaway, which I think includes everything from golf to deep-sea fishing.
But when we arrived at the Turnberry Isle Miami, the weather didn’t cooperate and all of our manly adventures were cancelled. Besides one paddleboarding trip through Florida’s largest urban state park, which turned out to be one of my favorite summer experiences, my father and I did a lot of lounging at our hotel’s pool, walking the mall (in search of food), and getting shuttled around Sunny Isles Beach by a lifeguard. It was feeling more like a mother-daughter weekend.
I took another look at our itinerary and saw that our schedule was at least going to include a shave. Due to my slow-growing facial hair that forms into a near perfect goatee if left alone, I had never received a straight-edge shave at a parlor before. (It’s actually quite sad. As a high school teacher, some of my own students have five o’clock shadows by the time they have me for ninth period, while I’m shaving once every two weeks.)
When my father and I arrived at the mall, the lady at Bloomingdales, who had set up our shave, informed me that her barber had gone home.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “We booked you a facial instead.”
Our mother-daughter-weekend had hit its peak.
“But–” I tried to say.
“Look, if you want to do this, you have to do it now. My beautician needs to leave in one hour.”
“And I can only accommodate one of you. Who’s it going to be: you or your father?”
My father, who had already found a comfortable chair at the coffee shop outside of Bloomingdales and had nested with his newspaper, suggested that I go.
So I walked back into Bloomingdales like a sacrificed lamb walking to the altar.
“Come this way,” said the beautician. We passed a line of women sitting at the cosmetic counter, having blush and eyeliner applied to their cheeks and eyes, respectively.
“You’re not going to do my facial here, right?”
“Oh no,” said my beautician. She took me into a back room, near the bathrooms and sat me down in a chair. “Take off your shirt and put on this blanket.”
She exited the room and left me for about five minutes. I was used to having my masseuses in Southeast Asia ask me to strip down and put on hairnet underwear. So when this beautician came back in the room and told me that she was going to remove the blanket just a bit from my chest and that I shouldn’t be alarmed, I really felt like my self-esteem had hit a whole new low.
Pop my zits, squeeze my blackheads, chafe your fingers on my poorly-grown, two-week-old goatee that I was expecting to have shaved, I thought.
But then the facial began and, I have to admit, between the scents and pressures that she applied, it was quite… lovely. It was more like a face massage that trespassed to the neck and shoulders and chest.
“So,” my father said with mockery in his voice. “How was your facial?”
And though I enjoyed my treatment–yes, we call it a treatment–it wasn’t a question that I was comfortable answering.
When Man Gets Facial
Notice the glow. (I think this is post-treatment. I may have mixed the pictures up.)
Editor’s Note: If you’re wondering how a man with an awful goatee can look somewhat appealing, it’s all about the shades. Tifosi Optics provided the lenses, which I’ve been using for the past few months for all my sporting needs, as they’re great for everything from running to volleyball. You can change out the lenses, depending on the light, and down in Florida I got to test them out during sportfishing and stand-up paddleboarding. They more than passed the test. I did, however, have to remove them for my facial. The picture below is what I looked like without my Tifosis on. (Mind you, it’s before the facial.)
It’s a strange phenomenon what happens to me whenever I cross the US/Canadian border. I’ve crossed many land borders before: 3 in Central America, 3 in South America, 3 in Asia, 1 in the Middle East, and numerous borders in Europe. Besides getting strip searched at the Peru/Chile border–I had food poisoning and darted off to use the toilet when the bus stopped, causing the agents to suspect that I was a smuggler, I guess–I’ve never had any major problems crossing borders. Continue reading
What would you do if you walked into the toilet and the bowl was sucked into the floor, so that the seat was level with the ground? All over Asia, you will find floor toilets (or if you prefer the squatty potty). Because they flush and are made of porcelain, they are not the expected third-world-country, hole-in-the-ground-toilets, even though they are just holes in the ground. Continue reading