Once, it was just the hairdresser or the barber. Now it's brow bars, nail bars and, of course, massage parlours for all those bad backs.

EYEBROWS: They’re big business these days

It was easy when I was a kid in Mount Merrion. If you wanted a haircut, you went to Baumann’s in Stillorgan.

They’re still there I’m told though the need for me to visit has long passed.

But I was looking around as I motored around through slow traffic in Dublin the other day.

Within, I’d say, less than two kilometres (or just over a mile as we called it then) I counted six hairdressers. Six. They were mostly unisex – which can be quite complicated these days – and of various ethnicities.

I mean, Baumann’s catered for Mount Merrion, Stillorgan, Priory and some of Kilmacud I don’t doubt.

Now, one tiny area needs six, though I suppose looking at some of the ridiculous haircuts around I’m not surprised.

And when you think of it, back in the sixties we didn’t do haircuts much at all.

But it’s not just hair.

Nail bars. There are at least three of them within a walk from where I live. Not to mention brow bars. 

And then there’s beauty parlours where young ladies and men and others get facials and waxing and God knows what else.

Until they go up the road where they get facials and foot spas and maybe some tanning.

Mind you, the biggest upsurge seems to be in massage parlours.

This, I am told, is because Irish men – it does seem to be men in the main who frequent these parlours – suffer such terrible back strain these days.

It has to be back pain, doesn’t it? I mean why else would all those men go to massage parlours?

I notice that many of these massage parlours are Thai in origin. And I have to admit that when I visited Bangkok many years ago there were indeed, many many massage parlours in evidence there.

Do you think the treatment those men receive in massage parlours is covered by medical cards or health insurance?

Me neither.

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