Beauty Day started when I was a young twenty-something who moved into a house with four gay men. Beauty Day was the day after hell broke loose and it was a definite need after the weekend of fun we all had.
I lived in a three-bedroom house with three other guys: Tim, Marshall, and Mike. Tim and I shared a bedroom and my rent was $125 a month. My roommate, Tim, and I looked very much alike, so I used to use his ID to get into Club St. John in downtown San Jose.
260 Richfield was a "known address" in the San Jose bar scene, by the gays and the cops. We were the hosts of many after hour’s parties. I was only 20, but that didn't stop me from the fun of being young, cute, and gay!
We'd go to the bar, dance and drink, and soon you'd hear other people say, "260 Richfield After Hours!" Tim had started spreading the word. There were times when I would be home in bed when the phone would ring. I would sleepily answer it knowing it would be Tim calling from the bar's payphone to tell me that we were having an afterhour’s party. I'd get up, clean up the kitchen and bathroom, vacuum the living room, and hide things that could easily be stolen.
Guys would pour into the house as easily as vodka poured into glasses. There was music, there was laughter, there was lots of drinking, and there was always a hook up opportunity. If I had to work my retail store job the next morning, I wouldn't join the fun. I would go back to bed. Many times, I'd be beckoned awake by Tim, who would sit beside my twin bed and tell me about how fun the bar was, how many cute guys were at the house, and hand me a drink. Naturally, I would sit up, hear the stories, and sip the drink until I was feeling warm, buzzed, and ready to hit the living room.
Eventually, I would end up back in my bed. Either alone, or with someone else (I mean, c'mon, I was 20 after all). Sometimes, Tim and I would spoon and talk afterward and tell stories and laugh about the evening's antics. A few times, we'd have sex. It was a "roommate with benefits" relationship.
One time, I got so stoned and paranoid that I thought I was going to die. I imagined that people were at my bedroom window telling me how much they would miss me, what a good friend I was, how they would always remember me. I called my boyfriend, John, and he understandably freaked out. He drove his scooter all the way from San Francisco to San Jose in the middle of the night to "rescue" me. By the time he got there, my paranoia had faded into giggles. What a mess!
Most times, these afterhours’ parties would go until the wee hours of the morning. Bars in California close at 2:00am, and we go until 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning. If I weren’t working, I would sleep until 11:00 or noon the next day, at which point we'd all get up and clean the house. Gather bottles, deep clean the bathroom, mop the stick off the kitchen floor, take out the trash, change sheets, etc. And all this with some of the worst hangovers ever!
That's when Beauty Day started. Head pounding, house clean and KKSF on the radio. A long, hot shower and many different kinds of hair and skin products to use. A house of gay men in the early nineties was like living in the Clinique and Halston counters at Macy's. There were always new soaps, shampoos, creams, toners, or elixirs to try. And when I say "try" I mean try to cover the bags, the hangover skin, the smell of booze emanating from pores, the bloodshot and weary eyes, the beard burn (if it was a lucky night).
Fast forward to today, and most parts of Beauty Day remain intact. Many elements are long gone, kind of like my virginity. First, the hangovers no longer exist since I don't drink or drug anymore. I am typically awake no later than 8:30am on a weekend day, and I can barely stay awake to watch Saturday Night Live, let alone be out dancing or fucking until 6:00am.
Now Beauty Day is time to regroup and take care of myself. I always have clean sheets on the bed on Beauty Day, and I prefer that my dog be clean and bathed either on or before Beauty Day. I like the house to be clean and the rugs to be vacuumed.
I take a long, hot bath. Bubbles, Epsom salts, sometimes dried lavender crushed in. I soak for at least an hour and keep filling the tub with hot water once it starts draining on its own. I pumice my feet within an inch of their life. I dunk my head under the sudsy water. I shampoo my hair and dip into the water to rinse it. I loofah my entire body. I wash my face with my glycolic face scrub at least twice to exfoliate and open my pores. I manscape when needed, which entails shaving off the five or six hairs that grow on my chest. Sometimes, I get a little more "industrious," if you know what I mean....
Then, I drain the tub and take a shower. I rinse any residue off and re-wash my entire body. I dry off and Beauty Day continues. I towel dry my hair and leave it clean and natural, no product. I clip my fingernails and toenails. I trim my nose hair, pluck errant hairs growing from my ears, trim my eyebrows and facial hair. I slather lotion on my feet, my legs, my torso, my ass, my arms, and my hands. I layer on glycolic face cream in a vain attempt to rid myself of the fine lines that appear around my eyes. I floss hard and deep and enjoy brushing my teeth for a longer-than-normal time. I brush them twice in row on Beauty Day, "once for clean and once for polish." I apply a generous amount of lip balm, because without it, I feel completely naked.
I put on boxers and a t-shirt, crawl into the clean sheets of my bed and heave a sigh of relief.
It's my treat for me. It's my time for me. I am clean. I am refreshed. I am relaxed. I am beautiful. And, while the errant hairs on my ears increase, the fine lines deepen, and Madonna's hands sometimes appear at the end of my wrists, Beauty Day always makes me feel better inside and out, even if it can't make me 20 again.