Prefab Housing Approaches Modern Art

January 9th, 2008

Vacant Lot adjacent to the MoMA where the five houses will be installed courtesy of the New York Times

Prefab houses—structures assembled largely off site and then delivered— have become the challenge trend at architectural schools and the Museum of Modern Art has commissioned five architects to confront the trial head on. Each architectural team approaches the structure differently, both conceptually and spatially, by addressing social and environmental needs through texture, materials, and efficiency. The exhibition, “Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling,” will open in July offering both tours of the structures as well as an extensive supplementary exhibit inside of the museum.

New York Times

MANSCAPING ; Popular makeover shows help convince men to tackle hairy problem areas

Portland Press Herald (Portland, ME) March 28, 2004 | RAY ROUTHIER Staff Writer RAY ROUTHIER Staff Writer Portland Press Herald (Maine) 03-28-2004 MANSCAPING ; Popular makeover shows help convince men to tackle hairy problem areas Byline: RAY ROUTHIER Staff Writer Edition: FINAL Section: Maine Life Column: Trends Memo: ‘MANSCAPING’ “Manscaping” is a term made popular by makeover experts on the hit TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and is defined as “the art and science of keeping your body hair under control.” The term covers trimming and/or shaping hair in the nose, ears, eyebrows and on the chest. For more information on the show, which airs at various times on the Bravo cable channel, go online at TAMING TIPS One reason men don’t always trim and tame their body hair is they don’t know how. Here are some tips on how to care for high-growth areas. EYEBROWS To trim, comb the brows straight up until the hair under the comb is the desired thickness. Then, using the comb as a guide, take a good pair of personal grooming sheers and cut off the hair above the comb. For removing hair between the eyebrows, either have a professional waxing done or get a good pair of tweezers from a beauty supply store. EARS Using an electric nose and ear trimmer, a beard trimmer, or scissors, simply lop off the hair that is sticking out of the ear. NOSE Same as for the ears, basically. Remember, the hair is there to act as a filter, so leave some inside the nose or ear. Also remember that nose and ear hair grows faster as men get near or into their 40s, because of hormonal changes in the body. CHEST Hairy chests can be trimmed with an electric hair trimmer, the kind most people use for home haircuts. If you want to leave a decent amount of hair, run the clipper “with the grain” of the hair, or in the direction the hair grows. If you want to get almost down to the skin, trim “against the grain” of the hair. BACKS, ARMS Best left to a professional hair waxer at your local salon or spa. THE MANSCAPER’S TOOLBOX Here are few of the trimmers on the market designed to let men have a little more control over problem areas. Trimmers may be better for nose and ears basically because they are less dangerous than scissors in those sensitive places. Wet/Dry Nose and Ear Trimmer and Hair Groomer by Panasonic – Retail price, about $19.99. This can be used in the shower, and can be used for ears, nose, sideburns, etc. Precision Nose and Ear Trimmer by Remington – Retail price, about $14.99. Smaller trimming head for tight spaces. Precision Deluxe Grooming Travel Kit by Remington – Retail price, about $17.99. Comes with guide combs for eight trimming lengths, neckline and sideburn attachments. web site beard trimmer

Sometimes we just don’t deal with an unseemly problem until there’s a bright and bouncy name for it. Such is the case with “manscaping.”

Sounds like it could be a term for bodybuilding or muscle sculpting, something like that. But its real definition – as devotees of the makeover show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” will tell you – is the maintenance and control of male body hair.

Yuck, most of you will say now.

But if you’ve spent any time with a male over 35, you know this is a very real issue. All of a sudden, it seems, hair is sprouting from his nose, from his ears, from between his eyebrows. What used to be a fairly innocuous patch of chest hair brims from his shirt.

Men for the longest time simply lived with these, uh, growth areas. Especially here in Maine, home of the plaid flannel shirt and work boots augmented with duct tape. Men chalked up the surplus hair to “manly maturity,” even though hormonal changes are the scientific cause of all that extra hair. (It’s supposed to peak in a man’s fifties, then taper off. Whew.)

Lately, the popularity of “Queer Eye” and other makeover/style shows have been slowly helping to convince men in Maine of the need for a little manscaping. If they have a woman in their life, men become aware of the need a lot quicker.

“I think it’s just good grooming. Men are just feeling more like they want to be aesthetically pleasing for their wives or girlfriends. Women have been doing this all along. Now they’re getting us back and saying ‘You do the same thing,’ ” said Jean- Claude Poulin of Jean-Claude Hair and Skin Care in Portland.

“I had one guy come in because his 5-year-old daughter saw him mowing the lawn without a shirt, saw his hairy back, and said ‘That’s gross.’ “

The growth of manscaping can be seen in the host of “nose trimmers” and “ear trimmers” on shelves at Best Buy and other stores. There are also a wide range of clippers with attachments that can be used for the neck, the chest, or between the eyes.

For men who want that impeccably clean look, there are salons and spas around Maine that will do male waxing. Women have waxed for years, but now men who want completely hairless backs, chests, arms or legs have places to go for the painful process as well.

Talk about gender equity.

“We’re just living in a different age and men care more about how they look,” said Alanna York, owner of Head Games Salon for Hair and Body in Portland. “Ten years ago a guy might not have cared about (body hair), but now guys care.”

One guy who cares is Jerry Shaw, a 33-year-old commercial lender from Portland.

“As you get older, you get hairier,” said Shaw. “It’s not like I’m a man-beast, but I have patches (on his back). I just like to look clean. I’ve always been big on grooming.”

Shaw takes care of nose and ear and facial hair at home with “a good pair of clippers and good tweezers, which make all the difference.”

But for his back, where he says he has unruly patches, he gets periodic waxings from wax specialist Amy Loose at Head Games. Loose applies warm wax with a sort of roll-on deodorant container. Then she applies a strip of material, like felt, and pulls the wax and hair off.

“It’s so painful, men don’t have a reference point for how much it will hurt, but women do,” said Loose, who has been waxing for about seven years. “Men are stoic, so they don’t say anything.”

The process lasts about 15 minutes and costs about $50 for an entire chest or back, depending on how hairy a guy we’re talking about. To keep the back, or chest, clean for a whole summer, a man would probably have to repeat the process every month or six weeks, depending again on hairiness.

A lot of the waxing customers at Head Games are younger men, under 25, but men of all ages can be found manscaping.

Rich Lawler of Falmouth, who describes himself as “over 55,” is a former teacher who has been getting his back waxed for about 10 years. He said he likes to feel clean in the summer when swimming or working in the yard.

“I just like the smooth, clean feel,” said Lawler.

Poulin, at Jean-Claude Hair and Skin Care, is a pioneer of sorts in male waxing. He’s been doing it in Portland since 1983, when he read about it in an Australian men’s magazine.

It wasn’t really a booming business for him until the mid-1990s, when young men started baring chests and backs as a favored look. The business has been steadily climbing ever since.

He has a cross-section of people, from bodybuilder-types to business people. Poulin charges $40 to $45 to wax an entire back. “I have a retired Irish cop from Boston who drives up here (for waxing).”

Besides waxing, Poulin will also “sculpt” chest hair at his salon. He’ll design a chest hair pattern that’s flattering to the man’s body type, and then trim it into reality.

“Most men have a fuller waist line, so I’ll leave enough chest hair to create a line and make the belly look thinner,” said Poulin.

York, at Head Games, says many of her haircut customers ask for tips about taking care of other hairy areas, including the back of the neck and eyebrows. But while York is cutting a man’s hair, she’ll often trim areas the man isn’t expecting.

“If I see hair from the ear, I’ll trim it right off and the man will say ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ ” said York. “A lot of times they have no idea it’s there.” web site beard trimmer

York said many of her customers are more comfortable asking for manscaping-type advice now than they were several years ago. She says that’s partly because of all the media attention on men’s style, fashion and grooming.

The trendy idea of the “metrosexual” – an urban straight man who enjoys spending money on fashion and grooming – has helped to lend a playful tone to the idea.

But nobody has been bigger cheerleaders for men’s grooming than the five gay lifestyle experts who star on the Bravo cable channel’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” The show debuted last summer and became an instant hit, adding new words to the popular lexicon every week.

In each show, the five descend upon some straight guy in need of fashion and style help, and give him a new wardrobe, new home furnishings, and hopefully, an educated sense of style.

The “Fab 5,” as they’re called, introduced the concept of manscaping by helping some of the more hairy guys tame their body hair.

The show has even spawned a book, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab 5’s Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better and Living Better.” There’s an entire section in the book dedicated to manscaping.

Still the concept of male body hair grooming got here to Maine a little late. But right now, local salons say, it’s growing. (Just like that nose hair, right?)

“It took a little longer to get to Maine, but there’s definitely a market for it here,” said York, of Head Games. “It makes sense. Every man with a unibrow should wax it. Every man should have a good pair of personal grooming sheers.”

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:


Caption: Staff photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette Above: Wax specialist Amy Loose waxes hair from a client’s back at Head Games Salon for Hair and Body in Portland. Left: A manscaping tool – clippers. Aesthetician Amy Loose waxes hair from the back of a client at Head Games Salon for Hair and Body in Portland. Salons and spas around Maine do male waxing. Women have waxed for years, but now men who want hairless backs, chests, arms or legs seek out the process as well.