Waxing the (Rose) City

For Joy O'Meara and Humberto Wispe, opening Waxing the City in Madison a little over a year ago was and easy decision. The space, near the corner of Main Street and Green Village Road, was a perfect central location for their urban, spa-like store. "We wanted to make it a comfortable place for both men and women to come and get a wax,"said O'Meara, a trim young woman with flowing purple locks and a stylishly draped top.

The space, most recently part of Blue Ridge Mountain sports (and rumored to have been a bridal shop and maybe part of a theater before that) is comfortable and clean, with the franchise's signature grey and orange graphics blending beautifully with architectural touches like an exposed brick wall.


O'Meara and Wispe live in Florham park, and were looking for a business opportunity closer to home than her job as a book designer at Simon & Schuster. They met back in high school in Union City, and are both familiar with waxing, especially Humby, as O'Meara endearingly refers to her husband, spent over 20 years in Miami.

"There it's a lifestyle," said Wispe, who owes his hair-free back and, I'm guessing, impressively natural but clean brows, to waxing. "There's always t-shirts and beach parties and barbecues."

Even in Madison, where we mix in some winter coats and Christmas Tree lighting ceremonies with those other, body baring events, there are plenty of reasons to get a wax. Women are more likely to include a waxing as part of their beauty regimen. For men, who often come in with their female partner, a wax is a good thing.

"Remember that movie 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin'?" asks O'Meara, referring to the Steve Carrell comedy that featured a painful waxing experience for its leading man. "No bueno! That's actually, really, not the way it is!"

"We have guys that come in here to get a back wax, and they need it," said Wispe. "And they fall asleep."

I don't know about falling asleep, but I can tell you that waxing here is a relaxing experience.


O'Meara was nice enough to book me a little time with Gabi Vasconcelos, one of the shop's 3 cerologists (it means waxing specialist). Vasconcelos looked at my eyebrows and we talked about what I want from them -- more natural than dramatic in my case. She did a little bit of waxing with a hard wax -- which I have to admit was so gentle I inwardly doubted the hair was actually being removed (it was). She tweezed a bit and then she tinted my brows, you guys! In the car later my 13 year old daughter said "Your brows look FABULOUS! What did you do?"

We had a long discussion later about whether one could die their eyebrows the outside-of-nature shades that have become popular of late. It made me think we've got to head back to O'Meara and her purple hair and see what she thinks.