The Club House in New York‘s Upper East Side looks more like a gentleman’s lounge than a clinic, with dark walls, leather sofas, heaps of red velvet, bottles of whiskey, and a life-sized naked photo of Alessandra Ambrosio on the wall.
But according to its founder Dr Norman Rowe, this ‘ambiance of machismo’ is key to filling a gaping hole in the market for plastic surgery: a place for men to feel comfortable.
For too long, he complains, clinics have been ‘geared towards women’ with ‘orchids and white walls and beautiful scenery’.
‘Now men want a piece of the pie,’ he explained to Daily Mail Online on Wednesday, two weeks after opening the all-male clinic which offers everything from penis augmentation (one of Dr Rowe’s specialties) to man boob sculpting.
A ‘man’s place’: The Club House is a men’s only clinic for plastic surgery in New York
The walls are decked with photography including a naked photo of Alessandra Ambrosio
He insists that men are under the same societal pressures as women to get cosmetic surgery ‘to stay relevant’, but they don’t feel ‘a sense of equality’.
‘A lot of men, they just don’t feel comfortable when they call up and they’re talking to a girl about their penis augmentation,’ Dr Rowe explained.
‘We do a lot of Botox – or “Brotox”, for lack of a better word,’ Dr Norman Rowe said
‘In an era where everyone wants equality and there’s such an emphasis on cosmetic, I can’t believe this kind of place doesn’t already exist.
‘In the last five, 10, 20 years everything has been geared towards women and I want to change that.
‘I thought, “I wonder if we could get an all-male place?” So we renovated the space and made it a little bit more masculine.’
In terms of demand, he is not wrong: year after year, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons documents rocketing rates of men undergoing both invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures.
Dr Rowe says he saw this spike in interest shoot up after the market crash of 2008, when ‘all these men came into my clinic with their severance checks to get liposuction and Botox because they were hitting the job market again.’
Dr Norman Rowe, the founder, said he wanted the place to feel like a golf club for men
The clinic offers everything from ‘Brotox’ to hair plugs to penis augmentation
‘I FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE’: A PATIENT AT DR ROWE’S CLUB HOUSE ON WHY HE CHOSE TO GO
Marom Unger, a restaurant owner in the Upper East Side, gets Botox injections under his armpits to treat a severe case of body odor.
After seeing Dr Rowe for a few years, he is practically cured.
But his journey to get there, pre-Club House, was uncomfortable and embarrassing.
‘It’s quite uncomfortable going into the clinic, especially on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where I have my businesses, going in for the procedure I need to get,’ Unger told Daily Mail Online.
‘You get to the front desk and there’s a pretty lady behind the register taking my credit card for payment… it’s something that makes me feel very nervous.
‘Once the procedure is done it’s great and I’m very grateful but I guess it’s a psychological thing for me, I just get embarrassed.’
In contrast, he said, being with Dr Rowe felt like being with ‘one of the guys’. It’s ‘less judgmental’, he says.
Unger concedes that the idea of men being under-served chalks with most other conversations about gender equality these days.
But he puts it another way: ‘It’s about privacy. There’s a reason why there’s a men’s locker room and a women’s locker room when you go to the gym.’