Since last week, I’ve been pecking away on my keyboard, preparing a blog about how to deal with wedding stress. But I decided that, for now, I was tired of researching that topic and that I would like to write about something a little more topical and interesting – kind of like if you are in line at the grocery store and you have the option to read about the Federal Omnibus Spending Bill (boring!) that Congress debated or to read the latest gossip tabloid about what celebrity is breaking up with whom, which are you going to choose? Exactly.
I got to thinking about the topic of men and pedicures this weekend when I went to get a pedicure for myself, along with my wife. Now, I must admit, my recent visit to the nail salon in my neighborhood wasn’t my first. My wife has been encouraging me to get pedicures for some time now, especially since she’s a big fan of them. Like many men, I was resistant to the idea of having someone work on my feet, but I eventually capitulated and took the pedicure plunge. But it left me wondering why more men don’t get pedicures?
Let’s talk about what is involved in a pedicure. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “pedicure” as, “a trimming, polishing, etc. of the toenails.” And according to Wikipedia, people have been receiving manicures (hands) and pedicures for at least 4,000 years, when they were being performed in greater Asia and Africa (Egypt). Even the Bible makes numerous mentions of foot washing in the Book of John.
My experience in getting a pedicure has involved the following elements:
- Soaking the feet
- Cleaning the feet
- Trimming/cleaning the toenails
- Scrubbing/exfoliating feet/legs
- Secondary cleaning/rinsing feet/legs
- Hot towel massage of feet/legs
- Drying feet
- Buffing toenails
The whole process usually requires 20-40 minutes. For the most part, it is a very pleasant experience. To me, just having your feet washed and cleaned feels somewhat cathartic.
I remember the first time my wife suggested that I get a pedicure I felt a weird, gooey feeling inside myself, like someone was asking me to do something that wasn’t “man-like” (whatever that means). I guess I mean that in our society, males and females think of themselves as characters who play a role in the “theatre of life”, if you will. From the time we are born, our parents encourage us or discourage us from doing certain things; it’s ok for boys to play with trucks and girls to play with dolls, etc. As children get older, the gender role divides more and it seems ok for boys to be rough, tough and dirty; whereas girls are expected (in general) to be more refined, sensitive and attractive. Again, I realize that I’m generalizing and that these roles don’t fit everyone; I’m simply making the observation. In some ways, as we grow older and more independent, we have the option to change what our role is. So in my own small way, after being given the opportunity to make a change, I did so – albeit a small one.
I then wondered what some of my male peers thought about the subject. So I asked about 10 men that I associate with whether they have ever had a pedicure and what their opinion was on the subject. The age range of the group of guys was from around 25 to 50 years. The guys are all considered “middle-class” and all live in the Austin area. My findings were not all that surprising.
My informal poll of men on the subject of pedicures was this: 100% of those polled stated that they have never gone to a salon to get a pedicure. When asked “why?”, many men stated that they never really considered it. Some men said that they didn’t like people touching their feet or that they felt “weird” about stepping into a role that is perceived to be almost strictly the domain of the opposite sex.
My poll also coincides with what I’ve observed during the past 3-4 visits to the nail salon with my wife. Every time I’ve visited I have not observed one male receiving a pedicure and each time I’ve gotten a pedicure I was the only male in the salon. However each time I’ve visited, at least 4-5 females were visiting the salon to have pedicures/manicures performed.
Now I don’t want to make any rash judgments about men in general or the pursuit of pedicures. And I certainly cannot draw real conclusions about my informal survey, given the tiny group that I polled; I suppose this discussion is purely anecdotal. But it is very interesting to note that there does appear to be such a strong trend or tendency by males to strictly follow these cultural and sexual boundaries created by society. Something tells me that the disproportionate amount of males who appear to get pedicures, as compared to the number of females, will likely change in the future.
So why not guys – go out and get a pedicure. Feel anxious about taking the pedicure plunge alone? Take along a friend who has had a pedicure before and who knows a great place to have one performed. You never know, you might actually like the experience.