I’m Still a Man, Right?

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I’m going to tell you something, but you have to promise not to tell anyone, OK?

I went for a pedicure.

There, I said it.

I was telling my wife how gnarly my feet were lately with calluses and such. They felt dry and rough, and I didn’t know what to do about them.

“Let’s get a pedicure,” she said innocently. She was planning to get her toenails painted and told me they do an excellent job scrubbing her feet, clipping her toenails and soothing them.

Unlike a foot massage at “Happy Feet,” they weren’t going to gently massage my feet and lower extremities while I listened to new age music in headphones with a warm, eucalyptus mask over my face. They were going to file the bottom of my feet like a piece of plywood that didn’t quite fit.

Ok, that was an exaggeration. But it turned out not to be far from the truth.

“Royal Nails and Spa” is a beautiful new establishment in the Massapequa Shoprite shopping center, in the building that used to be a Dollar Store. Upon arriving, I noticed there were no signs welcoming men as customers. Every picture, inside and out, showed beautiful women and their beautiful feet and hands. Why any of them were getting treatment was beyond me.

The expansive inside is beautifully done with many reclining chairs for foot customers as you walk in. To your left, is a rainbow of tiny, colored bottles of nail polish to choose from. The funny thing is I didn’t notice a cigar counter for the men.

We were seated in comfortable, black leather reclining chairs with neck and back massage. As a neophyte, I was unsure of the proper procedure, so I took my cues from my wife. I removed my shoes and socks and got a good look at my feet in the bright lights. Suffice to say; they didn’t look anything like the pictures of feet surrounding me. My nails were uneven, and my heels and ankles were rough.

A charming woman, who I expected to run screaming once she saw my tootsies, smiled and placed lotion on my calves. She gently placed my feet in soothing, warm water. This was going to be all right.

Little did I know the torture was about to begin.

After tenderly clipping my toenails, she grabbed a small file and began “shaping” them like she was whittling a bear out of a piece of tree bark. She proceeded to scrape each nail as if she were cleaning the bottom of a pie pan stuck with a burnt-on apple. While she dug into my cuticles and removed any offending skin, I could only think of why I hated going to the dentist.

Just when I thought the torture was over, she reached into her bag of tricks, pulling out a huge file. She began scraping the bottom of my feet like she was playing the violin. The pain was mixed with laughter as my tickle reflex struggled with my “kick-her-in-the-face” reflex.

I snuck a peek at my wife in the chair next to me and could see she was quietly chuckling at me through her mask. She later told me that she wished she had taken a picture of my face as I went through the treatment. Apparently, after almost 40 years of marriage, I still manage to make her laugh.

When I got home, the first thing I did was take off my shoes and check my socks for blood. I thought for sure it was going to be a mess down there. But to my surprise, my feet looked—dare I say—beautiful. I’ve never seen my nails look so perfectly rounded and my feet so pink and rosy.

To be honest, I look forward to my next appointment.

But remember, you promised to keep this just between us, right?

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