A little proper foot pampering is just what you need before summer sandal season kicks into high gear.
I was apprehensive when I sat in the chair for my first male pedicure. It was December 2008, I was in Bombay visiting family, and a mustachioed man with skinny (but strong!) hands wheeled over a bucket of warm water and placed a buffet of tools I’d never seen before at my feet. I’d decided to tag along with my very-politically-active-on-Facebook uncle to the Precious Beauty Saloon. He had insisted to men that men in India got pedicures all the time, so it was foolish of me to assume they were only for women.
A little over half an hour later, any issues I previously had with people having to look at my toes were replaced by a newfound softness around my ankles and perfectly shaped toenails. Today, I search for that feeling every couple of months. If you are like I once was—unwoke and rough footed—you may think that pedicures aren’t for you. But here’s the truth that you, the modern man, deserves to know.
Here’s Why You Should Get a Pedicure
Be honest with yourself: When was the last time you thoroughly cleaned the area underneath your toenails? When did you last scrub the bottom of your feet to get rid of any dead skin or callouses? It’s easy to think of pedicures as a floofy spa activity—they are definitely relaxing!—you should also take into account the hygienic benefits of actually paying close attention to your feet.
If general cleanliness is not enough of a sell, maybe you fancy indulgence. Male pedicures have range. You can go in for what amounts to a basic cleaning, or you can spring for a higher-tier pedicure, and introduce your legs to milk-based creams or green tea-scented lotions. After all, you’re a working man. Don’t your poor feet, the ones that help you hustle to work, pump iron in the gym and cheat death at your standing desk—your very damn foundation—deserve the same occasional deluxe care as the rest of your body?
Here’s What to Expect of Your First Pedicure
Whether you make an appointment at the salon in your local mall or at the spa near your romantic getaway, the basics of the situation are the same: You’ll arrive, roll up your pants, and find yourself seated in a massage chair, with your feet in a tub of warm water.
Over the next 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the type of pedicure you choose), the following will happen:
1. Your nails will get clipped and shaped.
2. Any gunk hiding between your nails and skin will get painlessly removed.
3. The dead skin on bottom of your toes and feet will be scoured rid until they reach a level of softness you didn’t know existed.
4. Expect some soothing gels and lotions to be rubbed on your feet and ankles.
Most salons have pedicure options that include soothing wraps for your legs and even brief massages and if you’re feeling Jaden Smith levels of swervy, you can get your nails painted (unless you’re employed at a beach club, who’s going to see it).
Also: A pedicure will almost certainly tickle at some point. You may intermittently think you’re about to kick someone in the face. But don’t worry. Even the most ticklish people survive pedicures. (I’ve managed to avoid any incidents of assault in nearly a decade of pedicures across multiple continents).
You Should Go With Friends! (or Don’t)
Male pedicures, like most activities in life, are best shared with other people. So go to one with your mom, wife, girlfriend, Tinder date. Go with your bros, your teammates, your dad, that one co-worker you’ve always wanted to bond with. Don’t restrict yourself! A pedicure is every bit a social activity as an after-work beer or a Saturday afternoon pie run. (Note to self: See if it’s possible to bring pie to pedicure appointments.) Don’t be afraid to go alone, either. Maybe you want some time with your favorite book or you finally want to listen to Sports Illustrated’s NBA podcast. A pedicure is a perfectly fine time to enjoy what makes you tick—and since you likely won’t need more than an hour, you can conveniently tell people you’re at the gym to work out.
And finally, if you catch any heat for having the audacity to treat yourself, remember that you are the enlightened one with buttery feet and a pair of very relaxed legs. If all the people who go out of their way to mock men who get pedicures actually got one, the world would be a better place.