John Fountain sheds his Harley-Davidson boots for a pedicure at south suburban Hong Kong Nails.
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:44AM
At 51, I was still just a virgin. A man. Looking for my first pedi.
It was my secret mission on Wednesday morning, one I dared not let the guys at “the roundtable”— my morning coffee drinking crew — in on.
Securing my Harley, and with helmet in tow, I crept discreetly into the south suburban Hong Kong Nails for my 10:30 a.m. appointment, into a water-swirling, lime-green-walled world of nail care heaven.
My interest was piqued by a cousin’s photo on Facebook. A bald muscular brother — a man’s man — he had the audacity to post a picture of his “pretty” feet. Freshly pedicured, Cousin Lee showed off his clear polished toes. I literally laughed out loud, then fired off a gentle brotherly rebuke over his twinkle toes.
“Dude, cuz, Lee, man, dawg . . . Wassup? Posting your manicured feet! Awww, man. I’m scared of that!”
My cousin responded, “No shame in my game. I got to take care of me . . . from head to toe. . . . I’m trying to show these brothers that nice feet are appreciated, ha-ha.”
I have to admit I have never been into feet. Not mine. Certainly not anyone else’s, even if I can appreciate the absence of bunions or dragon toenails on a sister in a pair of toe-out heels.
Having my fingernails clipped, shaped and polished infringes less on my sense of male cultural acceptableness. But making my feet dainty?
A quick Internet search turned up reports that guys like Dwyane Wade and Tim Tebow regularly get pedicures. Then I stumbled across the American Podiatric Medical Association website and a plethora of information, including the value of pedicures and a list of “pedicure pointers.” I discovered on Google a host of listings under “real men get pedicures.”
So, wearing my motorcycle gear — black skullcap and metal-accented boots — I cross the threshold into Hong Kong Nails. I am motioned to the back by a smiling technician named Mai, and still feeling a bit uneasy until in walks another brother — a big guy, about six feet tall, like me, and who it turns out is here for the same reason.
“If I’m going out of town, I’ll do it. . . .It might be twice a year,” said Cordell Robinson, 40, who helps run his family’s business, Robinson’s Ribs.
“I’m on my feet a lot and my toes are pretty raw,” he tells me as we soaked our feet in swirling blue waters while sitting in big electronic massage chairs. Separate soakers, of course, and at least a chair apart!
“It’s a treat,” adds Robinson, who says he got his first pedicure 12 years ago.
“You never had it done?” he asks.
“Are you serious?” Sonya, the technician who is doing Robinson’s pedicure, asks in disbelief. “You are missing out.”
I silently admit to myself that even with my male ego hang-ups, I could come to like all this frilly fuss: the exfoliating scrub, the clipping, trimming and rubbing, the soaking of my feet, the gentle twirling of my toes, and the heel and arch massage that transport me to a near state of metrosexual bliss.
“So how was it?” Sonya asks after my mani and pedi are all done.
“Uh, it was all right,” I say, hiding my euphoria. “Nah, it was great,” I admit.
Great, uh, except for having to walk gingerly to the manicure table wearing blue flip-flops with white sponge thingies between my toes.
“You’ll be back,” a female patron remarks, laughing as she pats me on the shoulder.
Me? Never. No way. Uh-uh. Not in a million years, LOL!
But I just might post my twinkle toes on Facebook.