Thursday, April 20, 2006


I may be having the gayest week of my life.

It’s only Thursday and already I’ve enjoyed a pedicure, shoe shopping, lobster bisque, and an entire Broadway Musical. What the hell has gotten into me? I think it's healthy to be in touch with your feminine side, but I’ve been seemingly unable able to let mine go.

Last Saturday night was poker night: Nine guys playing cards and sucking down malt alcohol as if scientists had just announced it would reverse male pattern baldness. At 2:30am, I somehow managed to climb out of the hole I was in, rising from a depleted table $11 wealthier than when I sat down. It was a small, but exhilarating victory – like pulling up to a parking meter with time still left in it. Shortly after, I passed out in Steve's bright yellow baby room and my manhood has been rolling downhill ever since.

I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary on Easter Sunday, but on Monday the wheels came off. Geri and I met after work at a place called Spa Space, situated on the corner of Randolph and Canal, not far from the office. For Valentine’s Day, she’d given me a gift certificate good for a Wine & Roses Couples Pedicure, and we decided that with summer right around the corner it would be a good time to put it to use. I’d never had a pedicure before and wasn’t so sure about the idea. I’ve always been of the mind that no one really needs to see my feet, let alone touch them. Making the jump from Keds to flip-flops took me longer than most, so agreeing to a pedicure was a big step for me. And, I must say, the experience proved as enjoyable as it was foreign.

They had us both sit in big comfy leather recliners that vibrated and heated up at the touch of a button in a tiny, private suite in the back of the boutique. I remember thinking how a flat panel television running ESPN2 would have been a nice addition, but I made do with Wedding magazine. Then they had us submerge our dogs in mini Jacuzzis for a nice, relaxing soak. We were delivered glasses of red wine and served ice water garnished with cucumber slices. I’m not sure whether the cucumber was for decoration or not, but someone needs to tell them that it definitely changes the flavor of the water, and not for the better. That would have been the perfect opportunity for them to wheel in a build-your-own-nachos cart, but the hot jets in the bubbly foot bath sufficed. After several minutes, two women came into our private suite to perform the pedicures. At this point I was definitely pedicurious to find out what came next.

My pedicurist began by clipping my toenails, something I don’t do as often or as well on my own. I find if I leave them alone long enough they eventually take care of themselves one way or another. On this day they were given a precision clip job and had never been straighter. After a good trim, she proceeded to brush and scrub my feet and toes with several tools of varying abrasiveness from an Emory board to a Black & Decker power sander. I am probably kidding about the power sander – at least as far as you know. The filing process tickled and I had to concentrate very hard to avoid reflexively kicking her in the face. Then she lubed up my wheels with a sandy solution and gave me a penetrating foot rub, which sounds dirtier than it was. Following this treatment was another brief soak, after which she gave my nails a closer look – paying special attention to the one I’d smashed playing basketball months ago. Somehow, though the miracle of modern science, she was able to buff it back into something resembling a normal nail. There was no nail polish involved, but I was definitely colored impressed.

After having my lower digits detailed, I was oiled up again with another solution and rubbed down. Geri kept an eye on me throughout the procedure to gauge my comfort level, but it didn’t take long for the anxiety to subside in favor of repose. At one point she actually asked if I was snoring.

“Huh? What? No. I don’t think so. Was I? No. I couldn’t have been. Was I?”

I left Spa Space with a hoppin’ fresh set of steppers and a whole new understanding of the service. I finally realized why there are more mani-pedi boutiques in Chicago than Starbucks locations. Nail salons and spa care joints provide relaxing ways for girls to pamper themselves while in between haircuts. I must admit, it was an enjoyable experience that I would never have given myself – which made it a fantastic gift idea. I can’t say that I’d ever spend my own money on cosmetic foot care, but am glad for having had the opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.

On Tuesday, I rode the momentum of my toe-tally enlightening experience over to DSW to shop for shoes. I figured since my toes were (for once) presentable, it would be a good time to try on some summer sandals. At no time did it occur to me that my masculinity was being compromised. This consideration didn’t dawn on me until last night, about half way through Act II of the Broadway musical Spamalot, as I found myself whistling along to one of the show’s signature numbers. Yes...I’d completely let go of my manhood in favor of fancy footwear and over-produced showtunes. And I was enjoying every second of it!

And I'm also not embarrassed to endorse Spamalot. The genius of the show is that the producers took something for boys (Monty Python) and made it something for girls (a musical). The result was a hilarious spoof of musicals that had cross-gender appeal. Indeed, the audience was roaring from start to finish. It was a fabulous way to spend an evening! Did I just say fabulous? My T-levels must be dropping fast...

With football season still 4 months away, I’m worried I may need to undergo Male Replacement Therapy. If I start talking about getting highlights for my hair, please check me into an off-track betting parlor and put me on a pork drip. And even if you have to fight me for it, I authorize you to take away my purse, even if I insist on calling it a “man bag.”

And now if you’ll excuse me, it’s tea time.

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