I can’t believe that I’m 36 years old and it took me until the last month to realize that women are totally holding out on men. I’m not unaware that there are differences between the circumstances of the sexes. I know there are disadvantages to femaledom: the glass ceiling in professional life; bearing children; menstruation; crying over everything. At the same time, there are known advantages to being a woman: you’re allowed to cry at everything, and you can carry a purse. Men can’t carry everything they need around with them in a nice, neat bag – it gets called a purse, and you get called a metrosexual (at best).
Women are keeping secrets, though. Among my recent discoveries:
Bath salts. I got a jar of bath salts for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I’ve already accepted that taking baths is not macho, but it’s a brief respite from my day and the only time I can really focus on a book without paying attention to a chirping blackberry. But salts? Holy cow, those feel good. Alison was thoughtful enough to include a bottle of bubble bath in my birthday package, but I confess I haven’t gathered my skirt high enough to try that one yet.
Pedicure. My sister got married a month ago down in Richmond, so Alison and I went down the day before for the rehearsal. Since Alison hadn’t had time to get a pedicure, I scheduled her one at a local salon; since I didn’t feel like just sitting there pretending interest in a magazine, I signed up for one too.
Did you know that “pedicure” is a code word for “massage”? So for my male brethren, here’s the deal: you go in and get barefoot, roll up your pants, and they sit you in a Sharper Image-type chair that massages your back while you soak your feet in warm, bubbling water. Then someone takes your feet one at a time and cuts/trims the nails, dremmels the tops of the nails to remove cracks, scrubs any rough patches down, and if you’re a woman (I suppose) you get a coat of polish. But they spend at least half the time you’re in the chair rubbing your feet, shins and calves. Once I got over the discomfort of having someone work on my feet, I realized that I was pissed women have been keeping this from us. The footrub crossed my eyes a couple of times.
Girly drinks. Alison has a taste for Arnold Palmers, which is a combination of Firefly hard iced tea and lemonade. It’s never going to move me off my scotch and dark beers, but on a warm afternoon in Dupont circle, gentle mixed drinks are perfect both for quenching your thirst and for hiding in the open in water bottles.
Not to worry, friends. I’m not going over to the dark side and I’ll never start carrying a man-pouch. I prefer to think of it as scouting the other side’s secret weapons in the neverending battle of the sexes (curiosity prompts me to wonder whether Alison will be shunned for gender treason). Does that make me Mata Hari? I don’t think so, unless the pedicures become a regular thing.