In Defence of: The Mani-Pedi
Despite Deputy Editor Matt Pomroy’s diatribe lampooning the rise of the male manicure a few months ago, we like to try and play devil’s advocate here at Esquire – adopting a ‘don’t knock it till you’ve tried it’ mind set, if you will.
As such, we recently sent our Digital Editor, Tom Norton off to try this most metrosexual of male pampering pursuits, booking him in for the new Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio by Bastien Gonzalez at the One & Only spa on Dubai’s Palm.
Here’s how he got on.
Well, things have got off to a good start. I’m being transported over to the Palm by boat from the One & Only’s adjacent resort in Dubai’s marina. Though I wish I’d mumbled something more manly sounding than “spa review” to the grizzled-looking boatman, as my reason for getting aboard.
I disembark (do people still say that?) the boat and am met on the jetty by one of the hotel’s reps, who promptly leads me to the second part of my journey – a golf buggy to the spa. I quietly wonder if this is possibly the most extravagant trip to get a manicure that anyone has ever taken.
Now in the spa, the pleasant, non-judging faces of the staff greet me, asking whether it’s my first time undergoing such a treatment . I reply gruffly in the affirmative (still for some reason, going to absurd lengths to highlight my masculinity in the face of 90 minutes of what my colleague has repeatedly labelled “an experience for tarts”).
Like a lost child, I’m gently led into the ‘Pedi: Mani: Cure Studio’, which at first glance, instantly reminds me of a dentist’s chamber. Perhaps it’s the almost expectant leather chair, or maybe the unfamiliar, sharp-looking silver instruments, either way, a deep-rooted fear of the tooth doctor means my heart jolts and I consider bolting. Before realising how deeply pathetic that is.
Once in the chair, I realise it’s –in fact – a very pleasant, almost cosy little space. The smell of potpourri, and melodic harp tones filtering through the built-in speakers serve their usual relaxing purpose, though the trickling water sound effect kind of makes me want to visit the bathroom.
On instruction, I take off my watch, shoes and socks – subjecting my hands and feet to the two nimble fingered ladies who will be cutting, clipping and buffing them over the next two hours. Before we start, looking down at my toes, I almost feel conscious. How do my feet compare to others these ladies look at? I’ve always thought they were pretty normal, but what if she sees them as Frodo Baggins’ trotters laid out in front of her? I must relax.
Suddenly I’m aware of my slightly-mangy looking nail on my left big toe, grimacing apologetically at the beautician (now studying it with what either could be construed as fascination or mild concern), before I feel it’s necessary to utter some elaborate back-story about it being a “nasty football accident from months ago”, (when it was actually the result of an oafish toe stub last week on Jumeirah Beach).
And we’re off. Hands and feet being addressed at the same time – not by an octopus limbed, insanely dexterous staff member, no – this pampering job apparently requires the expertise two beauticians at the same time. The acute levels of attention make me feel a little embarrassed.
First surprise of the day. Unlike traditional treatments of this ilk, I’m told no water is involved in this particular new age ‘Pedi:Mani’ offering. This strikes me as a little odd, but hey – I’m a novice. Though I’m pleased for the sake of the poor woman at my feet that I showered right before arriving.
Almost twenty minutes in and I’ll confess, I’m actually kind of enjoying it. My nails are routinely kept quite short so there isn’t much to be done in the way of cutting, just a bit of cuticle pushing here and there, some nail bed attention, some fi- Oh dear…What have I become.
“Some extra-shine polish on your fingernails sir?”….“Go on then”
Somehow, I’ve got so embarrassingly comfortable with this entire treatment process I’ve managed to actually fall asleep for 35 minutes. This is awkward. I really hope I didn’t drool.
We’re finished. Looking down at the results, I’m pretty confident I can now snare a Havainas flip flop commercial. My feet are soft, supple… borderline immaculate. It seems almost a shame to deprive the world of them by covering them in socks and clodhopper brogues. Perhaps I will walk back to the boat barefoot, show them off and bask in the admiring gaze of passers-by.
*Am told categorically not to walk back to the jetty with no shoes on account of splinters. Pedicure 101.
Granted, a ‘mani-pedi’ will perhaps never be considered a grooming ‘must’ in the same way a decent haircut or regular shave might, but considering the region we live in and how regularly your tootsies are on show, having a decent foot game is most advisable gents. So, swallow your pride, puff out your chest and – like back waxing treatment before it – embrace this new metrosexual era, if and when the situation warrants it. Because you never know who’s paying attention…
Thanks to the Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio at The One and Only on the Palm