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Monday, May 7, 2012

Are men the new women?

When my daughter was turning eight years old, I booked a mother-daughter pedicure at a local salon for a treat. She had been excited all week waiting for her pedicure and when the day came, she could barely contain herself. We went to the treatment room in the beauty salon and were both a little shocked to see the only other client in the room was a man in his 50s. He was obviously uncomfortable to see us as well.

I have nothing against a man getting a pedicure, as a matter fact, I think it's a great idea. It should be mandatory for all men to get pedicures, especially at the beginning of summer before they wear sandals so it doesn't look like someone went at their feet with a chainsaw or even worse, like they have two inch long claws. But I have to admit I'm not fussy about men invading the only place women have left to get away from them.

I smiled and said hello, realizing that he was uncomfortable, I decided to go about my business and get my pedicure. My daughter on the other hand, was fascinated by this man in a woman's chair. She literally stood there staring at him with her mouth wide open. The more she stared, the more he squirmed. I quickly lifted her into the pedicure chair hoping that would distract her. I had hoped this would make her forget about the man sitting across from her. But as soon as she settled down, she began to stare again. I tried everything I could to distract her. I offered her magazines. I offered her my phone to play with. I tried talking to her.  It would only distracted her for a few seconds and then her eyes would go back to this poor man and she would stare with her mouth open like a busy-body at an accident scene.

This eight-year-old little girl had this 50ish-year-old man squirming like he was in an interrogation chair. He couldn't have been more uncomfortable if she had walked into a change room at La Senza and caught him trying on a lace garter and bra. Luckily he was nearing the end of his pedicure and the lady was doing the final file on his toenails. I looked at my daughter and knew the wheels were turning in her little brain. Just like the slow-motion section of a movie I could see her lips about to form a word but before I could intercept, she asked the man "What colour nail polish are you getting? I'm getting Princess Pink!" The man smiled at her and said "I am not getting a colour." Then, to make sure this man never returned to the inner sanctum of female-hood she delivered the death blow, "My dad would never get a pedicure, he says it's too girly for him." The poor man smiled and got out of there faster than if he had been caught with a hooker by his wife.

I've never seen another man in the pedicure room again. I'm sure he told all his friends and they tell their friends and none of them will ever take the chance of coming up against my eight-year-old daughter in a beauty salon.

Just a little while ago I was at the beauty salon getting my hair dyed back to its natural red (don't laugh). In the next chair was a man in his late 40s or early 50s. He was also wearing the hair- dye cape. Personally I think men look extremely sexy when they start to turn gray. I assumed this guy was getting rid of his. To my shock, the hairdresser pulled out the cart with all the rollers on it and proceeded to put them in his hair. He was getting a perm! It took everything I had to not scream at him "No one gets perms anymore!!!" Followed by "Do I need to tell you why you're not wearing a wedding band?"

He was sitting in the chair next to me, I couldn't help but overhear the conversation between him and his hairdresser. He shared that he was newly divorced and decided to update his look. Now why she allowed this poor man to get a perm in 2012 was beyond me. She must have been related to his ex-wife. When the time came to take out the rollers and wash out the perm the poor man looked like he had a Brillo pad on his head. He got out of the chair and noticed me staring at him. With a smile and a wink he joked "To bad you're wearing that wedding ring because I would've asked for your number." I just smiled and said "Oh, too bad for me." Thinking in my head, "I am holding out for the hottie with the  comb-over two chairs down."

It got me to thinking... why are obviously straight men wandering into female territory? Then a friend told me these men are "Metrosexual."  A metrosexual man has taste and knows about fashion, art and culture. He appreciates the finer things in life and enjoys making himself look good through styling his hair or wearing fashionable clothes. For example men who can't walk past Winners without buying a designer label for less. Or men who own 20 pairs of shoes, half a dozen pairs of sunglasses, and carries a man-purse. Or if he sees a stylist instead of a barber because barbers don't do highlights, then  he is a metrosexual man.

I think it's great that men have evolved and are taking care of themselves. It's wonderful that they are learning how to dress. How many times have you seen men walking around in the summertime wearing black dress socks with sandals? Or even worse when the sandals have velcro closures. Velcro on an adult screams "I've worked myself up to a day pass but can't be trusted with shoelaces yet!" How about the guy who still wears the black velvet blazer he wore to his prom 30 years earlier. Or the guy who's tie ends in the middle of his chest? It's about time men took an interest in their hair. Ask any man if you can see his kindergarten picture and even though he may be in his 40s, I bet he still has the same hair cut!

I think it's great that men are trying new things. One time I tried to introduce my husband to the spa world. I booked a full day of pampering for the two of us. He loved the couples massage. The trouble came when we went for body wraps. We were put in separate rooms that were about 10 feet away from each other. First, they scrubbed us down with sea salt to exfoliates the body. Then they rinsed it off with warm soapy water and massaged oil all over our bodies. Then we were wrapped  in warming blanket like mummies. The attendants told each of us we had to lay there and relax for about 40 minutes for the process to work properly and they would be back to wake us when the time was up. It only took about 5 minutes before I heard my husband snoring. As the minutes went by the snoring got louder until the amplified sound of it filled the entire floor. I called out several times for the attendant to come back but they had obviously gone for their break. I wanted to tell one of them to roll him on his side to stop the snoring but no one could hear me. I tried to free my hands but the wrap was too tight. I considered rolling off the table and jumping down to his room to wake him but I was constrained like a mental patient.  For 45 minutes I lay thinking of all the ways I would kill him when I was freed. The attendants finally returned. My husband said he had the best sleep of his life. I on the other hand was stressed to the max and my blood pressure was about 20 points higher than what it should've been. I vowed never to take him to a spa again.

When I think of a man, I think of John Wayne or Tom Selleck. I like a man with a hairy chest and a moustache. I hate skinny men. I want a man with some meat on his bones, something to cuddle into. Now I'm not saying I like a man with a "dicky-do (his stomach sticks out more than his dicky do), or a muscleman. Just a nice soft place to land.

 I like a man's man. With hands that are rough and not soft like a woman's. I don't want a man who smells nicer than me, has more hair products than me, or looks better than me. When we go out on the town, I want people to see me first, not him! I want to be the star attraction. I'm the one who had to dilate 10 cm, twice!! And  squeeze a head the size of a grapefruit out of a hole the size of a grape! I deserve the spotlight after a day of waxing, shaving, make-up and an hour on my hair. Which is done while I make sure the kids eat their supper, pick up the baby sitter and find his keys, tie-clip and under-ware.

I don't want to turn gray but I think it's sexy when a man does. I know it's a double standard; when a man goes gray he gets distinguished, when a woman goes gray she gets replaced. But I think men look better as they age. I think women like the neanderthal man rather than the metrosexual man. Now it would be great if neanderthal man had a pedicure every now and then and didn't leave skid marks on his boxers. But maybe it's a slippery slope. Maybe once they get a taste of pampering they can't stop.

I like to think that I am a modern woman and as a woman I know we have fought for decades to have equality in a man's world. Now I have to wonder, can we return the favour and allow men to have equality in a woman's world? Will a man ever be able to have a pedicure without having to dodge looks from the eight-year olds in the room? Or get a perm without a woman giggling behind his back? Will a man ever feel truly equal in a woman's world?

 It may seem selfish, but I don't want men to be equal in our world. I own 80% of our closet and I'm not giving it up! I'm also not giving up one inch of the bathroom counter and I'm definitely not bringing my husband to my next pedicure appointment . That is my time to relax and be pampered without someone asking me "What's for supper?" or "How much is this costing us?"

Are men the new women? Not as long as the majority of their gender wears velcro sandals with black dress socks!