Not only do most men not understand ‘female plumbing’ but we underestimate the vital importance of the ‘manny peddy’ at our peril.


Does nail upkeep score so high on life’s necessities for women and are just a short chore to men? During one of those lulls in a dinner party conversation after I had chatted for twenty minutes on politics, shopping, Love Island and varicose veins with the woman on my left and now waiting for a chance to break into conversation with the woman on my right, I heard the most extraordinary exchange between two women sitting opposite each other. “… Yes. Ruined it. Can you imagine?” “Oh my God. Disaster. What did you do?” “Well. I had to have a drink just to keep me from screaming and losing it. No choice. That night I had to wear closed toed shoes and came back first thing next morning before anyone could see. I mean. It was horrific.” The cause of this tale of woe was not frostbite, a malignant verruca or even an in-growing toenail. The nail varnish that had been so lovingly applied to this lady’s big toe had not dried properly before she left the salon and when she got home found her shoe had smudged the scarlet varnish and left a wave effect on her nail. With this severe handicap, open toed shoes that night were clearly not even a remote possibility. The fact the other lady expressed equal shock, drove home to me the importance to women of the upkeep of their hooves. Something men cannot comprehend. Every so often my wife remarks I could play the banjo with my toenails and I take three seconds per toe with clippers to prune them. That’s it.

...and another thing

Nail, cuticle and skin care for women however are Herculean tasks that require two if not three worker bees bustling away at the same time. Salons are festooned with women lying in chairs surrounded by workers like an F1 car on a pit stop. Except this pit stop goes on for a couple of hours.

For some reason these salon technicians seem always to be Vietnamese. Wonderful people and my favourite place in Asia but nail painting never seemed part of their culture when I visited.

There is a mind-boggling choice of colours with such subtle changes of hue you would need a computer scan to determine the difference. A catalogue for just reds needs a decent chunk of Amazon rain forest to supply enough paper for the brochure. Yet if a client’s specific shade is not available, the stress can cause hyperventilation and will require smelling salts to regain any semblance of calm.

Then you have the different finishes:

  • Shimmer
  • Micro-shimmer
  • Micro-glitter
  • Glitter
  • Frost
  • Luster
  • Crème
  • Iridescent
  • Opalescent
  • Matte
  • Duo chrome
  • Jelly or translucent
  • Magnetic
  • Crackled
  • Glass-flecked
  • Holographic
  • Prismatic micro-glitter or shimmer

As if that was not enough… in addition you can have long lasting polishes such as Gel or Shellac where your nails are cured under UV lamps. Use these too long and it can kill your nails!

Women reading this are nodding their neatly coiffed heads (perms £200 each or style, cut and blow dry £150) and will probably yawn and stop reading.

Men will just scratch their heads. Unless you have actually gone to a salon, you cannot begin to understand how a manicure and a pedicure has become part of a quasi-religious ritual for women. Actually, more like confession in that they have to attend once a fortnight if not once a week or face utter fashion damnation.

...and another thing

I used to see people apply nail varnish on the subway, in busses or even having a sandwich for lunch. Not anymore. When was the last one you saw anyone apply varnish in public? It’s like suddenly in 2000, women as a whole said,

“Right. No more pubic hair, and I’m not painting my nails anymore.”

There are then add on services at these ‘buffing’ salons. Obviously, the aforementioned Brazilian wax, the hypnotic action of plucking and shaping eyebrows with what looks like two strips of dental floss rather than the tweezers my mother used, and of course the squeezing and removal of blackheads and spots. If you go somewhere really fancy you can get a quick Botox while you suck down your frappe mocha soya coffee.

And to cap it all you can dangle your tootsies in an oversized goldfish bowl where garra rufa fish nibble off your dead skin. In case you think these Pirahna wannabes do this out of desire to eat flesh they don’t. They do it because they are kept hungry!

Recently my wife arched (a perfectly formed) eyebrow at the service bill for my classic cars.

I reminded her, she gets a service once a week, the car only once a year.

“Yes darling, but unless you want to sleep in the garage you get to drive this more often.” was her reply. I do love her!

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  1. Magda says:

    😉 It is really upsetting to read that some women are talking about their feet at a dinner table…Seems all good manners have gone with the wind…;-)
    As long as they have those kind of problems and worries, lucky them…, there are safe 😉

  2. Bette Anne says:

    You tell him K!

    Great Blog!

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