When I first moved to New York City, back in 1994, there are a lot of things about me as a man then that were different than the man I am today. I enjoy good sushi. I get my haircut at a salon, not a barber. I like drinking fine wines, scotch and ports with some imported cheeses. I love a good monthly massage. I get sports pedicures.
So there are "pedicures" that women get and there are sports pedicures that men get. The basics are the same, washing, scrubbing, exfoliating. The main core difference is that a woman's pedicure would involve getting their toes painted, while with a man, it's basically about cleaning up dry, cracked skin and unsightly toenails. What was once a bastion of a gay man, is now becoming the normal practice of today's modern man.
Yes, I get plenty of friends who are guys and girls that don't understand it. Feet are feet to them. Everyone has a different opinion on feet, and my opinion is that there's nothing more nasty than seeing a guy or girl walking down Washington Street in flip flops, and having dry, cracked flaky skin with yellow toe nails. I see it all the time.
It's normal now for men to buy body scrubs, facial creams and other grooming products that differ than our forefather's set of grooming products that consisted of shaving cream, a bar of soap and Old Spice aftershave.
I usually get a sports pedicure a few times a year, mostly during the warmer months, depending on the condition of my feet and if i'm dating a girl - and every girl I dated loved it.
In past years, I have been to a few salons to get this done, but now that i'm working in a different part of Manhattan, I decided to do some research, and try some place new. I knew that I didn't want to go to a "girly salon", I was hoping to find a place that was for men, and not a salon that had people working there with fucked up names: "Blaze" or "Rumor" or "Staci with an I, not a E-Y".
Lo and behold, I dig up a 2006 story about John Allan's on the New York Times website, do a bit of reading and find out that they have a location near my office in Tribeca.
I made the appointment on Friday, and got down there after work.
I walk into their building at 418 Washington Street (Tribeca New York, not Hoboken), and the look is "Sports Pub Meets Spa". There's a small bar, a pool table, comfy seats, exposed industrial pipes, and a soft House pulse beat playing on the speakers. I check in, and the receptionists ask if they can take my coat, bag and mention that the store next door, which incidently is a wine store, is having a free wine tasting.
Normally this is where i'd politely say "no thank you", because i'd be self conscious and wait. John Allan's was fairly empty, it was 5pm on a Friday and I didn't have anything to do that night, aside from meeting people at Mulligan's for the Phillies vs Giants.
I checked out the 4 person seat bar, which had 2 beers on tap, a few bottles behind the bar, and a red velvet pool table next to it. There was a bartender there, and a woman from the wine store next door letting customer taste a bottle of Rose and a Syrah/Grenache blend. I talked to her for a bit, trying the wines, and I did prefer the Rose over the blend.
After that, the told me that all the beers were on the house for paying customers or members - I think my eyes lit up too much because they added "Well, within reason...". The bartender poured me a glass of Sam Adams draft, I was brought into a back room, which had two comfortable leather chairs, and two large steel buckets, sitting in front of each. On the wall was an enormous projection TV, at least 7 feet long, playing ESPN. They had me put my feet into the steel buckets, which had soapy water, and on the bottom of the buckets I could feel smooth stones or marbles. They handed me the remote, and I sat there watching ESPN, sipping a beer and the woman working on my feet began her work.
I could go into details here, but I really wasn't paying at much attention. There was lots of cutting, scrubbing, smoothing, massaging and moisturizing that were related to putting my feet back into looking great. It lasted for 45 glorious minutes and in that time I drank three icy cold beers (but they did run out of Sam Adams after my first beer!), alternated my TV watching between ESPN and The Dog Whisperer.
The bartender came in afterwards and fretted about moving a full keg from the back room to the bar. All of his co-workers were women, so I offered to help. We moved the keg, and then he handed me another beer, and I shot a game of pool. Once that beer was finished, I had a nice buzz, tipped the bartender $10, tipped my pedicurist $20 and paid my $49 tab.
The result? Nice, clean, softer feet that will look great at Bradley Beach this summer when I have the shore house.