I am Dian Fossey, sneaking up to a circle of gorillas. The gorillas are foreign to me, and I seem alien to them, not of their kind. These gorillas are straights, and I’m observing them in their natural habitat, in the midst of where they perform their beauty rituals. A nail salon. Will I be accepted as one of them? Will they share their customs and nail polish with me? Or will they hiss at me from their comfortable, reclined, vibrating chairs, sending me running for my life, without my much-needed pedicure?
Before you get all “But Butch, men and butches do get pedicures,” let me remind you that while of course it is allowed, we aren’t exactly welcomed with open arms. The gorillas were okay with Dian Fossey watching from a distance (i.e., us butches and men waiting by the door to pick up our girls after their nails are done), but they weren’t exactly waving her over to pick nits off of her – not at first anyway. It took them months to let her into their circle and share nail polish. I don’t have that kind of time. My feet and toenails look like crap and I need a pedicure stat.
When I walk in, odd silence. From the ladies who work there: Is he in the wrong place? Looking for his wife? Ohhh, he’s here for a pedicure. Hmmm. Wait, I think that’s a woman (all in Vietnamese, of course). The women in the chairs look up from their magazines and iPhones, the same thoughts going through their minds. But no hissing. No bearing of teeth. Maybe they won’t attack if I stand still by the door for a while and let them acclimate to my presence. Which is exactly what I do until the salon owner says, “What do you want, honey?” I answer boldly – trying not to show fear to the gorillas – “I want a mani/pedi.” I figure, why not? Might as well have my hands done, too. Buff, of course (meaning no polish, just shiny, clean nails). Sometimes, I get my finger nails painted black for a slightly edgy rock star butch look (albeit an older, more has-been rock star). Not today, though, just buff for the fingers. “Sit down, honey. Tina will be right with you.”
I sit down, wait my turn, and avoid eye contact with the other women waiting. There’s the young hipster who is neither surprised nor interested in me. Excellent. There is the older grandmother who looks at me oddly, but not meanly. Then there is the woman with huge boobs and a Gerber baby. I dig babies and like to make faces at them and make them smile. Make friends with the baby gorilla, and the mom will accept you, right? Straight women don’t expect this from a dude, or from me, so they think I’m cute. Now the grandmother thinks I’m the cat’s pajamas because I’m a dude who likes babies. She has no idea I’m a butch. So far, so good.
After waiting for a few minutes, Tina takes me to my seat. The gorillas are calm and seem unphased, so I make it to my station unscathed, except for a few quick glances. I sit down and because I am so tall I have to move my seat all the way back. I look like a professional basketball player stuffed into a tiny Fiat; my feet are in the water and my knees almost hit me in the face. Very graceful. I’m not exactly blending in.
I spaced like a rookie and forgot to “pick a color” for my toes, so I jump up to grab one. I startle the gorillas with my jerky movement, but I’m still allowed to move freely. I feel confident, so decide to branch out from my comfort zone of butch colors (black and navy) and go all street-walker with “Romeo & Juliet,” a deep, and no doubt tragic, maroon polish. So young. So sad.
Here is a picture of my Romeo & Juliet toes. I’m Romeo, of course.
Butches, if you think that manicures and pedicures are for girls, generally you’re right, but get over that. You can’t walk around with huge calluses on your feet and gnarly, long toenails. You can have clean, buffed fingernails and still have outrageously strong, (and in my case, big) hands. Nothing wrong with a pedicure, and a manicure doesn’t take away your butchness. It makes you more appealing. Think about all the things you do that involve your hands… You don’t actually want to sand your femme’s face, do you?
Clean yourself up. Keep it together. Manscaping isn’t right for us, but how about Butchscaping? Don’t you want to be the well-groomed butch? Don’t you want your femme to stare at your hands and imagine you touching her? Femmes, which do you prefer, well-groomed or beastly?
As for my trip today among the gorillas and their beauty rituals, it turns out the gorillas are okay. They accept me into their circle, and my feet look tight. One note on pedicures. Don’t wear your tennis shoes into the salon. If you do, you will be forced to walk out with these stupid little throw away flip-flops that they have for you. This could be ok, or you could end up being given a pink pair, as happened to me today. Ugh.
Because we were going out to lunch, we had to fix this. We went straight to CVS to buy a different pair of crappy flip-flops that were more to my butch liking. No self-respecting butch can walk into an establishment, let alone one in the Gayborhood, wearing the shoes in this picture. Plan ahead and this won’t be a problem.
It’s butch to get manicures and pedicures. Be butch.