Ed. Note; Originally published in 2004, this column hits home with many gentlemen down the street, around town or across the country. Remember one thing brothers, even if it is an hour, call it a “day of beauty” it’s worth more man points.
I recently stopped by a friend’s house to help him with a few chores. It was rather quiet as he opened the door, which prompted my question. “Where’s Kathy?”
He hesitated a second and with the gravest of deliveries informed me. “She’s out. For a day of beauty.”
I nodded with equal gravity, not knowing what the heck he was talking about.
He explained. “You know… a day of beauty. That’s when she goes out ‘to be attended to’. It could be a massage, to have her nails done, her hair cut. And no matter what it is, it always takes a day. A day of beauty. This one’s her massage.”
I understood then. I could identify with my wife’s similar day of beauty at the hairdresser. She calls it her “cut and color”. I, the one with all the words, simply call it her “dye job”. She never was enamored of me using that terminology, especially when she would ask me to write her hair appointments on the calendar. “Joanne. Dye job, 7 p.m.” I’d scribble. She doesn’t ask me to do that anymore.
We two wizened men proceeded to ponder this phenomenon known as a day of beauty. It indeed seemed true to both of us that such a day provides some measure of soothing relaxation to our better halves. It also seemed true that we were just a tad poorer at the end of each of these sessions. Our hands went simultaneously to our chins, with that classic scratching gesture that men use as they ponder.
My wife once told me that her favorite relaxation – her ultimate day of beauty, I suppose – is a pedicure. That fascinating procedure involves soaking her feet in water, cutting her toenails, massaging her feet and calves, and – the piece de resistance – applying the toenail polish. I tried explaining these soothing qualities to my friend. His initial reaction was similar to mine. Neither of us could imagine who in their right mind would enjoy doing such a job. Although no doubt soaking the feet first probably makes the task more tolerable.
I mentioned that additional touch of pedicure finesse that my wife loves – when the pedicurist places her hands in paraffin wax and then slides them inside warm mitts. All while classical music plays in the background and her feet receive the royal treatment. “Just like Madge,” I said.
“Huh?” he inquired.
“Madge. Madge!” I exclaimed. “The lady with the carrot red hair in the old Palmolive commercials? She played the part of a manicurist who soaked her clients hands in dish detergent to soften them.”
“Ah, yes. Madge. The industry’s come a long way since then, hasn’t it?” mused my friend. “Now a one dollar bottle of dish soap, good for a million soakings, has been replaced by a $50-per-hour specialist.”
“With music,” I quickly added.
“Of course,” he said. “Of course. With music. No extra charge.”
We had, by then, exhausted this heady topic of a day of beauty. I felt like rushing right out to his kitchen for a hot towel, to apply soothingly to my face. I thought I saw him eyeing the drawer where they keep their toenail clippers.
But then Kathy came floating through the doorway, a tired but rested look on her face. That massage had obviously left her very relaxed, as supple as a jellyfish.
“Day of beauty, huh?” I asked offhandedly.
She looked at me, a bit surprised, then glanced at my friend. He just shrugged. “Joanne has a similar ritual. No big secret.”
“It was wonderful,” she sighed. “Wonderful.”
We nodded our heads in unison, as we pondered and scratched.
Finally, my friend broke the silence. “Kathy,” he asked, “…do we have any paraffin wax?”
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