1. Keeping your feet in sandal-ready shape.
Though I have no problems with men in a nice pair of sandals, it is just a general rule that if you are going to be wearing footwear whose side effect is showing the world at large exactly what your toes look like, you must keep them presentable. There are few things more truly horrifying than seeing a man in a brand-new pair of flip-flops (usually accompanied with Oakleys and board shorts — but that’s an abomination to address at another juncture), only to have his feet vaguely resemble those of a particularly unhygienic Hobbit. Toe hair, yellow nails, ripped-up cuticles, callouses everywhere — these things are not acceptable for anyone. No one is saying that you should go to your nearest salon and get four coats of fluorescent magenta paint lacquered on, but basic foot maintenance is something everyone can enjoy. I don’t care how “girly” it is to maintain oneself below the ankles, if you are going to be giving us all kinds of toe cleavage, do us all a favor and keep your feet in check.
2. Moderate eyebrow plucking.
When I see a man whose eyebrows clearly have something pressing to discuss, and have gathered together at the center of his forehead to pass along the gossip, it is all I can do not to run at him screaming with a pair of tweezers and yank that unibrow out so hard I would become the King of England. How do some men look at the wooly mammoths that are making their annual pilgrimage across their skull every morning in the mirror and think, “Yeah, this is okay,” and go about their day? And his bros, how does not a one amongst them have the self-awareness and the cultural savvy not to be like, “Hey, man, your face is starting to look like one of those fuzzy caterpillars that make those crazy-ass nests that kill trees.”? In any case, I am here to put my foot down that, no, it’s not “a chick thing” to give your brows a mild plucking, at least in the interest of separating them into two distinct entities. No one is suggesting that they be reduced to Sharpie-esque levels of thinness, but there is almost nothing that a discerning pluck or two can’t do to enhance your beauty.
I cannot tell you how many men I have met in my life for whom the concept of moisturizing — whether it be with conditioner, lip balm, or just straight-up lotion, is completely foreign. The basic principle of having to help your skin out with retaining water against the elements and not devolving into a flaky, crusty wasteland is a simple one — but yet one that many seem to think they are immune to. Having the slightest sheen on your lips or softness to your hair doesn’t make them any less masculine, it simply means they aren’t taking on the texture of sandpaper as they cry out for just a precious few more water molecules. You see some guys who look like they’re going to cough out a cubic meter of dust the next time they open their mouths, so chapped and weathered are their bodies. Moisture is for everyone, you see, and there’s no reason we should deny ourselves its wonders.
4. Being open to trimming your hedges.
Here’s the thing, everyone has different preferences about what they like — let’s call a spade a spade — pubic hair to look like. And as a woman, I know that society is usually fluctuating between having me eradicate it completely, keeping it perfectly trimmed around the edges, or razoring it into various fun shapes for everyone to enjoy. (I once saw this kit to trim your business into a lightning bolt, star, or crescent moon and I was just like lolwut who has this kind of time on their hands, but I digress.) In any case, it’s understandable that we should all be open to compromising with our partners on what it looks like down there, as they are often going to have to be the ones getting all up in it, so to speak. And though I think the societal pressure on women to follow minute-by-minute updates on what it should be looking like is a bit much, I try to be open-minded. However, at no point is a man allowed to demand anything from anyone — personal-styling wise — if he refuses to do anything to his besides occasionally wash it, if you’re lucky. It may come as a surprise, but completely unhindered growth is not appealing to everyone on a man, and some might not like it when it looks like mid-80’s Weird Al is filming a music video between his stomach and his knees. We should all try to be more open about this, especially if we’re going to be making requests of other people. I’m sure we can all find happy compromises with our partners, but, as with much of personal grooming, it’s definitely not a one-way street.