The Time I Convinced My Boyfriend To Get A Pedicure With Me

My mom first took me to get my eyebrows waxed when I was in elementary school. I don’t remember if I asked her to after accompanying her on her own primp sessions or if she just took pity on a nine-year-old with a unibrow.

Either way, these aesthetic additions were ingrained in me. Get a haircut every six months, if you can afford it. Get your teeth cleaned every nine, if you have health insurance. Run in for a six dollar polish change while waiting for a friend to get out of a movie. These were just little grooming luxuries, like when that tiny fish cleans the whale’s teeth by eating off the algae.

There’s no better example of this than getting a pedicure, because all you have to do is sit there and read about Blake Lively’s latest relationship while a nail technician works his or her magic. I consider the pedicure a relaxing break, and certainly not a big deal.

But to some people, pedicures are new and exciting. My sister-in-law had never had one before, and so she, my little sister, my mom and I got our toes done together before her wedding to my brother. Like a huge brat, I regarded her as some kind of hill person when she delighted in picking out the perfect shade of pink. For her, getting a pedicure meant a special occasion.

Cut to: Two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I are in a hotel room in Knoxville. We’re both stand-up comedians and we’d driven ten hours from New York City for me to open for him at a black box theater.

We’re both working on our computers in the hotel room when I notice his bare feet against the scratchy comforter. We’ve been going out for a little over a year but for some reason, this is the first time I’ve actually studied this part of his body. His feet are as adorable as the rest of him, I decide, but the nails could use some work. I guess I can’t really judge as my own purple polish is beyond chipped.

Since we’re performing at night, our days are empty. Unless we want to blow stacks of cash and our dignity at Dollywood, there’s not much to do. If we get bored, I think, maybe we could go get pedicures together! It’d be so fun! Every city has at least one salon, and nails are like math — the same in any language. “Would you ever get a pedicure?” I ask him.

“No,” he says immediately. “I don’t think I would enjoy it.”

I’m disappointed. “Why not?” I reply. “I get them all the time. We could do it together.”

“No, thank you,” he says. “It wouldn’t be relaxing for me to sit still and have people work on me like I’m a car. Also, I don’t like putting myself in situations where strangers are touching me.”

“It’s not a stranger,” I say, clicking my tongue. “It’s their job. Like a dentist or a doctor touching you.”

“Comparing it to the dentist is not going to convince me,” he says. I pout.

I start to fixate like an annoying chick in a romantic comedy who relishes non-drama. There’s so much more for me to worry about in my daily life — job opportunities and wackos in Congress who want to take away my reproductive rights and whether Justin Bieber really fathered that girl’s baby. You know, important stuff.

Caring about getting a pedicure together sounds like the shallow plot to an episode of the gender-normative sh-t show, Whitney. The TV Guide blurb could read, “Whitney wants Alex to get a pedicure with her to prove he loves her.” Laugh track, laugh track, laugh track. Shoot me.

But I like spending time with my boyfriend and I like pedicures so why can’t the two come together? As a couple, we’re big on compromise so when we disagree on something, I’m always curious to hash it out. I don’t want to force him to do something he doesn’t want to do, but he’s generally open to new experiences, so why the big ‘X’ on this one little self-indulgence?

Maybe salons are about class and financial standing, I think because of course, now I’m overanalyzing pedicures. It’s not a bad theory. My mom had the extra money for it. Some people use that money for food or electricity — you know, actual priorities.

“Or maybe it’s societal,” I think as I scan open Jezebel and Shakesville tabs, projecting patriarchy where there is none. “Maybe it’s trained into us by gender.” I grew up thinking pedicures were par for the course because I went with my mom and my sister, right? So maybe my boyfriend thinks getting a pedicure threatens his masculinity.

Then I remember he bakes brownies from scratch and snuggles like it’s gonna be illegal soon. Gender roles don’t have a chance.

Could be it’s the spread of misinformation. My boyfriend, at twenty-six years old, still has no idea what happens in a salon.

“I just don’t want shiny toes!,” he argues when I bring it up again. (I have become that girlfriend and I hate it.)

“Wait, what?” I reply. “Do you think they force you to get nail polish?!”

He blushes, faltering, “Yeah! I don’t know! I thought if you went in, you had to get polish put on!”

“No,” I laugh. “You don’t have to get nail polish. They’ll just cut your toenails and cuticles and put on a nice scrub and lotion, if you don’t want polish.”

“Okay,” he says. He’s relieved that polish isn’t compulsory but I can tell he’s not psyched.

Then, he adds: “I’ll do it if you enter a 72 oz. steak challenge with me.”

I blanch.

“You want us to eat a 72 oz. steak together?” I squeak.

“No,” he says, grinning. “Each.”

My stomach throws up on itself.

‘Oh,’ I think, ‘I get it now.’ There’s no deeper reason my boyfriend doesn’t want to get a pedicure. He just doesn’t think he’ll enjoy it.

“Okay. Call NBC,” I reply, “because we’ve got a million dollar sitcom to pitch.” TC mark


More From Thought Catalog

  • mp90909

    #JewishProblems. I’m a guy and I NEED to get my eyebrows done every few months or the unibrow and bushes become unwieldy. In reality, I’m making it sound worse…but I can’t live without it now.

    • Anonymous

      Totally. I say we all just embrace our Jewish roots and be done with these extra money stealing activities.

      • katydid

        i think the #jewishproblems are more about the excessive hair of our people

  • Shakl

    Um, just because someone doesn’t have the money for a fucking pedicure doesn’t mean they are trash. Jesus. This article would have been funny if you hadn’t alienated half the readers in the beginning.

    Your mother was shallow.

    • Tanya Salyers

      This mother was incredibly shallow…what a waste of money. 

      • Anonymous

        It probably was. Especially for a kid who doesn’t care if they have a unibrow or not. I wouldn’t do it for my kid but it was her choice.

    • Sophia

      There’s nothing wrong with not having a pedicure, but there’s also nothing wrong with wanting one and spending the money on one if you have the money for it. Who are you to judge what people should spend their own money on? If some people can get tattoos, go out to dinner, or remodel their kitchens, there is nothing wrong with wanting to spend $20 on nice clean feet. 

      Also they just look so much better in sandals. I cringe when I see people with dry calloused heels and unpainted toenails wearing sandals in public. Gross. Don’t get a pedicure, fine, but take care of yourself or cover that up.

      • Catt

        Shakl wasn’t judging what Ms. Dunn spent her money on, they were simply observing that comments like “I regarded her as some kind of hill person when she delighted in picking out the perfect shade of pink” are really rude.

      • Anonymous

        It was rude. Hence why I called myself a brat for thinking it.

      • indra

        That’s not exactly self awareness, though.

      • ACommotion


    • Anonymous

      Hence why I called myself a brat for thinking that at the time.

      • Antonio Watson

        Wow, you can’t even criticize yourself without getting trolled these days.

        Great article btw.  My mother used to take me for mani/pedicures but I never vocalized it at school because it didn’t fit into the male gender role.

  • Jason Ham

    UGH THANK YOU; last weekend I accidentally happened upon an episode of Whitney (first time with a TV in 4 months, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the channels) and it was quite possibly the most unfunny thing I had ever seen on television.


  • Myjohnsonis12incheslong

    I hope a mosquito infected with the AIDS virus flies into your mouth 

    • indra

      your name is awesome. wanna go for drinks?

      • Gregory Costa

        Git R Dunn!

      • Myjohnsonis12incheslong


    • Anonymous

      Because I wrote a silly article? That seems extreme. What’s the punishment for an actual crime?

    • Anonymous

      Hey punk, too bad your brain is 1/12th the size of you johnson.

  • Mung Beans

    You’re a stand-up comedian?

    • Anonymous


      • Mung Beans


  • Andi

    I know you might not be able to disclose this.. but by any chance is your boyfriend Josh Gondleman? I only deduce this from the brownies and cuddling part. But regardless of who it is, pedicures are a nice little luxury every couple of weeks :)

    • Anonymous

      I can disclose it! It’s funny to think there’d be some rule against it.

  • Gregory Costa

    Your boyfriend is going to turn out gay one day, and I hope you feel guilt in your responsibility.   And if you need sources, I’ve got a Fox News link with your name on it, Gaby. 

    • Anonymous


  • Erik Stinson

    seems like ‘let’s get a pedi’ is some very entry-level relationship gender role management stuff. seems like i’ve said ‘nope’ to that quite a few times. 

    i’ve moved on to ‘would it be cool if i just had the kids?’

blog comments powered by Disqus