The “fixed” original:“Nice Toes, Bro.
Young MenFaggots Invade Nail Salons”
Women weren’t the problem. The Brooklyn, N.Y., salon was packed with men.
Ms. Wilson learned she was fourth in line after three men—all having pedicures. “I don’t mind men stepping up their grooming,” said Ms. Wilson, a development officer at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. “But I can’t say I was happy to wait close to an hour while three of them were ahead of me. I gave them the side-eye.”
Men are crowding nail salons this summer, spurred by shifting attitudes about their grooming as well as the popularity of sandals from Gucci, Valentino, Rick Owens and other luxury brands. Macho entertainers and sports stars including LeBron James have posted videos of themselves getting pedicures, reassuring the average guy that it is OK to step into a salon and pamper their toes.
Marie Nails, with locations in New York, Los Angeles and Honolulu, noticed more men coming in for pedicures. “We have regulars, and they refer, so we [have gotten] more this year,” said May Ogawa, director of the chain’s U.S. office.
Bellacures, a chain with six salons in Los Angeles and one in Dallas, also saw an uptick in men coming in for pedicures this summer. “This is likely that many will be wearing open-toed shoes, sandals, going to the beach, or on vacation where their feet will be exposed,” said owner Gerard Quiroga.
Men’s feet can sometimes be tougher jobs. “Because men don’t come in as often as women, they do tend to opt for the callus repair pedicure and extra scrubs” with sea salt or organic sugar, he said.
Ms. Wilson said men’s feet “are often gross,” but so are some women’s. Her Brooklyn salon, she said, uses a new liner for the soaking tub for each customer.
Many women say it’s great that guys feel comfortable getting pedicures before venturing out in flip-flops and sandals, but they don’t like waiting now that men are showing up at salons.
“My first thought was, is [the Netflix series] ‘Queer Eye’ working?” said Neva Winkle, of Lincoln, Neb., recalling her annoyance at a recent 20-minute wait “while four frat guys were getting pedicures” at her go-to salon. “I had never been the only woman in the place getting my nails done,” said Ms. Winkle, a tenants-rights adviser. “It was odd.”
Kellen Marshall, a graduate assistant for Wichita State University’s basketball team in Kansas, has gone out with his buddies for toe-tending. “It was just hilarious, these five college dudes rolled into the nail salon to get pedicures,” he said. “We were in there talking about sports, talking about whatever.”
Another time, he and a male friend had pedicures a day before playing golf. “It’s funny just to see the change in culture, how it’s become more socially acceptable,” he said. “Guys are not afraid of their masculinity taking a hit when they get a pedicure. I think a big reason why guys are OK with it is because girls are pro-pedicure. They like guys who will take care of their skin, and take care of their feet.”
Nadine Abramcyk, a founder of Tenoverten, with salons in New York, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, said she has seen more men coming in groups to have business meetings over pedicures and lunch. The spaces are designed, she said, to be neutral in tone, with “nothing too frilly or obviously girlie.”
When Courtney Nealon, of Jupiter, Fla., visited a local nail salon where the ratio of men to her was 4 to 1, she was taken aback. “It’s like, wait a minute, this is where my girlfriends and I would sit around and chitchat and talk about our husbands,” said Ms. Nealon, a part-time insurance agent. “The nail salon used to be a sacred, ladies-only space. It made me laugh. They’re coming for us women because we came for their Boy Scouts.” (In 2017, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would welcome girls.)
To keep things cordial, Andrew Flick tries “to be respectful” and “not speak loudly” when he goes to a spa or salon for pedicures. “I just try to sit there in silence and command as little attention as I can,” said the San Francisco-based public-relations executive. “No one has ever been weird, but sometimes I feel like not everyone’s 100% cool” with his presence.
Tyler Winter, a digital and social-media specialist in London, Ontario, got his first pedicure recently. He and his stepfather were the only men there. “I was mainly looking at my foot and the person doing the pedicure, and generally minimizing eye contact with others,” he said. “It was a little weird at first. I’m not used to having my feet touched.”
Chris McDougal, a retail manager from Somerset, N.J., usually has a pedicure before wearing his Birkenstock sandals or Gucci slides in the summer. He usually is the only man in the salon.
“It doesn’t really bother me,” he said, if women there give him strange looks because he is accustomed to his clothes sparking such reactions. “I’m not afraid to take fashion risks.”