Hopefully he now understands these beauty rituals.
My darling husband, Cody, is a manly-man who's been surrounded by women his entire life. With three sisters, two daughters and nary a brother or son in sight, Cody learned from an early age to adapt ... or, well, be eaten alive.
For a long time he fought anything that might be seen as girly. Over the years, we slowly introduced him to the finer things in life: patterned socks, pink ties, dry cleaning, name-brand toothbrushes, professional massages, and body wash applied with a pouf.
I've seen him give me the ol' side eye during at-home beauty treatments of my own, which made me wonder if he ever messed around with any of my products when wasn't around. In our 14 years together I've offered to buff, polish, exfoliate and groom him on occasion, and sometimes he even takes me up of my offers.
So, when our friends at essie asked if we'd be willing to document a full day of my actual beauty treatments on my husband, I volunteered him without a second thought. (Because I'm nice like that.)
Me: "Hey, so I need to do a few things to you. Like, stuff I do to myself, girly stuff. And I need to take pictures."
Him: "YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO PLUCK ANYTHING. THAT HURTS. NO PLUCKING."
Me: "Fair enough, but you are going to have to wax your legs."
Him: "But I have to go to the gym ... with people I know. People I work with. I can't walk around with baby smooth legs for two months."
Me: "OK, so we just do your armpits."
Him: "That's a terrible idea."
We came to a mutual agreement that he would wax his upper legs, and that's when I broke the news to him that our little beauty experiment was going to go public because he had to get a spa manicure and pedicure.
Cody is OK with a lot, as long as no one else is involved. Even worse, the only appointment the salon had available was during his weekly (and somewhat sacred) basketball game with friends.
It was at this point he took a deep breath and rubbed his head.
Him: "Whatever, as long as it washes off. What am I going to tell my friends? 'Sorry guys! I have to skip basketball this week to get my nails painted!'"
And on that note, we began our little experiment.
8 AM: Wake up time!
Morning is pretty easy: shower, shave, wash, tone, moisturize, sunscreen, blow dry, curl, makeup. You know, the usual. Since Cody doesn't really have anything to shave, or any hair to style, he really just had to wash his face. Lucky.
Then came the toning, moisturizing and sunscreen. Apparently, asking him to do this was similar to making him climb a mountain naked.
For a guy who uses the same soap on his hair, face and body, then applies nothing more than deodorant when he's done, asking him to include several extra steps was almost too much.
Hey, at least I didn't make him go through my makeup routine (that's another post entirely).
This is what happened when it came down to the real beauty stuff:
It only seemed fair that Cody had to wax himself, since it's what I have to do. He begged me not to put it anywhere with too much hair, but that didn't seem fair.
So, I slapped the wax strips on the furriest parts of his thighs. Just before he pulled the wax off he began to sweat and dance, and sure enough he hollered "OW!" after every strip.
Him: "Am I bleeding?"
Him: "Are you sure? It feels like I'm bleeding."
Me: "You're not bleeding. Now do the rest of your leg. I've been doing this for more than half my life. You will get no sympathy from me!"
Now, if there's one thing I do in the name of health and beauty that Cody never understood, it's oil pulling. Look, I don't like it much either — except that it makes my mouth feel so clean. I even let him use the regular coconut oil instead of the super hippy-dippy oil I use that tastes like rotten tea and Mother Earth.
Him: "I don't want to do this"
Me: "If you give me what I want, I won't make you swish for the entire 20 minutes."
Him: "Twenty minutes?!"
After 14 years, I've fed Cody lots of things (good, bad, and terrible) and honestly, I've never seen a reaction from him that even comes close to comparing to the expressions he made while oil pulling.
He came so close to gagging it almost made me gag out of empathy. He made it less than a minute.
Honestly, I knew the biggest leap from his comfort zone was going to be the manicure and pedicure, because it would be in public and done by someone who wasn't me. And, as a special surprise, our daughters were able to attend his spa appointment as well.
The concept of their daddy getting his nails done didn't really phase them in the slightest. That was, until I told them they could pick his polish color. They squealed. Our 3-year-old started shrieking, "PURPLE! LIKE MY BUNNY!"
Cody was called back, and after I settled the girls in, I went to check on him.
At one point, our daughter came back to explain the pedicure process and told him he'd get foam flip-flops and little spongy things between his toes.
Him: (seriously) "Why does our child know so much about pedicures?"
Me: "Bonding. Very girly, very fun bonding."
One kid narrowed it down to three shades of purple, and the other made the final decision — a lavender essie color called 'Under Where?'
He was relieved that essie specifically made a product for men during his "very girly, very fun bonding" however. And the one-on-one pampering by the technician made him feel like the king of the castle.
The last treatment I subjected him to was an at-home mask. I figured he used to peel glue off his hands, so he'd obviously like to peel a mask off his face.
Guess what? I was right. I think he actually enjoyed this part! But that's our secret, OK?
Every time I wax my legs, I wonder why I put myself through the pain of general maintenance. However, when it's all said and done and everything is painted, polished and primped to perfection, I feel good. I feel powerful and feminine.
So, while you won't find me in full makeup and hair everyday, I love the ritual and I enjoy how therapeutic dolling myself up can be.
Me: "So, Cody? Are you up for daily oil pulling, weekly masks, pedicures, manicures, exfoliations, and monthly waxing?"
His face kind of says it all.
Visit StyleSeat.com to choose your preferred salon and stylist for your next essie manicure and pedicure! Shop for your favorite essie products from your favorite salon! And while you're at it, check out our super-shareable infographic and see Why You Need To Drop Everything And Get Your Nails Done, Stat.