This is fine and easy in most seasons but tricky in the summer, when warm weather necessitates weekend beach trips that are critical to maintaining my interpersonal relationships. Luckily (for everybody else), I’m extremely neurotic and vain, so I go above and beyond to make sure my feet look as perfect as they can be (which is still unfortunate but inoffensive) if I know I’m going to be barefoot in public. Do you suffer from this problem? If so, there are some tips below, and please get in touch if you’d like to talk about it sometime.
There are two paths to good-looking beach feet: Instant but uncomfortable versus prolonged but weird and fun. For the former, you can always invest in a three dollar pumice stone, but they’re triggering if you’re ticklish. For the latter, there’s Baby Foot: two plastic sacks of Japanese exfoliating goop you slip over your feet while you watch a movie. For the next three days it’s business as usual, but around day four, your feet begin to molt in a way that will truly horrify you. And it goes on for days. Day one involves peeling sheets of dead skin away from your feet, like you’re peeling an onion. Day two involves emptying your socks out of even more dead skin, like a perverted Christmas stocking. You think it’s over by day three—that you cannot possibly have this much skin on your feet, and that soon they will just be exposed muscle—but it keeps coming. By day four, it’s over, and your feet are nice and smooth and beautiful, just like God and Baby Foot intended.
Any remaining dry patches that have not been evacuated from your feet by Baby Foot are no match for a good foot cream. Neutrogena makes the best one, and it’s five dollars.
Get a Pedicure!
I don’t care what your opinions are on pedicures—they are basic summer maintenance for all people. You can try to cut your own toenails to look presentable. But it’s not going to look as good as it would if you had the appropriate tools and skills. Fortunately there are professionals ready and willing to help you, and you can read a book while it happens. The on-demand nail industry is rife with terrible labor practices, however, so depending on where you live, make sure you look into ethical salons. Typically these places treat pedicures like a premium service, which means you pay more, but it’s a nicer overall experience.
I know I said I wouldn’t describe my nails, but here we are, and I am sorry: My toenails are not the normal color that toenails should be. I would say they’re “discolored” but I feel that word connotes a curable symptom, and I have tried everything. I think this is just how I am. Anyway, when I’m getting a pedicure, I always ask for a thin coat of a light pink, fleshy nail polish (most salons stock Essie Ballet Slippers) followed by a mattifying top coat, and the result just looks like regular, perfect nails. Again, I have no time for any qualms regarding being a man and asking somebody to paint your nails for you. If you’re me, it’s a charitable act. Your friends, loved ones, and Delta cabin crew will thank you.