To all the men who’ve never had a manicure: you know as well as I do that over the last few years—from The New York Times to Salon—traditional gender roles have been blamed for everything from the social issues we face to climate change.
Of course, not all male stereotypes are cause for concern. Some, like screaming and running out of the room every time you see a Keep Cup, are perfectly natural. Others, like bi-annually smoking a cigar, aren’t medically kosher, but help us find solidarity with our forebears. However, others—like the ones that say “men shouldn’t get their nails done”—are holding us all back from self-actualisation.
Do I exaggerate? Sure. But as the mental health professionals I recently interviewed explained, there are many cultural expectations which really do hold Australian men and women back from having healthy relationships with themselves and each other.
While there’s no quick fix to these weighty issues, I reckon opening your mind to lighter topics (like manicures) is a great way to subtly rebel.
And whether you’re a flat white slurper or a soy latte sipper—you can probably benefit from getting in touch with your feminine side. Especially here in Australia, where we labour behind Europe in the male grooming and “I don’t do keep cups” departments.
And what better way to start than a 60-minute manicure? I recently had the good fortune to road test Six Senses Uluwatu’s luxurious version, and while it may not have 100% cured my cultural hang-ups (I would still opt for black, not pink nail polish)—it did wonders for my cuticles.
Here’s why I believe every guy should get one.
It’s Relaxing, Even From The Start
Whether you’re at a fancy new resort or your local shopping mall, you get a weird sense of relief about taking 60 minutes to just sit back and do as you’re told. While it’s not quite tantric meditation, you get a real sense of tranquillity.
The Hand Scrub Is Basically A Metacarpal Climax
If you consider luxurious hand-massages a waste of money; think again. It is actually an investment in your finger, palm, wrist union. A salt and lime rub leaves you feeling like the rim of a Margarita, followed by a gentle cleansing in the mint-leaf infused water bowl.
The Nail Cutting Is Awkward But Rewarding
Let’s be real: it’s a bit weird to have someone cut your nails for you. But firstly: you’ll get over it pretty quick, and secondly: the result is miles better. Seriously: my shapely nails don’t lie…
The Filing Is An Adrenaline Rush (In A Good Way)
By this stage in the manicure, you may be relaxing a little too much. Which is why, around the midway point, the filing provides a nice jolt of excitement to proceedings, as your expert technician sculpts your nails into whatever shape you so desire.
The Cuticle Cleaner Is Not As Scary As You Might Think
Although the cuticle cleaner may look ominous to those who fear anything that wouldn’t look out of place at a dental clinic, wielded with care (as it was at Six Senses Uluwatu) it is a great way to push back your cuticles, clean everything up and—most importantly—get rid of those straggly bits you get tempted into pulling.
The Hand Massage Is A Welcome Interlude
Before your beautician switches to the other side, you will get a pleasant hand and forearm massage which—nails aside—is worth coming for itself.
The Soft File At The End Will Save Your Scalp
After repeating the first five steps on your alternative hand, your beautician will then come back to the hand they started with, to give you a soft filing and prepare your nails for the cleanser and protector. This is also a game-changer if you have long hair and are accustomed to (accidentally) ripping out stray strands with the sharp edges of your nails.
The Cleanser Is… Cleansing
Once the soft file is over you then get treated with a cleanser, which, whether you’re feeling particularly grimy or not, is quite an agreeable sensation.
The Protector Has A Nice Lacquer To It
The final stage involves buffing your nails with a protector, so your refined look lasts as long as possible, and you get that nice shiny glean that will make your partner eternally jealous (or book an appointment themselves).
The Before & After Shots Make For Instagram Gold
As long as your friends aren’t prone to the sort of savage Instagram commentary mine are, you should be set with some excellent material to post to the ‘Gram after your manicure.