In the past ten years, has the definition of being a man changed? The trend has been for men to be more like women. To be the strong, silent type who provides and talks about feelings as often as he clips his toenails is no longer acceptable. Now each male must own one of these, pluck his eyebrows, use skin cream and sometimes shave in unthinkable areas.

Is it possible to cave in on some of these modern demands and retain one’s testosterone? Or is it a slippery slope toward frosted tips once a guy gives in to any such suggestion from his spouse? I was man enough to find out.

This weekend was month three of a personal marriage experiment. We are doing monthly “big dates”. It alternates that one of us plans a date. For April, I planned to re-enact dates one through three. The dates were in late August of 2002. On the third date, I was “man” enough to attempt the good-night kiss and the rest is history.

Overall the re-enactments went well. On Friday night we found out that the location of our second date, Rock Bottom Brewery, no longer exists. We were able to improvise at a nearby restaurant and finished off with a drink at the Grand Hyatt. The hotel is now surrounded by high rises, which somewhat obscures the view from the Japanese Garden. On Saturday I took the wife to the Fox Theatre, where our second date ended. We did a tour, which was fun. We then moved on to the Vortex in Midtown.

Here’s where my attempt to be an alpha male nearly went terribly wrong. In the summer of 2002 I was newly single after breaking off a long relationship that nearly literally killed me. I wasn’t getting regular raises at my job, and the women I dated were generally successful. I was tired of the man-always-pays theory of dating and decided to test this theory on poor wifey by telling her that on our second date that she’d be paying for dinner. She did, although it was nearly a deal-breaker.

As they say, revenge is a dish best served cold, or in the case of my cheeseburger and onion rings, rather hot. She “forgot” her purse in the car and I paid, finally.

Wifey’s note: I did not leave the purse in the car on purpose. Carry on.

Have I lost anyone yet? Yeah, I’m supposed to be getting to the point. This is what the call in the journalism biz “burying the lead”. There was one last part to this date, a part that wasn’t in the original plans and most certainly not part of our 2002 courting. The suggestion of what I was about to do in 2002 would be like correctly predicting who the President in 2009 would be.

I got a pedicure.

That’s right, loyal followers, I went into an unnamed salon and had a Vietnamese woman who barely spoke English do unspeakable things to . . . my feet. To prove that this is a very manly thing, two other guys had the treatment while I was there. We did not make eye contact.

I’ve had a few massages, and generally speaking I have enjoyed them. Frankly, you could have put me in a room, stuck my head in that doughnut pillow, played Enya for an hour while I napped and it would have been just about the same experience. Being touched for me can be an uninspiring feeling.

I’m not going to revisit the entire process, because my mind is trying to block it out. You sit down in a giant chair that has a mini-Jacuzzi in the bottom. There’s room for the legs about halfway to the knee. Most of the time the pedicurist looked at me, talked to the woman next to her, and giggled. I’m glad Alison was there to translate.

The Jacuzzi part isn’t bad. I didn’t really like the massage chair, because every setting seemed to nearly push me out of the chair. I don’t need to be manhandled when I’m being girly. Your nails are clipped. Every surface is scrubbed and clipped. Me no likey the emery board. The scrapey thing that was like the green side of the sponge you have in the kitchen sink was less like torture than I anticipated. I was pumiced. Only when she proceeded to the exfoliating scrub at the end did I finally return to reading Galileo’s Daughter. The pedicure had not been invented in 1600s Italy, I’ll tell you that much.

I got one last soak and it was over. I thought about giving the woman a fist bump but she probably would have pressed charges. My final task was to sit and wait while Alison got a manicure. I did not hold the purse but it would have been poetic.

Somehow I did not have the urge to watch redecorating shows on cable. I spent two late hours last night and most of Sunday catching up on the NFL draft. I still have a pair. There are times in life that you have to attempt new experiences, even if your friends will make fun of you until the end of time for it. I’m a better, and perhaps metro-er, man for it.

The best part is now I can wear open-toed shoes.

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