THE BOULEVARDIER: My toes knows

Every week, our Boulevardier, Marq Frerichs (above), considers matters related to men’s style. This week: Toe polish for men. (Oh, yes.) Photograph by Giovanna Castiglione.

I had a wonderful moment yesterday.

Blissfully listening to my iPod on the subway, I felt a pair of eyes on me—you know the feeling. I thought, Oh boy, this is awkward. Did I cut someone off to get into the car; have I taken the seat before someone who obviously deserves it? Perhaps those eyes are busy thinking that my sartorial choices are off-kilter, or am I singing aloud without realizing it? I casually raised my gaze and locked eyes with a woman across the car. Her stare was full of worry.

Realizing that she had my attention, she slowly moved her eyes down my body. I followed her gaze. In lockstep, our eyes moved from my messy coif, past my vintage AllDayIDreamAboutSex jersey, with no pause at the shiny beads around my wrist. She didn’t flinch at my semi-opaque army pants (commando not an option). And so there we were, finally, staring at my feet.

I’ve got a thing about my feet. I looked up suddenly, knowing what the what-up was.

She had been dumbfounded by my shinnyhappymulticolouredglittered painted toes. To end the pregnant pause, I smiled wryly at her with a “I’m the kinda guy who rolls that way ‘cause it’s Tuesday” look. And she cracked up! There we were, both guffawing away, and suddenly the $25 bucks I spent on the pedicure was worth the price of admission. Yup, my little personal fashion “thing” had made another person’s day, if only for a moment. “It’s fashion, not rocket science” came to mind—style should be about being yourself and making yourself feel good. If others come along for the ride, so much the better.

So how did I come to this little style choice? As regular readers know, I’ve got a thing for socks, and, seeing as how it’s been 35-degrees plus for the last week, I’ve been hosiery free. Lonely, actually. No sub-calf fancies, no secret pattern—a distinct lack of pedi-colour and verve.

Fortunately, a friend of mine had just bought a five-colour polish pack. Last week, I begged her to do my toes. She made considerable noise, along the lines of “You’re crazy!” “Boys don’t do that!” Of course that was the last thing she should have said—half an hour later my nails were awesome. Even her mother agreed.

I wore the copper/gold tones for the rest of the week and, to my great surprise, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Which brings me back to yesterday. I thought to myself, It’s time for a change. It’s time for the full meal deal. So off I went to my local nail salon—Chic Nails, 715 College St.—which I only realize now, are absolutely everywhere. In the hour that I was there, my tootsies were soaked, buffed and painted, while I sat relaxing in a massage chair. I even did a little work on my phone.

At $25, it’s not a bad investment: My feet are happy again and I shared a laugh with a complete stranger. Pretty stylish, no?

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