I slept in on Father’s Day. We had been hosting soccer coaches from England with the Soccer in the Streets program for two weeks. They were ‘lovely’ and it was a ‘brilliant’ fortnight but extended hosting can be exhausting. I feel like I never got over the jet lag. In a related note, I’m wondering how much longer British colloquialisms will be taking up residence in my brain. But a good sleep had me ‘well-sorted’ and Kristen made me eggs and toast which were well, lovely.
It’s a good deal. Dads get a day in mid-June, and my family generally adheres to the tradition. Some guys might want to spend the day fishing or hiking or golfing but a super busy start to summer had me thinking more along the lines of watching golf on TV.
Margo gifted me a “Best Dad Ever” beer koozy, which I planned to use while grilling that evening so really the only thing I was missing was a flawless set of toenails. At least that’s what the rest of my family had in mind for the day. I’ve never had a pedicure and I’m as ticklish as a 5-year-old in the giggle patch. Plus, I get a little weird about anyone touching my feet. It felt like an ambush.
My sister Eileen once recounted a trip to the salon where the woman massaged her lower legs and said to her “You’re skinny (pause) down here.” And my sister is a pretty small person so my impression was that pedicures entail undue ridicule and an awkward interaction with a stranger. Still, Kristen absolutely needs the occasional pedicure at Viet Traditional Nails in Decatur like I need dental floss after eating corn-on-the-cob so there must be something to it.
Elliott’s birthday was that weekend too and he wanted a pair of Birkenstocks as a present. But before he could put his puppies on display, he really needed to address the puzzle at the end of his feet. Toenail grooming is not a top priority to 12-year-old boys. Elliott’s digits have the aesthetic of a caveman who kicks rocks to pass time. He was down for a pedicure, and I was mildly intrigued.
We had spent Memorial Day weekend at Lake Oconee and they still had a certain Georgia Red Clay hue to them. Ultimately, I relented and joined the outing. Margo opted for the full mani-pedi while I decided mine should be called the Manpedi – denoting a man bravely venturing into his first pedicure. Of course, a quick Google search shows that term already exists. Manpedi has its own Twitter handle and Insta-everythings so it seems I’m not very clever at all. I have so much to learn.
It started with a soothing foot bath while the massage chair went to work on my back. Not bad. Then the technician started to work around the cuticles and Kristen asked how I was doing. I hadn’t reflexively kicked anyone so I figured that was a good start. Only I must have thought that out loud. The woman looked up and asked, “Are you going to kick me?” I explained I was going to try very hard not to. She turned to her co-worker and said something in Vietnamese and they both giggled. Good times.
But I have to say, it was quite pleasant. It didn’t hurt or tickle and the lower leg massage felt well, brilliant. I think next time I injure my calf muscle I may skip physical therapy and head straight to the nail salon.
Kristen and Elliott came home from Abbadabbas with a pair of Birkenstocks for me as well. I’m feeling pretty toe-confident now so I probably won’t even wear socks with them. Hope all you other dads found your happy place this Father’s Day.
Tm Sullivan grew up in a large family in the Northeast and now lives with his small family in Oakhurst. He can be reached at tim@sullivanfinerugs.com.

Tim Sullivan

Tim Sullivan is an award-winning columnist who writes about family life and thinks everything is at least a little funny. tim@sullivanfinerugs.com