december 2008 the texanist
I insisted that my husband begin getting regular pedicures. He won’t. What do I do?Illustration by Jack Unruh

Q: I have finally had it with the disgusting appearance of my husband’s feet and his nasty toes. I insisted that he begin getting regular pedicures. He responded with a chuckle and said that a man could not do such a thing. Other than amputation or divorce, what are my options?
Name withheld

A: The Texanist has a friend who was once singled out, as you have singled out your beloved husband, for an “unbelievable lack of shame” regarding his “wart-covered, cadaver-like feet” with their “yellowy ingrown toenails.” He was not pleased. Such dogs are not uncommon to the male human, and while they are admittedly painful to look at, it is even more painful to have them spotlighted for ridicule by one’s own wife. That said, this friend of the Texanist’s (who is not the Texanist) eventually visited his wife’s toe lady and swore to the Texanist that the experience was actually somewhat enjoyable and that, once his feet had dried and he could get rid of those disposable aqua flip-flops, he had felt not the slightest bit emasculated. The Texanist was skeptical until one day when, having some time to kill, he wandered into a pedicure shop and requested the deluxe spa package. Two blissful hours later he emerged a changed man. While the experience was not entirely flawless—the Passion Pink toenail polish, in particular, was difficult to remove—it was thoroughly relaxing, far more relaxing, it must be said, than having one’s feet harangued by one’s helpmeet.

Q: I recently began working with a few Canadians. After I did a favor for one of them, he said, “Thank you!” and I replied, “Uh-huh.” This led him to ask me why Texans think it’s okay to say “uh-huh” instead of “you’re welcome.” First, is it really all that rude, and second, is it just us Texans who say this?
Carrie, Denton

A: In an informal setting, the casual “uh-huh” is acceptable in lieu of a more proper “you’re welcome.” Canadians are known the world over as an extraordinarily polite bunch: Politeness, in fact, is to Canada what friendliness is to Texas. It’s their thing. And here, likely, is both the origin of and answer to your Canadian friend’s query. He was being polite, and you were being friendly. If you want to engage him in an interesting discussion on regional customs, stomp on his toe, spit in his eye, or spill hot coffee in his lap and then ask him why he’s the one who is “sorry.”

Q: I am newly married to a wonderful man who was born and raised in Waco. I was born and raised in South Texas. Here’s the rub: I have lived and worked in three very exotic countries and had a fabulous time. However, when I broach the subject of vacationing abroad to my new hubby, he fears that there will be no chicken-fried steak and American Chopper. What can I do to elicit a more adventurous spirit in him?
Darla Deen, Valley Mills

A: The Texanist has two words for your spouse: vyprážaný rezeň! It’s Slovak for “chicken-fried steak.” The Texanist has two more words for him: Wiener schnitzel! That’s how Germany spells “chicken-fried steak.” Here’s another word: the exotic and dangerous-sounding milanesa, the Latin American variant. There are many words like this: the Portuguese bife panado, the English parmo, the Polish kotlet schabowy, and the Czech Republic’s smažený Å™ízek. There is even a Persian version, but the Texanist can’t write Arabic. The CFS is not, as your ungallivanting darling probably believes, unique to George’s Restaurant in Waco. Delicious incarnations of pounded, breaded, and fried meat can be found the world over. The Texanist suggests presenting the idea of exotic travel to him as the Deen Family Chicken-Fried Steak World Tour. This is your only real hope of finally uncouching him. Bon appétit and happy trails!

Q: What can I do about a neighbor’s extra-bright security light, which illuminates both the exterior and interior of my house the whole night through?
Crystal R., Baytown

A: Incredibly, the Texanist recently found himself in this very situation. Having treaded to dead ends all the obvious avenues for communicating his dismay (revving his monster truck in the driveway on Sunday morning, leaving a flaming bag of dog mess on the doorstep, toilet-papering the elm out front) and still finding himself besieged every night by the blinding wattage of his neighbor’s offensive bulb, he finally turned to a more direct approach. You may recall from previous columns that the Texanist is the proud caretaker of a .41-caliber single-action Colt with a long barrel that once belonged to his grandfather. Known humorously within the family as the Widowmaker, this powerful sidearm has for years been mounted on the wall in a shadow-box frame with a small brass plaque. It turns out, though, that disuse has only increased the weapon’s range and accuracy. An argument could be made that its terrifying, earsplitting report—not to mention its composite shingle—shattering force—made the Widowmaker an unwise problem solver for the early-morning hour when the Texanist, well-oiled from a trip to his favorite watering hole, decided to finally take the matter into his own hands. Such, at least, was the opinion of the on-duty officer who was summoned to the scene. Nevertheless, the Texanist stands by his decision to open fire. That lamp had it coming.