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Sarah Vine: Brad Pitt's trench foot
October 8th 2013
The news of Brad Pitt's trench foot highlights just how terrible men are at looking after their trotters, writes Sarah Vine
There are some things I could definitely do without knowing. The extent of Miley Cyrus’s intimate waxing, for example, or how much chia seed Gwyneth Paltrow eats. And now, most TMI news of all: Brad Pitt has trench foot.
It may of course be nothing more than a publicity wheeze; after all, he is filming a Second World War drama, Fury. Intent on maximum authenticity, the director has been pushing his actors to their limits, making them stand up to their knees in mud for hours at a time. The result: poor Brad’s feet are a mess, all peeling skin and blisters.
Sadly, it’s a situation that all too many women will be familiar with. The male foot is a strange and mysterious thing. It resides for the most part in damp, warm darkness, which probably explains its often mushroom-like appearance. Damp, grey and faintly hairy, with a unique musky odour, the average male foot doesn’t require an actual trench these days to get foot rot. Trainers and poor foot hygiene are just as effective.
The culture of pedicures that has swept through the female half of the population does not, sadly, seem to have affected our other half. Unlike waxing and other forms of grooming, having frankly disgusting feet still seems to be an acceptable signifier of manliness. Which is nonsense of course. After all, how many sexy Hobbits have you ever met?
“Men don’t look after their feet very well,’ says Deborah Gayle, Manager at The Refinery in London. ‘Their feet usually disappear into shoes or trainers in autumn and don’t appear again until the summer.’ What’s best, says Gayle, is ‘regular maintenance. A good pedicure every four to six weeks is ideal.’
Of course, the difficulty is persuading them to go. But if you can get them through the door, they’re often hooked. ‘We find that men only need to be shown once,’ says Margaret Dabbs, podiatrist to the stars. ‘They are absolutely brilliant advocates at following a product and or treatment regime as long as they can see it works. Men generally have good skin, which responds well to the right treatment, and really enjoy both the liberation of having feet that look good and don’t have to be hidden away - as well as wives or girlfriends who stop nagging them.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty that can be done on the domestic front to encourage good foot husbandry. Always dry feet properly after washing, and then apply a good moisturiser. Margaret Dabbs’s Intensive Hydrating Foot Lotion, £25, is ideal for this, and it also has mild antibacterial properties. Avoid wearing man-made fibre socks too: 100 per cent cotton is ideal, and fine merino wool for winter. And don’t spend your life in trainers; they may be comfortable, but leather shoes are much better for foot health.
And remember, whatever you do, don’t let a problem get out of hand. Or should I say foot. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.