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Heard on the Hill: Meek’s Man-icure

HOH applauds a man who’s man enough to indulge in some springtime grooming. Kudos, then, to Rep. Kendrick Meek, who got a pedicure at the Capitol Nails salon Thursday night.

The Florida Democrat didn’t seem embarrassed at all about his need to get his feet tended to, arriving at the popular salon in a suit with two staffers in tow. He sat in a pedicure station near a window overlooking Massachusetts Avenue, where the passersby included plenty of Hill aides, says an HOH spy who witnessed the exfoliation session firsthand.

Meek, who’s running for Senate, asked one of the fellows with him whether he had ever had a pedi. When the staffer answered in the negative, Meek joked, “You never forget your first time.”

He also cracked wise with the salon worker, telling her she needed to break out “the heavy equipment” for his presumably rough (and large, our spy says) tootsies.

Meek spokesman Mahen Gunaratna says his boss’s trip to Capitol Nails was more about comfort than vanity. “His dogs were barking,” Gunaratna says. “Between pacing the halls for the health care vote and traveling up and down the state, it takes a toll on his feet.”

Male politicians have sometimes taken knocks for getting pedicures — former Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) was criticized during his flirtation with the New York mayoral race for being out of touch after telling a New York Times reporter that he got regular pedicures (although we suspect that his professed preference for chauffeured cars and helicopter rides over the subway contributed to his elitist tag).

But female Members are often spotted getting treatments at Capitol Nails — HOH has personally seen everyone from Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) there.

And having seen enough ragged cuticles and revealing man-dals, HOH for one applauds Meek for his beautification efforts. After all, somebody has to put the “man” in “manicure.”

The Name Game. What’s in a name? Some mighty weird stuff, according to the annual Name of the Year contest, in which a Hill staffer named Pizza Ashby is in the running.

Ashby, a Democratic staffer on the House Homeland Security Committee, is a 13-seed pick in a March Madness-like bracket that the contest organizers created. She’s pitted against others with unusual names, like Banana Yaya, Cynnamon Crabb, Dinero Fudge and Pepi Hamburger, just to name a few of the food-inspired contestants.

Ashby, though, wasn’t even aware of the national contest (check out nameoftheyear.blogspot.com for all the entries) until HOH came calling. She tells us that she’s always been proud of having a unique name. “It helps you stand out,” she said.

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