Heard on the Hill: Meek’s Man-icure

Posted March 26, 2010 at 5:34pm

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.

[IMGCAP(1)]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.

Her name’s origin makes for good cocktail-party small talk: Her mother was really hungry on the day she was born (it was Christmas) and named her after a commercial that came on TV. “I’m just glad there wasn’t a commercial for hot dogs,” Ashby says. “Or else things could have turned out differently.”

Surely there must be stories just as interesting behind some of the other names in the running, like Rich Tanguy, Shamiracle Johnson, Furious Bradley or Spontaneous Gordon.

Other names on the list that HOH couldn’t help but think would make great names for Capitol Hill staffers (or even Members of Congress): Can Du and Starzanne Stripes.

On the Market. Looking to move into a new place? An HOH spy came across a studio apartment with “old world charm” located near the Capitol that could be the perfect fit — and it appears your landlord would be an ex-Member of Congress.

Our spy discovered an ad on Craigslist promoting the 400-square-foot apartment, which is located in a carriage house on the 600 block of Massachusetts Avenue Northeast. Property records show the building belongs to former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), who left Congress in 2009 after running (unsuccessfully) for the Senate.

Wilson’s digs — complete with new paint and carpet — are billed as having “tons of charm and private outdoor space, perfect for grilling or just relaxing.” Other features include a balcony, deck and patio, a fenced yard, a fireplace and electronics, including an oven and refrigerator. (Sorry, there’s no washer or dryer).

Interested? The space is being offered through Keller Williams Capital Properties for $1,150 a month.

Overheard on the Hill. “Intended Recipient: College Bacon”

— a delicious-sounding earmark request put forth by Rep. Dan Boren for a campus-based homeland security program (protecting the precious pig population, perhaps?). Note: The Oklahoma Democrat is actually referring to Bacone College in Muskogee, Okla.

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