Although I’m a big fan of – and by big fan of I mean slightly addicted to – massage, especially those Thai reflexology foot massages, I’ve never been to a salon for a proper pedicure. I had a friend do one once, but never the full on experience.
So I grabbed AH, a female friend of mine, partly to make my middle-aged male presence there seem less odd. Plus, together we were celebrating ‘funemployment’ – taking part in frivolous activities whose expense is questionable even when gainfully employed, and doing it when unemployed and sans income. It’s quite liberating, actually. It’s not all just for irony or goofiness either; it’s a reminder that life doesn’t have to stop when your paychecks do, and $40 here and there are not going to make or break your life. I think too many people focus on what they no longer have instead of celebrating what they do, but that’s for us to discuss in another time and place.
Together we decided on going to a mid-level nail salon for our excursion. It wasn’t the quick and dirty variety, and there weren’t servants fanning us with giant leaves, either. I suppose it’s a fairly common setup all around, with the exception of the ridiculously unnecessary Bose PA system that sat bizarrely in the middle of the U-shaped manicure area. It was clearly made for use by professional DJs, certainly costing several thousand dollars, and was connected to an iPad playing a steady stream of Muzak. I mean, sure, the bass clarity on the instrumental version of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” was outstanding, but I think they overshot their needs a bit on audio.
As we got settled in to our chairs and put our feet into the near-scalding water to get started, it was clear that AH got the nicer of the two pedicurists. She gets the friendly old Asian man, I get the cranky girl who seems pissed about missing lunch. As such, she barked orders at me to put this foot forward, now that one, now straighten it, now put it in the water… as if I was supposed to know what to do next and I was just trying to piss her off. Ahhhh, relaxing.
When my girl got around to the part where they scrub the dead skin off the feet with what I can only assume is a space-age compound designed to feel more ticklish than any other material that occurs naturally, she had lightened up a bit. She kept apologizing for tickling my feet, which was nice and all, but perhaps getting her strokes under 1,000 RPM would help.
Next up was slathering on some lotion that seemed innocuous enough, until she put on gloves beforehand and told me that she needed to because “this stuff will burn me if I don’t.” Well, wait… what about my skin? I mean you’re spreading it directly on me. Apparently it’s toxic to hands but luxuriously moisturizing to feet.
She then asked me when my last pedicure was, because “it looks like it’s been a while,” at which point Nice Asian Man told AH that “her feet look great,” as if he knew he was winning the customer service battle and was just running up the score at this point. When Angry Girl told me I really should get a paraffin wax treatment because I “have a lot of dead skin on my feet,” a break in the Muzak seemed to coincide with every other person [all women] in the spa looking at me with a certain disdain. Don’t judge me, people. Besides, isn’t that why I’m there?
The wax treatment involved bringing over what I’m pretty sure is just a crock pot with a clear oily fluid in it. Angry Girl walked me through the steps of inserting and removing the foot three times, before she spirited it directly into a plastic bag, then an oven mitt, then a McDonald’s take-out bag, and then a bowling towel. I think. I was getting mocked from AH for needing the wax treatment, until Nice Asian Man came clean and winced at her, “you could probably use it too.” Ha! Suck it!
Despite my commitment to AH that I would choose the same nail polish she did, regardless of color [she went with a nice royal purple, if you were wondering], I chickened out and went with some kind of clear coat, I think that means my toenails won’t rust or something.
All in all, a disappointment on the luxury experience side, but a big win in foot softness. You should feel these things. It’s like I’m walking on two Size 12 baby butts. I don’t know that I’ll be going back for another one any time soon, but I think I’m overdue for a facial.