The results of a professional pedicure are indisputable; glossy red toe nails; silky smooth skin; cuticles whacked back to no longer resemble caulking, encroaching along the sides of an ancient tub. No question, I need a pedicure, and yet I hesitate.
The ladies who have mastered these "footy" arts are invariably Thai or Vietnamese. They are sweet and pretty and smile muchly, but I cannot understand their particular version of this English language, which I usually so enjoy. They, apparently don't understand me either.
They are frequented by clients who don't mind spending an hour of their lives soaking their feet, and who positively crave having hot wax treatments massaged into the calves of their legs. As far as I am concerned, my feet stop at the ankle. I don't want anyone I don't know reasonably well rubbing my legs.
So, when I walk into a nail salon and get through the smiling, head-bobbing, greeting phase; pass the little altar with it's ribbons, bells and/or incense burning; and try to explain that all I want is a pedicure; short version; no frills. I always wonder what lies ahead.
This is how it usually goes:
My feet soak and I feel as if I have already spent more time than necessary getting hot and pruny. The girls are good though. They trim and snip and apply oils. They act surprised and a little offended when I fend off their approach with the hot wax. Did I not tell you I don't want that? Please just paint my nails and let me out of here.
They are tenacious. Back in numbers, one woman tries to talk me into a manicure, which for gardening, horse riding, construction business me, is a lost cause. She hints I may need other painful services involving hot wax. No, No, Not I! The final assault is from behind. They come at me with hot round river rocks and rub them on the back of my neck and shoulders. Again I am a curmudgeon and resist.
I suspect that these ageless girls understood all along that I wanted a fast track, minimally invasive pedicure. I believe that by feigning incomprehension these business women put me in a position of paying for the more complete services which have been forced upon me.
We are into the final round of our battle of wills. This is the part I understand and appreciate.
My pedicurista applies multiple layers of lacquer. Clear then red, red again then more clear. Shellacked like a corvette, my toes don't look half bad.