The Universal Mani/Pedi
I’ve been on a search for the perfect mani/pedi. I’ve tried countless salons and I’ve noticed the more things change, the more they stay the same. There are certain things that all salons have in common.
Firstly, they are all called, a variation of, ‘Beauty Nail’, because apparently, we only have one. Plurals are a big no-no in the nail industry.
Then, when you sit in the massage chair and slip your feet into the water, it’s either:
a) hot enough to give you third degree burns
or c) has so much foam in it you look like your legs were amputated at the knee
Your friendly pedicurist will get to work on your feet. At various points throughout the pedi, she will call over her coworkers to look at your feet and they will then proceed to laugh and talk loudly, between giggles, in their native tongue. You will smile and nod awkwardly, because you have no clue what they’re saying, but you’re fairly certain it’s not complimentary. You always have a bitch slap ready just in case your Korean language skills (which are a) rusty or b) non-existent) kick in and you understand something. The only thing that stops you lashing out is remembering what happened to Foxy Brown when she did.
When the laughter dies down, you relax a little and take in some of the salon reading matter. It’s a mixture of tacky tabloids and one Elle magazine, none of which are more recent than September 2007.
But a six month old gossip rag is better than staring at the salon decor, which always consists of either pale pink or magnolia coloured walls, with one solitary picture of a hand, taken in the 1980s, sporting acryllic nails painted with all the popular colours of that era. You could get lost wondering what ever happened to the guy who took those photos. Did he die in the 80s? Is that why there are no recent pictures of hands in the salons of the world? Did he ever get to shoot anything past the wrist, or was this his life’s work?
Once the pedi’s done, you move over to the manicure table. Now you don’t have the September 2007 edition of Elle to fall back on to avoid the awkward silence. With just inches between you and the manicurist, you pretend there’s an invisible wall there and you don’t want to disturb her while she works her magic. She starts with the trimming of the cuticles. She will usually trim some much you start to wonder if you will see bone soon. She puts oil on the nails, trims them, files them and then comes the massage.
Massage under any other circumstances is relaxing. But there’s something about a hand massage that just hurts. Dependent on which school of massage/sadomasochism your manicurist graduated from, it usually amounts to:
a) her limp hands rubbing hand cream into your hands while watching the clock. You can do that yourself at home and it doesn’t cost you $25
b) she interlocks her fingers with yours, like she’s about to arm wrestle you. She then pulls her hand away, sometimes breaking your fingers in up to three places
c) using the bottom of her fist to pound your arm all the way up to your shoulder and back down again. Unless you requested to look like a battered wife, I’m not sure what this technique achieves.
The applying of the polish is quick and painless and almost erases the memory of the painful massage. Since, at this point, you’ve been in there about two and a half hours, you’re really just looking to pay and get out. But you have to wait for the polish to dry. Depending on which part of town your salon is in, it’ll either have one of those professional dryers, very futuristic that you stick your hands in and your nails are cooked in about 10 minutes. Or, they pull out those mini fans, that you never see other than at the salon. You may as well have an army of squirrels blowing on your hands for all the good those fans do. Expect to be there another 30 minutes if you get lumbered with those contraptions.
Eventually, with your powder fresh fingers and toes, you’re ready to hit the road. But make sure you get out of there before you overhear them bitching about the lousy tip you left. It’s never too late to pull a ‘Foxy’.