Last week, I finally got around to getting a much needed winter pedicure. I decided to use a gift certificate that Hubs got me for Christmas to an upscale spa in town. Usually, I go to what I call a Drive- Thru Nail Salon - you know what I am referring to, I'm certain you do. Walk-in, quick -but not necessarily painless spa service. I've been going to a number of them for years because quite frankly, as a SAHM, my guilty conscience has a much easier time of paying $30 for a pedicure at a Drive Thru than $75 at a Swankalicious Spa. What could possibly be the difference anyway?
I'm about to tell you.
When I go to a Drive- Thru Spa, the moment I enter, I am pushed around with simple, charade-like gestures.
"YOU, go sit there and wait."
"YOU..go pick color for toes."
"YOU..take shoes and socks off."
Disclaimer: (Let's take a time out for a moment. I have friends from all walks of life, I respect all people, all kinds, all races, all accents. I am telling a story and giving my critique of pedicures. Can we look past my decorative details, and give me the benefit of the doubt that this is NOT an anti-anyone rant? I am Greek, and when the day comes that I do another story on Greeks, I will use the same figurative, descriptive language to tell the story of my own people.)
I admire these girls. Most of them come here for a better life, with the promise of riches and freedom and all of the liberties that come with living in America. I think they are brought here from another country by family members and friends before they are able to learn the language. Once they have learned the skills needed for this exhausting line of work, they are put in a salon to endure long, hard hours, probably for peanuts, but who knows.
That being said, I would think it is very hard to try to go through the day-to-day functions at a salon without being able to speak to their customers to make them comfortable. So what is left to do to pass the day?
To each other.
In another language.
Probably at your feet.
So here's the thing, do we really feel so insecure about our feet and ourselves to think that these girls have nothing better to do than to sit and talk about our feet every day, all day long? How many times can they snicker and say to each other in their native tongue, "you're lucky, I'd rather be working on your girl with the hammertoes instead of being stuck with bunion girl."
Next time you think they are talking about you, keep in mind they probably are not, they are probably talking about how much they hate the Kardashains and how they wish they could change the channel to something other than E! on the tv behind them.
Moving on..to the drive thru experience, where was I?
Oh yes, I've been motioned to go to a chair, to sit, to wait, to pick a color. I am seated in a massage chair right in front of a blaring tv. Not sure if this is the most relaxing background I could hope for, but how bad can it be? It's a pampering pedicure right?
I get the feeling she's in a rush as she starts scrubbing my feet in the water tub. She was taught the monetary importance of turnover...quicker pedicures, quicker turnover...more turnover, more money. She starts clipping my toenails, fast and furious, and is going to cut me. Happens every time. On to the bottoms of my feet. She takes some kind of sawing device and starts shaving the bottom of my feet sending me into a seizure off of my chair. She knows a word for this.
|This tool is abusive and torturous. No, not ticklish! PAINFUL!|
"Yes," I say painfully.
You need a callous remover, ten dolla extra?
"Sure, why not?" Someone is telling me my feet are a disaster while holding them in her hands. Am I really in a position to say no?
She puts on some crazy heavy duty gloves AND a surgical mask and reaches for a bottle of callous remover. Problem. The active ingredient, which I can only assume to be some sort of Acid, is literally chewing through the bottle causing the bottle to erode before my eyes. I can only wonder in horror what it is going to do to my skin.
|The surgical mask and gloves should've told me to decline the callous remover treatment.|
She slathers on thick cream while I watch in fear. She then quickly removes it with paper towels, taking 6 layers of my skin with them. Our eyes never make contact, it is like our dirty little secret. She applies some illegal type of acid to my feet, I say nothing, and she keeps the condition of my heels under her cute little Hello Kitty bedazzled hat. Shameful.
Next, to my favorite part - the leg massage. It starts off quick but gentle and suddenly takes a wrong turn. She gets a call on her cell phone, starts talking and quickly becomes agitated. I look up to the wall at the "no cell phones allowed in the spa" sign and can't help but wonder if this applies to patrons only or maybe she can't read English. I keep my mouth shut and try to enjoy the massage. She begins yelling into the phone. Now I know she's not talking about my feet. It's much worse. She starts violently, aggressively rubbing my calves down to the bone and I am certain that I am going to have black and blue legs to match the blue sparkly nail polish I picked from the new OPI line. Finally, she hangs up the phone and throws it in the drawer of her pedi caddy and slams it shut, startling me yet again.
"YOU GET MANICURE TOO."
Is this a question or is she making a statement. Regardless, I'm kind of scared of pissing her off.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"YOU NEEDA MANICURE TOO."
What is wrong with me..is she suggesting my nails look awful because I know this already..or is she asking me?
"Ummm, I do need a manicure, I know my nails look awful but not today thank you."
"AHHHA OHHO OK. NO MANICURE."
"OK." I breathe a sigh of relief. That was akward.
Moving along, she paints my toes perfectly in record time and shellacs them with some crazy spray.
"YOU go sit with foot under dryer fie minutes then leave."
I move quickly, swiftly, like a good soldier and take my place next to the other women staring into space.
The sweet older lady next to me leans over to me innocently.
"I can't help but always feel like they are talking about me."
"I know, but I'm sure they aren't." I say, reassuring her and myself.
Her pedicurist starts yelling about something and comes over to the poor lady next to me.
"YOU DONE NOW. GO."
She quickly grabs her things and does as she is told. They run a tight ship here at McPedicures...over 10 billion served. Next in line please!
The Swankalicious Spa Pedicure.
From the moment I walk in to the waiting room I am greeted with two things. The soft warm smell of lavender and the soothing sounds of the Pan Flute. Ahhh, yes, this is the life.
The girl behind the desk ever-so-calmly takes my name, tells me how glad she is that I am there, and says to please, find a comfortable spot by the fireplace, someone would be there soon to take me back to the pedicure room.
|The swanky spa waiting room..much quieter approach than sitting on a couch in a packed waiting room staring at Koi fish.|
I take a spot near the fireplace in the most wonderful fluffy chair that gently hugs me as I sit down. I am certain my eyes are about to close when I feel a slight touch on my shoulder.
"Hello. It's time." She places a heated, weighted neck wrap around my shoulders that magically starts to help me decompress.
What a difference from the cattle prod I got at the drive-thru! And no one is yelling at me or around me. I don't know how to react.
Instead of the hot pressure-washer to violently clean my feet that I was used to at the drive-thru, she gently placed my feet into a Pottery-Barn-type basin and washed them like they were tiny babies.
She is quiet and gentle with a peaceful disposition. It is the most heavenly, relaxing touch my feet have felt in years. She tranquilly (yes that is a word) begins rubbing my calves that are no doubt still traumatized from being mutilated at the drive by months ago. The Pan flute continues and I find myself drifting off.
|She gently cradled my feet like newborn babies.|
When I wake up from what appears to be a catnap, my toes are done. And dried. I slept through the last 45 minutes of the pedicure. I am groggy yet tranquil. Confused yet content. This is clearly the difference between a speed-i-cure and a spa-dicure.
Until the next time, I remain callous free and yours truly,