February 22, 2009

It's not that I'm not girly. I am. I curl my hair, I wear makeup -- even on my eyes -- I slather all manner of creams and masques on my face, and I have been known to get the occasional facial. However, I've only had one manicure in my life -- for my wedding and when I lost a flake of New England Nutmeg in less than 24 hours, it soured me on the whole practice -- and I HATE pedicures.

I have a distinct memory of my parents restraining me on a changing table in my little yellow nursery in Washington, D.C., trying to cut my toenails, while I kicked and squalled.

Who knows why I had that reaction, because my loving parents never actually hurt me. In fact, there wasn't even an incident of blood flowing from the halls in a remote mountain hotel. Still, unless it's for a firm-handed massage, I've simply never been able to stand people touching my feet.

For me, it's like nails on a blackboard or thinking too hard about my bellybutton (no time for THAT particular neurosis now), having my feet touched makes me feel...ooky.

I've given in to pedicures only three times -- to be a sandal-shod bridesmaid, for a girl's thing, and a final one, because I thought I was getting painful calluses from training for the 5K and couldn't bring myself to buy a PedEgg. (Though, apparently Jeff bought one and thinks it's fantastic.)

When the pedicurist pulls my first foot out of the bubbling tub, I bear down hard. Only the thought of standing barefoot in a puddle with the entire salon staring at me keeps me from ripping my wet, soapy foot out her hands and scrambling out of the chair.

Sweating profusely at the effort this takes, I turn up the frequency of the massage chair and try to drown out the feel of the orange stick excavating my cuticles for dead skin, followed by the sandpaper block scuffing smooth the rough flats of my heel and that outcropping nub on my big toe. I concentrate hard on the mostly ineffectual rollers trying vainly to reach my lower back, dig my short, unpolished nails into the armrests, and stare deeply into the seams of whatever book or trashy magazine I brought to distract me from kicking the pedicurist in the face.

I don't want to kick her in the face. I'm sure she's a very nice person and has no idea how tormented I am by her buffing and clipping. It's just that the kick would be involuntary and her face would be right there in the way.

I hate pedicures.

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