Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Trip to the ProfessioNAIL Salon

Hi, You Guys.
Today I went and had a pedicure for the very first time, at the ProfessioNAIL beauty salon, which is in our local Mall, right next door to Petworld, which has the cutest real live puppies and kittens in the window. I clutched my purse on my lap somewhat nervously as I reclined on a black recliner chair with my feet in a swirling warm footbath of what looked like blue Gatorade. I tried to relax and focus on the Michael Jackson concert on TV.

It is very strange territory for me, this whole beauty thing.

Normally, I do not spend much on my appearance. I shop at thrift stores or Kmart for my clothes. I know what suits me and what doesnt - I am never fashionable, but I would venture to say I am a little stylish in my own way.

I do not wear makeup aside from occasional lipstick. I have small practical hands which do a lot of piano-playing, cooking and gardening. Calluses, yes. False nails? Never! Everyone in my family has their hair cut at home by me. Im not a hairdresser; I figured it out by watching real hairdressers, then I practiced on my kids. I'm not bad. I do my husband's hair. I have even been known to cut my own hair (badly).

Lately I have been feeling a little sad. Maybe a little overworked, a tad underacknowledged. I said to my husband, "I think it would be good for me to go have a pedicure. The other girls are doing it. And it might be nice to just sit back and relax and have someone take care of my feet."
My husband said, "Yes, any time you want. Just do it!"

And this was how I came to be sitting in a tub of Gatorade in the ProfessioNAIL salon.

I sat there for 15 minutes. I read a few pages of Barrack Obama's biography which I had in my purse. Then I listened to some more Michael Jackson. Being a trumpet player, I am always listening to trumpet lines in any song. I know a lot of the trumpet licks to the MJ songs by heart. I begin to sing them in my head and visualize playing them.

After a while a small Asian lady in a pink tunic knelt down to work on my feet. A routine ensued which went something like this:
She took each of my feet out of the water, and clipped my nails and removed dead skin. She then applied blobs of goo on each toenail. I guess it was cuticle remover, maybe. That got to soak for a little while. Then she got this gadget with a razor blade inside it and shaved bit of skin off my heels and the soles of my feet. My feet are pretty tough. There is possibly years worth of callused skin, not to gross you out or anything, but I do go around barefoot all summer (that is, 5 months of the year).

This was followed by the application of nice-smelling lotions to my legs and feet. Followed by more lotions. Followed (finally) by nail polish. And more nail polish. And then, some clear glossy nail polish over the top of that.

The Asian lady was either Vietnamese or Philipino. She kept giving me instructions on what to do next, but I couldn't hear her because there was a lot of high-pitched buzzing in the salon from these whirly gadgets they use to file down ladies fingernails. And in any case, I was tuned in to the trumpets in MJ's band.

So I came across like a person who doesn't speak English, which (ironically) was how she dealt with me. I didn't mind.

At about this point I realized that I had been gazing around the room from my black recliner throne, unconsciously taking in the sights. There were many ladies having manicures. Suddenly I was visually struck by a pair of boobs which clanged my alarm bells. Like inflated melons, they jutted out from their owner's small chest and rested on the manicure table. I don't usually have a clue whose boobs are real and whose are fake. It never crosses my mind. But these boobs screamed Fake! to me.

Not wanting to stare, I averted my gaze to her closest neighbour. This youngish lady there had hair that was tinted the colour of carrots and ...lo and behold, big fat lips. These lips were not just a little bee-stung, but attacked by the whole darn hive. Her lips were so swollen, I am sure she was unable to smile. She glanced at me blankly, and I looked away.

Only to notice that the lady beside her had grey hair. A sleek long bob of straightened hair, with bangs flat across her forehead. All in shades of silver, slate and dark grey. The owner of the hair would have been no more than 25 years old. Premature aging? Or fashion statement? Golly, I just don't know.

As I scanned the entire salon, I could not find one person there (besides myself) who had their original honest-to-goodness hair colour. Not that I have anything against dying one's hair. I am thinking of going there, quite soon in fact.

I just felt rather taken aback when I started to consider how much time, effort and money these ladies put into their appearance.
Boob job $25,000
Collagen lip injection, $600
Manicure & pedicure, $60 per month
Hair do, $250 per quarter
Clothes, ??? per year, I bet we are not shopping at Thrift stores either.
Makeup, ??? per year

It has taken me years to feel entitled to treat myself to one single pedicure. Where I come from, vanity is a major sin. We are all about hard work, frugality and humility. Who's right? Who's wrong?

I just thank goodness for the fact that my husband loves me exactly as I am. The only time I get nervous about my appearance is when I am going out with other girls!



  1. You made me laugh with this post - I think we were separated at birth [if not by a continent or two, right?]

    I can't do salons - I want to and I need to as I have an important get together in a few weeks but I literally let my 18 year old [not a cosmotology student] cut my hair and do my own nails. I have never had a pedicure. The gatorade scares me to tell you the truth. hee

    Yep, we are sisters/partners in crime Michaela - but I bet your toesies look and feel AWESOME.

  2. Awww Michaela,
    Your first pedicure :)- you described it, but did you LIKE it?

    I get pedicures on a fairly regular basis and have had artificial nails for about 16 yrs.

    I got my first set of artificial nails when my son was a year old. (he is turning 17 in Dec.) I hated the way I looked @ the time because I had still not lost the baby weight. My mom took me to the salon and "treated" me. Now I have to admit that I have ALWAYS pretty much been a girlie girl so this was right up my alley. My own nails have always been weak so I could never get them to look "nice". Through the years I have had the long painted obviously fake nails but in the past 8 years or so I have opted for a french manicure 99% of the time- I switched to gel nails 3 yrs ago which are better for your "real" nails and I keep them at a shorter length now b/c it looks more natural. I have tried numerous times to "go natural" and go back to my own nails, but now I feel naked without my nice nails- they have become a part of me.

    Getting my nails done is one of my "guilty pleasures" I work hard and have to participate in numerous meetings during the week & it gives me pleasure to look @ my hands and feel that they look nice. I have a feeling that if I felt happier with the way I looked (i.e. my weight) then my nails would not be as important to me. :)

  3. you know this post was such a well written little snippet of your life, it is my favorite post, you are so talented. i felt like it was me in there with the blue water swirling around my feet, which, by the way, i need to do SOON!

    smiles, bee

  4. Wives tend not to fully realize that husbands like them the way they are. Too much pizzazz at one time is disconcerting.

    Congrats on the tootsie work.


  5. I'm with you, can't even comprehend how women can spend all that money on that crap... and when all is said and done, I bet the huge lips don't make them really feel better anyway! (the reason some get addicted, and get more and more done I'm sure)

    I don't hardly ever where makeup either, and when I do it's also lip stick.
    Never been to a Salon, and have cut my own hair also... and dyed it at home a few times... getting bored, maybe I'll dye it soon.

    Thanks for sharing your first pedicure with us! It really did feel like I was right there :)

  6. Wow, interesting people watching. My former barber rented out part of his place to a woman doing nails... I stopped going because I couldn't take the fumes.

  7. Michaela, you are so humorous with this posting, I laughed till I cried. I wasn't laughing at you but with you as you so aptly discribed my first visit to get a pedicure done. It sounds as if the shops are the same all over the world. I'm with Skippy, the blue gatorade thing was a little hard to take and I have ticklish spots on the soles of my feet so it was quite a performance whenever she touched them. I will admit that I did feel "pretty" after having them done but couldn't see myself spending $60 every 6 weeks for someone to paint my toenails when I have been going "au naturale" for my whole life. I did try the fake nails a couple of times but got a fungus under them so now I just have my own, which are quite long and I paint them pretty colors. When I break one I just trim them all back and start over again, no cost except for the polish and a bottle lasts a long time. I must admit I do color my hair (Walmart $10.99 and I can get 2 colors out of it) but I do have it professionally cut. I tried cutting it once, think I was 6 or 7, and it was a pretty awful job. Vanity is something that we so much of in this world it's nice to know that there are some out there that enjoy just being ourselves.

    WARNING: If you are getting professional pedicures pick a shop that does not use the circulating commercial foot bathes. I got terrible planter's warts from my session and still fight to get rid of them on a regular basis.