They’ve always seemed to me to be the epitome of indulgence. And while I pretend to disdain all forms of indulgence, this is the kind that I’ve secretly always wanted to experience.
Which is why, when I showed up at Willow Brook Farm Friday evening after a long slog of a week, I was beyond delighted to find that Becky had organized a pedicure for me the next day. We’ve been good friends for awhile, Becky and I, and she knows my black and secret desires. Or should I call them pink and fairly obvious?
Feet, to me, are seriously stupid-looking appendages. Mine are bony and are widening out, the older I get; invariably they have bruises from stepping on things, kicking things, stubbing toes. Speaking of toes, mine are of odd lengths, and my little toes want to curl in under the next ones. My feet, after six months of wearing Teva sandals, have odd stripes of white (and one white triangle) where the straps have been interrupting the tan. In short, I recognize their usefulness, but I’m rather embarrassed by my feet.
Maybe that’s part of the attraction of a pedicure: someone who is totally non-judgmental babying those tootsies. Becky’s friend Roberta Blaney did baby my feet. She came to Becky’s farm, set up in front of a comfy chair in the living room, and went to work. I got a massaging foot soak–that alone made my day. One foot at a time got a pumice scrub and the callouses abraded–and as a chronic sandal wearer, when I’m not running about barefoot, my feet are some tough. Quickly and efficiently, my nails were relieved of the maroon polish I wear to distract attention from the foot-ugliness factor. I watched Roberta use some small instrument which looked as though it could be a torture device to push down the cuticles, before she trimmed them, then clipped and filed the nails until they looked like a matched set. There was some cuticle cream involved in there, and buffing. My toes, feet, ankles and lower legs were the recipients of a power massage. At last I got to examine Roberta’s supply of nail varnish colors: bright pinks, orange pinks, brownish pinks, startling reds. One bottle looked very much like the color she’d just removed–the sedate color I always put on myself (and very badly). One bottle in her case, though, was sparkly. Yes. Sparkly. Pink. A princess sort of color. A different, breathless, not-so-very-adult color. Not a serious color at all. That one, I said.
I suppose one of the reasons why my own home pedicures always end up looking beaten up after a few days is that I’ve never bothered to go to all the trouble Roberta went to with this job. A clear base coat? Not one coat of the sparkly polish, but two? And a spray fixer afterwards? It was amazing, all the time and energy she put into this. For what? Toes. My toes. Becky and I changed places, and she had her turn while my polish dried rock-solid. I kept stretching my legs out in front of me to examine my first-ever pedicure. My feet felt marvelous, and the color gave a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘tickled pink.’ Becky ended her session by choosing a vivid red for her toenails. When her husband John reappeared (he had abandoned us to our foolishness for the sanity of the garden tractor), he could only shake his head. Now you two will just go barefoot into winter. Well, I should think so!
My color, Roberta said, was called “Berry Good Dancers.” Cute, of course, and I’ve never danced very well, but I might learn if I have feet that look like this. Becky’s was “Big Apple,” which is apropos, as Becky had just entered an essay contest, the grand prize of which is an all-expense-paid trip to New York City. Serendipity, she, Roberta and I decided.
I feel incredibly girly with these feet. Totally unlike me.