Yesterday I got my first pedicure.
I got my first salon pedicure at 38 years old. Why on earth did I wait so long?
A day at the salon together was a treat me and my friend Rowan gave ourselves to celebrate the end of the semester and Rowan making a B in a difficult physics class she wasn’t even sure that she would (or could) pass. We went to Beauty Parade, the outstanding local salon owned by new mom Terra, who proudly showed off her beautiful new 5-week-old son, Lyman.
I just wanted a cut and a pedicure. Rowan, always a more leisured creature, went for the works: four-color foil highlights, a cut, a pedicure and a brow wax. We pretty much spent almost the whole day at the salon, from 9:30 AM when we had coffee and egg sandwiches at West End Bakery, to 2:30 or so when I finally left, leaving Rowan on the waxing table with blobs of wax spread onto on her face. When I knocked on the door to tell her I was leaving and to just meet me at my house (where we were having a “yarn show” for her to pick out yarn for the legwarmers she wanted), she had an utterly blissed-out look on her face, a brow-waxed madonna, Our Lady of the Beauty Splurge.
Like chocolate, salon services just do something deeply transformative and beautiful to women’s souls. They make us happy deep inside. Driving home I mused about how I had paid a lot of money for my day of beauty, but the joy and pleasure I took from it were easily worth three times what I paid.
I’d neglected my poor feet all summer, and had begun to wonder if my recent sickness wasn’t somehow marking the last gasps of my youth. I had begun to think myself as at a crossroads, where I could either accept ill health (overweight, lack of energy) as the new me, or shoulder the tremendous and unending burden of working — yet again — to reclaim my lost spark. To get my groove back. Because it’s been missing for months on end. I had begun for the first time in my life to feel diminished and unsure how to get back to where I had been, and had begun to wonder if the feeling was permanent, and if even I had the strength to make it only temporary.
And I never thought a day at a salon would provide impetus to changing my life, but it really kind of did. Yesterday I had cracked heels and a scaly, yellowing dry patch on the side of each big toe. Today I have moisturized, massaged, rested feet with creamy skin and bright red nails. I have all-new feet that seem to have been reborn. Good god. You really can fight decline, but that is what you must do: fight. Or at least, respect and love yourself by choosing health over a hopeless and frustrated surrender to change.
And Rowan? Truly a gloriously beautiful person (I can’t introduce her to any of my hetero male friends without them just being kind of stunned by her very presence) , she got burgundy and blond highlights in her naturally curly, naturally red hair. She said she was looking too “Little House on the Prairie” lately, and wanted a less virtuous look. Her new layered cut looks like Robert Plant’s 70s heyday style, kind of a fabulous, curly, leonine rockstar cut.
(Shown: Robert not Rowan.)
She looks absolutely stunning and radiated happiness all day.
Me, I just got a little off the back and a trim all over, and that glorious first-time pedicure. If you have never gotten one, just go get one. (There were men getting them, too. Men have feet [I’ve heard it’s true], and feet are dreadfully easy to neglect.) A salon pedicure entails a long delicious foot-soak in warm scented water (mine had ylang ylang bath salts) in a tub with jets that massage your feet. Then someone cleans under your toenails (LOL sounds kind of nasty and maybe is, but doesn’t that fact that you have something there to remove mean that it should in fact be removed?), and trims and files your nails. Then they take a callus-scraper to your feet, paying special attention to your big toe and heel, and if you took a look at your feet right now you would know why.
Then you get a foot and calf massage with massage oil (mine was pina colada scent) , which is one of the most fabulous things I have experienced. And then two coats of polish (me: hooker red; Rowan: sparkly purple) and coat of shiny clear polish.
And really, I just couldn’t believe how pretty my feet looked. My skin was soft and smooth, my toenails dolled up like ten tiny Vegas showgirls. I felt feminine and pretty and had not even gotten my hair cut yet.
Later on at my house, Rowan and I would spontaneously embrace one another just from the pure joy of the day. Truly, I enjoy being a girl.
It seems that summer has finally arrived. Not the literal summer due to arrive in just a few days, but the summer of my life’s rhythms, the time when I have a little sunshine and new growth inside my worn-out soul at last.