The Traditional New York City Pedicure

So I am finally getting a long overdue pedicure. This current span has been about 2 months or 68 days, but who’s counting? I like to let the nails grow unattractively long in the true spirit of martyrdom. Then I wear sandals and constantly draw attention to how badly I need a pedicure, by saying things like “How badly do I need a pedicure?”

The trick is to go as infrequently as possible and only surrender when your nails split and a jagged edge pulls threads in your sheets, thereby making a 3 AM roll over feel like chewing on metal. Most importantly do not, under any circumstance, remove the polish. This way you have undeniable proof of your hectic schedule. It implies that your “me time” is so sparse that you don’t even have enough to simply wet a cotton ball.

Today I arrived with the red so far at the tip it looked as if I was starting a new trend in French pedicure. Sarabeth, whose real name is Choi Jae Hua, or Yi Hae-Won or something else I can’t pronounce, looks at my feet with a “Tsk.” “I know it’s been a long time,” I say with the joy of squeezing in one last sympathizer. Then she looks up at me and asks if I am aware there is a Pokemon sticker on the bottom of my foot. “Oh, my son was looking for that, if only it were so easy to find my keys.” She then asks if it’s okay to remove it. “Well if you can’t work around it.” I’m not sure if she can hear me; my chair is set on high-multifunction-10. Its “Human Hand” technology is loudly knocking me out of my seat while it heats my tush, vibrates my thighs, froths milk for my cappuccino, and sorts my mail.

I lie, well shimmy, back trying to enjoy my favorite part, the massage. I can’t seem to relax. I am so keenly aware of every left over scrub granule that is kneaded into my legs. Worse, I can sense her daydreaming of the family she has left behind and I’m sure she’s totally resenting me for not shaving, detesting America for making her touch feet, and cursing her boss for making today “$20 Tuesday.” I finally start to relax as she coincidentally realizes she has massaged long enough. She halts to do the required Korean calf knocking, which she follows with the “Ten Toe Pop” event. She’s seems let down when she can’t get a good snap out of the last two toes (not unlike that annoying handshake of the mid-nineties).

“Okay, pick you color” she says pointing to the wall. I can’t decide between “After Sex” or a hue one shade darker, “3 Bottles of Whine.” I don’t understand why all the colors are sexual innuendos. In the end I go with “Popped Cherry,” which is a medium shade of…well, you get the picture. I spend most of the polish application staring at the tranquil paintings of nude women relaxing on furniture. The woman in the painting across from me appears to be giving herself a breast exam on a plush sofa.

I decided to heighten my relaxation by purchasing a 10 minute massage. I swiftly wriggle myself into the pretzel seat after viewing a short video demonstration by Cirque De Soleil. Then she literally beats the tension out of me. “Excuse me Sarabeth, that knot you’re trying to knead out, I think that’s bone.” She ignores me as she does not recognize the sound of her own name. No matter, she manages to pummel it smooth regardless. Then she grabs my wrists, pulls my arms back and relentlessly yanks trying to crack my shoulder blades. She ends with vigorous karate chopping to the back of my neck. Sarabeth then signals someone, and an EMT rushes in with the Jaws of Life to free me from the chair. I walk away totally relaxed, one arm carelessly dangling from the socket. No worries. I’m sure it’s nothing an good orthopedist can’t fix. Why do my attempts at tension release always seem to stress me out?

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4 thoughts on “The Traditional New York City Pedicure

  1. Rachy

    Another great one. I’d love to see that painting of the nude performing the breast exam! While I can’t relate to ripping the sheets in bed, I have been accused of mild torture by having serrated toenails (and when things are very busy, serrated fingernails and/or, the worst, stubbly legs)! Keep writing and we’ll keep reading.

    Reply
  2. Denee King

    I walked up to a lady and enthusiastically introduced myself to her yesterday because I thought it was YOU…I swear. Her name badge said “Jennifer” and….well, I was obviously star struck! It was not you, in case you were wondering.
    AND..you story funny – you make me Raff out Roud!!

    Reply

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