I did something really girly today and had a manicure and pedicure at a "spa". Not being part of the "in" crowd I don't go to spas or beautiy parlours much, so it took a voucher from mum, several reminders and a looming expiry of said voucher (with accompanying guilt) to lure me into the clutches of the beauty parlour madam.
I understand many of otherwise perfectly normal friends enjoy having their feet and hands pampered, so I was almost looking forward to the trip. Being on trendy Melbourne Street, I decided I couldn't wear my tracksuit, so I put on a nice jacket and suck-it-up jeans with heeled boots and tried to look somewhat presentable. I fretted a little as I realised my eyebrows would not stand the scrutiny of a trained beautician but then remembered that my feet would probably dispel any notion of ladylike behaviour anyway, so decided to front up being my "authentic" self.
I arrived a few minutes early, to find a note blue tacked to the door - back at 12. O..kay. A short jaunt down Melbourne street in my (uncomfortable) shoes in this lovely ( freezing) weather could be worthwhile. I can get some stamps for the mail. Yes, lucky really, I needed the exercise and would otherwise have simply driven to the postie on the way home. Letters dispatched I returned.
The note was still there, and it was past 12, but wait... I spy someone ( well rather their bottom poking out from behind the counter where they are on the phone. I rattle the door, and they bring the phone over for a minute to let me in from the cold.
The phone conversation is regarding a customer who wants to make an appointment during the day within the next 3 weeks ( how selfish and silly) and how they can't possibly be fit in. I feel a little important now because at least I have an appointment. I sit and wait.
After extensive phone negotiations are wound up, I am greeted and ushered in to a cubicle of sorts, with soothing music playing somewhere and a couple of posters blue tacked to the wall showing serene things. You know the usual - lillies and rocks. And some adverts for stuff that will stop my skin looking like a dry creekbed and shave 15 cm off my wait ( yeah good luck with that). At least I am warm. The woman, er, lady.. technician? lets call her a beauty therapist as I am sure thats what they are called, scolds me for wearing covered shoes ( it is almost snowing outside). I said thats ok I dont need coloured nails and she seems somewhat mollified. I am invited to take off my boots and roll up the jeans ( GAH hope I did a good job shaving) then hop up on the table so she can soak my feet. I comply, sitting a little awkwardly on the doctors style table draped fetchingly in crimson towels. somehow I manage to scoot up and put my feet in the big clay bowl full of soapy lukewarm water without knocking it over. Once I am thus perched, the phone rings again and the therapist disappears.
The same inconsiderate woman is calling back to try and make a time again ( really cant she see that we are BUSY here). The water cools a few degrees, and I am starting to cramp from being in this weird position. They must be clean by now - and I only just had a shower anyway...
No matter - she is back again, all smiles and raring to go. She starts to chat in the way hairdressers do, and scrub my feet with some sort of nylon loofah thing. It tickles but is mercifully brief. small towels are placed either side of the bowl and my feet are lifted out and wrapped, then the dreaded bowl goes. Ok now its fine, I am getting a bit of a foot massage combined with various creams and unguents designed no doubt to soften and improve the feet. The hoped-for nail shaping happens ( I wont have to try and see my toes while wielding a sharp implement for another month or so now) and a little bit of buffing and general carry on.
Therapist asks about my job ( i left it) previous job ( really - ok here goes) and all sorts of other therapist questions and before long I find myself reciting my history and divulging bad habits and secret wishes to a complete stranger.
Her:"do you wear sneakers often"
Me: "why yes, I wear them every day, but prefer to be barefoot or in bedsocks"
Her: It is just they have been rubbing on your feet ..."
Me: " What? No... those holes are from karate...."
Her: "oh, it doesn't look good for your feet" ...
OH hold that thought the phone is ringing again...
In the end I am telling her all about updating her website and realising that she is quite a nice ( if somewhat harried) therapist and I suppose other people might find this relaxing but I am not one of them.
The final thing she did was coat the feet in some light green paste and wrap them again while she worked on my hands. The green stuff was cold, I mean like freezing, and I found myself wondering if she had kept it in the fridge. Never mind, my feet will warm up soon, I HATE cold feet.
She has finished with my hands, my feet, if anything are colder, now feeling as though they have been plunged into a bucket of ice and left there. She wipes my feet dry and applies a coat of varnish to the nails. After another phone call she returns and says well we are done and I can put my shoes back on. I think my feet must be still wet as they feel as if an arctic wind is blowing on them and there has to be some wind chill factor, but no- they are dry, so on go the shoes and socks.
After pleasantries, I totter out of the shop in my heeled boots wondering if I took them off would i find meat popsicle feet inside. I drive home, make a cup of tea, take OFF the boots and put on some bedsocks. I am sure the dogs are impressed by the momentary glimpse they got of softened feet with shiny nails, and I know they wont mind the few scabs I still have from the kick bag at karate. An hour later I still have cold feet.
At least I can now say I have had a mani pedi and when a girlfriend guiltily divulges to me they are off for their monthly salon visit I can smile, wave and be quite confident I am not missing anything.