Dipping my toes in the pedicure pond

You want me to do what?!: Dipping my toes in the pedicure pond

Andy Rice // Associate Publisher

If you stare at it long enough, just about any part of the body starts to look like a misshapen bundle of nope. Feet, however, are in a category all their own. There’s an old saying, “If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.” Well, that’s how I feel about the human toe. Pedicure them all you want, but your lower extremities are only going to get marginally more attractive for the effort and money involved.

Of course, I made the mistake of revealing this opinion to my editors several weeks ago and ended up getting sent to the chair. The salon chair, that is. Yes, on Oct. 21, I walked reluctantly into VietNails in North Burnaby and sat down for a pedicure.

Having made it through life completely pedi-free up until that point, I had to be coached through the entire process – where to sit, what to do, even the appropriate time to remove my socks and shoes. All the while, a gaggle of nail technicians were snickering playfully at my expense as I fumbled through the protocol with embarrassed trepidation.

After I’d successfully uncloaked my little piggies and sent them off to market, they were immediately submerged in a basin full of blue liquid. I’m assuming this was some kind of anti-fungal solution designed to put the run to anything that had been marinating in my shoes all morning (good call, VietNails. You knew I was coming). I can only hope it worked such miracles.

Several minutes went by before a technician emerged from the back room with a set of nail clippers. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about what happened next. You see, I’ve often used the trimming of my toenails as a cathartic reward at the end of a tough week. I take great pride and joy in completing the process myself, and suddenly it was being taken from me. Also, little bits of nail were flying everywhere, and I was getting more than a little self-conscious about it.

Seemingly unfazed, the technician took out a little paddle-shaped tool and began to plough away at my cuticles, which I must say is a pretty odd sensation for someone whose feet rarely emerge from their socks. She also applied a bunch of clear liquid from an unmarked squirt bottle, which I learned later was an acidic tincture known as cuticle remover.

It was at this point in the experience that I began to relax slightly and finally start to enjoy the various goings-on. The reclining chair I was sitting in had a wide assortment of massage settings, and I enjoyed the false sense of control this gave me despite the world of uncertainty taking place below my ankles.

I must have dozed off for at least a minute, too, because when I opened my eyes the technician was rifling through a drawer full of assorted files and pumice stones. Relaxation over.

After sizing up my feet and making a comment which drew more snickering from the other technicians in the salon, she selected a large cheese-grater looking contraption that looked like something one might purchase from the kitchen aisle of HomeSense. And, just as I feared, she went full parmesan on the bottom of my heels for the better part of a minute. Uggghhh.

I suppose this is a good time to tell you that I’m notoriously ticklish. Even a blanket passing over the soles of my feet has been known to wake me up from a dead sleep and turn me into a squirming mess. Having abrasive blocks dragged across them in a public space under about 4,000 watts of fluorescent lighting wasn’t a pretty sight for anyone involved. This drew more commentary between nail technicians, and more laughter, as I clenched and wiggled like a Mick Jagger impersonator hopped up on bath salts.

At least the lotion application that followed was fairly soothing, and I could sense that the end might be near. However, as I started to get up from the chair and attempt to locate my socks and shoes, the technician motioned for me to sit back down.

“What colour would you like?” she asked with a grin. “Sparkle?”

I ended up escaping with just a layer of clear coat, which drew plenty of stares at my hot yoga class as it was. And yes, you read that right; hot yoga. Little did I know, the editors weren’t finished with me on this particular day, and sent me up the road to Moksha for further humiliation. I sincerely hope they’re footing the bill for this…

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