Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pity the Pedicurist Who Must Pretty My Feet!

Dainty Digits They Aren’t

Female Feet of the Family
Ugly feet! Those would be mine. I have them, always have. At least I don’t have an alien toe like one of my girls—her second toe extends a half-inch past the rest of her toes. Unfortunately, each of my toes has alien tendencies. Always awful, age has worsened the appearance of my toes—knobby, bent, crusty, splitting nails, dry skin—each toe has succumbed to the years of schlepping me through life. I call the toe next to my “baby” toe my shy toe because it sneaks behind the third toe and stays there, gathering whatever dirt and dust doesn’t glom onto the other toes. In a few more years, it might never come out of hiding except when I wrench it out and give it a good scrub. My daughters have seen my toes, and, to their dismay, they know these nubs are hereditary. No crystal ball is needed to predict their future feet; all they have to do is gaze at mine.
I have accepted my feet in all their funkiness, but the world likely continues to be shocked when exposed to such blemishes on beauty. To put a balm on the blight of these hideous hooves, I sometimes polish my toenails. It doesn’t help, but it distracts, and about once every three years, I even step into a salon for a pedicure and foist my feeties on some unfortunate technician.

Toe separators always make me think of uppercase Es,
as in EEEK, look at my feet!
Friday was that day. A friend of my son’s attends cosmetology school and in an effort to get a bargain, I booked a pedicure. I knew all kinds of feet walked into the low-cost salon, so I figured mine might not frighten the students too much. As a plus, any student who could beautify these feet would get an automatic A. Before I left for my appointment, I scrubbed my feet until nary a dot of dirt remained on them. They weren’t less scary-looking, but they were squeaky clean.

The pedicure trade will never have enough tools to
tackle my toes.
I apologize for things that aren’t my fault, so in keeping with that proclivity, I apologized for my feet after the student (I’ll call her Tootsie) directed them toward the bubbling footbath. “Just relax,” she said. I think getting a pedicure is supposed to be enjoyable, but I spend the time fretting about my feet and feeling pity on whomever is tasked with tackling my toes.
The pedicure progressed to what is supposed to be the best part—the foot massage. Tootsie suggested I roll up my Capris so she could smooth lotion on the lower part of my legs as well as my feet. I hesitated, knowing that she’d see the horrid age spots on my legs and my cracked and dry alligator skin. When I rolled up my pants legs, however, even I was shocked. Horrors! That’s when I saw them, the seven hairs on my left calf. Yes, seven, total—on my entire leg. A ray of sunlight or strong overhead lighting sometimes catches those stragglers and makes them shine for the entire world to see. I shave those seven hairs about once every three weeks to keep up appearances, but I obviously missed them for the last seven months because each was an inch long. Of course, they weren’t in a clump but meandered about the front of my leg. (All nine hairs on my right leg must have met the razor on its last swipe across the terrain because they were invisible.)
I was mortified. Poor Tootsie was subjected to the ugliest toes on Earth, she had to smear lotion on my horrid age spots, and worse, she witnessed the weird hair effect that happened to me post-menopause. Why my legs went from having a normal amount of hair to having a total of 16 on both legs is a mystery to me. I would stop shaving completely, but those 16 look too strange when they’re an inch long. I apologized (again) to Tootsie, who took it in stride and once more suggested that I relax. No way. If I had a pair of tweezers, I would have snatched those hairs out while she massaged my feet. Instead I used my fingers to grip the ones that weren’t too slick with lotion and yanked them, resolving that henceforth whenever I tweeze my eyebrows, I’ll pluck those 16 hairs, too.
Tootsie was probably more relieved than I was when the pedicure was done—simply so she wouldn’t have to hear me apologize again. My toes sparkle and shine and don’t shock and dismay from my open-air flip-flops. As soon as I got home, though, I dashed into the bathroom, grabbed the razor and made certain all 16 hairs were shorn. Three years from now before my next pedicure, right after I scrub my feet, out come the tweezers!