#51 Feet

In midlife, White collar denial on July 21, 2010 at 10:33 pm

It’s hard to relax while an Eastern European woman is wrapping your feet in cling film.

It was my first proper pedicure (I know! At my age!) and while the results were silky smooth, there is nevertheless someting culturally uncomfortable about having somebody working on your feet.

Perhaps its the supplicatory position required by the practitioner, or latent imagery from Sunday School stories of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet (John 13: 3-17 if you’re interested), made slightly scarier by the fact that mysterious groups such as the Seventh Day Adventists, Anabaptists and Amish still practice it. (I’ve never had my shoes shined either.) This is all made even more awkward when you consider that this is a woman who is brilliant at her job (Hell, I don’t even HAVE a job) and whose services cost more and are more in demand than those of a freelance journalist.

When my husband bought me the voucher recently as a birthday present (you didn’t actually think I’d paid for it myself, did you?), he was told that East Dulwich ladies considered this particular pedicure ‘to die for’. Now I wouldn’t go that far, but it was certainly worth some of the discomforts, such as the vibrating mini-chisel that chips away at those bits of skin that grow up over your nails in an unsightly fashion – this has the same physical effect as chewing on a wooden ice lolly stick, the noise of a dentist’s drill, or the shudder of sweetness achieved by eating a Kit-Kat Chunky when you almost certainly need a filling. Or the treatment chair which messes with your mind by rising up ever so slowly so as you aren’t entirely sure whether you are imagining it.

Strangely, the aggressive sandpapering of all the hard, dead skin was quite therapeutic. Ticklish even. And I was pleased to see they’d named the nail varnish after me.

I’ve always wished I was one of those fabulously well-groomed women who prioritise regular pedicures over things like upmarket olive oil or hand made chocolate (both of which I also got for my birthday), but I’m just not. For me, the beauty of feet is in their functionality: chiefly getting you from A to B in an efficient and pleasing manner, and preventing you from falling over.

  1. so not going to try the tiny fish who nibble away your dead skin?

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