My aunt offered to give me a pedicure yesterday. I was hesitant to accept her offer, partly because I never know exactly where to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable interactions with family (i.e. do I really want somebody related to me to rub my nasty feet??), but mostly I was hesitant because I think my feet are pretty... shall we say 'rustic'. Let's just say they're not exactly known for their delicate and feminine features.
I warned my aunt that my feet have never experienced anything even mildly resembling a pedicure and that furthermore, they have been subjected to repeated callous-building activities such as hiking and cycling over many years. I was trying to be professional but honest about their condition, without going into graphic detail about the rough patches, the long-standing blisters, and the thing that resembled a hole through my foot. I secretly hoped that the talk-about-callouses would be enough to throw her off and to rethink the generous offer.
It didn't work, though-- her offer still stood. As she put it: "Dana, you're going to love your beautiful feet when we are finished with you." I was skeptical-- nay, dubious. And inside, alarm bells were clanging and I wanted to blurt out to her 'NO! SAVE YOURSELF!! RUN AWAY-- RUN FAR, FAR AWAY!!"
She penciled me in for 11:30 on Saturday morning. Not sure exactly what pedicure protocol entailed, I planned to ride my bike to the appointment. She quickly shot this brilliant idea down and reminded me that I needed to wear open-toed shoes to enable my nail polish to dry. 'NAIL POLISH??!', I thought- 'what the hell am I getting myself into?!' True, I used to own close to 200 (!!) shades of nail polish when I was in junior high and early high school and true, my toes were never au naturel for a solid 5 years, but that was nearly 10 years ago. A lot had changed. Open toed shoes? Nail polish?! This would be.... different.
Of course, it snowed yesterday morning on the way to the appointment. Luckily, I wasn't riding my bike, but I still couldn't imagine not putting on my socks after the appointment was over. It was cold. And I was afraid. (And as an aside... note to Victoria: it's APRIL. And you're snowing?! What's going on?)
The appointment itself was entirely unexpected. There were soaks and scrubs and files and creams and pumice stones and even though everything felt fabulous and luxurious, I was still tentative. In my mind-- try as I might-- I could not bridge the giant gulf between the pampering and the everyday treatment of my feet. I kept looking at my feet all clean and soft and pretty... and then thinking of them slipping into my rugged hiking boots. It seemed like such a sad waste of my aunt's precious time and energy to get my feet all gussied up for what- My bike ride to work?
I emerged from my appointment, toenails glowing a "Night on the Town" red (but kind of freezing in my open toed shoes) and feeling a strange mixture of satisfaction, guilt, and thankfulness. Satisfied and thankful to have my feet made pretty, if only for a little while, but guilty because I knew I would not be able to maintain any level of prettiness on my own. Unless I suddenly became afflicted with the 'make yourself more feminine' sickness, but I'm pretty sure I'm immune. What can I say? My feet were made for trekking, and no amount of scrubbing or polish will ever hide that fact.