Tales of a Spa Pedicure


I took my daughter to a spa for a pedicure.  It was one of those all-natural, all-organic, you go home smelling like cloves type of places. We sit down in our pedicure chairs and I tell the man who’s doing the pedicure to cut my nails short. He had platinum blond hair and was wearing one necklace with a bright red tassel and another with a skull and crossbones.  Not a super relaxing look, but maybe the remains of heads without skin is comforting to some people.

“What did you say?” he asked.  You would have thought I asked him to cut the heads off babies.


We don’t ever cut the nails,” he says.

I dramatically looked around, as if to show him visually by the sweeping of my eyes that we are in a ROOM WHERE NAILS ARE TAKEN CARE OF.  Isn’t cutting the nails part of it, or do natural organic people walk around with curled up talons?

How exactly do you respond to this? It wasn’t said with hesitation, like “well we usually do, but right now all our nail cutting devices are in the vinegar wash.”  It was a solid no, like when my kids ask “do you like this Taylor Swift song” or “are we ever going to Disney world.”

The guy must have felt bad because I looked forlorn, so he raises a piece of aspen bark tinted by the Colorado sun and dyed from lingonberries that he called a “nail file” in the air and says he’ll use this to file them down.

I stare at my toenails and realize that he’ll have to rub that thing against my toes until he makes fire to make a dent in the actual length of my nails, that are currently long and luxurious and would win a beauty contest in some countries.

“Don’t bother,” I said.  “I’ll cut them at home.” He smiles at me, his platinum blond hair bobbing.  He mixes something green and something white, tells me he’s about to rub green tea extract and salt on my feet, and I lay back and try to relax.

I look down again when he gets to the painting. He tells me he’s from Dallas, which is boring so we stop talking.  The woman who is working on my daughter’s nails is from Palestine and has this beautiful face and I keep asking her about her country and her opinions on things and what she thinks about America and I kept apologizing how our President acts.  My guy from Dallas with the aspen bark file realized he was losing ground so he just said nothing, his skull necklace swaying back and forth as he wrapped hot towels around my calves.  Apparently natural organic spa people have nothing against towels being heated to a very high temperature, but honestly that seems cruel.  Towels have feelings too.

When I got back home, I cut my nails.  I didn’t save the remains in an urn. I didn’t hold a vigil to the lost.  I just chopped them off and gave them the respect they deserved, which is none.  Because they are toenails.

Next time, we are heading the nail place around the corner, where they just consider nails a virus that must be eliminated and you an annoying customer they want to get rid of. There, I feel like home.  There, things make sense.  They dig into your cuticles and chop off everything they can see.  Occasionally they apologize when they hurt you and you make a whelping sound.  There is no clay mask or extract.  They use cheap lotion and don’t talk to you.  You just get in, read trashy magazines, and get out.

That’s my kind of spa.