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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ingrown toenails and paraffin wax

It was a little awkward walking through the door of the salon at 10 in the morning. It was coming in head on at a hair-roller rush hour, with women in curlers reading "Vogue" and the roar of hair dryers trying in vain to drown out the morning banter.
My entrance, complete with unkempt beard and dirty Levi's, was noticed and came with a hint of self-consciousness.
Thankfully, I was escorted through the melee by my buddy Lorie before I had to explain myself to the gawking crowd.
Led to her office in the back, Lorie explained the gist of her operation.
As an esthetician, she's trained as an expert of the outer workings of the body. After some coaxing a few weeks back, she'd convinced me to expand my horizons and come in for a pedicure. I feigned disinterest but finally gave in. "It's not only red nail polish," she said. My hopes were dashed.
The small room adjacent to the salon was dominated by the pedicure throne. At the foot of the chair, a miniature spa was a bubbling cauldron of scorching water.
Still a little nervous, I took my seat and dipped my toes in the tub. The streams of bubbles massaged my stinky dogs and I was thankful to have them submerged before Lorie had come face to foot with the foul odor.
The entire process was an hour and a half of files, clippers, lotions and wax. I'd been growing out my toenails especially long for the occasion, hoping Lorie would be able to show me the "proper" way to cut them.
We chatted while she blunted the tops and edges of my nails. She also lectured me on not drying in between my toes after showering and for letting a planters wart on my fingers go unchecked.
The treatment culminated in an almost solemn ceremony where I dipped both of my feet in paraffin wax, had them wrapped in plastic bags, and sat in silence for 10 minutes while the wax seeped into my pores.
All in all, the experience gave me insight into a world I'd never known (or thought I'd knew). Undoubtedly, the pampering is no less masculine than getting a massage in a plush spa.
In my case, though, that sort of attention has always made me uncomfortable. Lorie is a knowledgeable professional who provides fabulous service with an attention to detail. But for me, I think I might be a little more comfortable sticking with the needlenose pliers.


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