As of Monday morning, that’s what my toes looked like. In the bright light of the day, they sparkled and shined. And the color was starting to grow on me. However, in the dark or in dim light, they just looked yellowed and nasty, so I decided on a change.
As I entered the nail salon, I realized that this was the first time I’ve ever been in one by myself. Usually, I go with a giggle of women. (Yes, I just coined a phrase for a group of women.) And going with my girl friends to get pedicures together is fun and only a tiny bit creepy. For some reason, going in alone? Uber super creepy.
The salon I chose was near the movie theater where I was meeting a friend, and I’d never been there before. Inadvertently, I managed to pick the one with the fewest number of English speaking
Asian slaves manicurists.
Using a complicated series of hand gestures, grunts, and rudimentary English words, I communicated my desire to have the polish removed from my toes and new polish applied.
“You go pick out new color,” I was instructed. After weighing my options, I chose a color that will be less likely to make my toes look yellowed and nasty in the dim light. (A color that I won’t reveal until I get to BlogHer.)
I sat in the chair and the woman went to work. Apparently, as difficult as my toes are to get clean and polished, it also makes it just as difficult to remove the polish. First she tried the dremel. Then she tried using cotton and polish remover, but the cotton just got caught on the roughness of my feet and pulled to shreds. Finally she moved to a cloth and remover and it finally started to work. After a few minutes, my toes were clean again.
The bell rang and an old woman entered, holding the door open for her husband, a tall, gaunt man who was at least 80, using a walker to take excruciatingly slow, deliberate steps. “CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE MY HUSBAND A FOOT MASSAGE?” the old lady said in the way that you speak to non-English speakers at absurdly high volumes because that helps them to understand better.
The old man was led to the chair next to me. He looked over and gave me a look. “I’ve never done this before – have you?” he said, except he said it more like “I’VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE – HAVE YOU?”
“Yeah, I have.”
“OH, WELL AT LEAST I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE IN DOING THIS!” It was at that moment, that the woman pulled out the new polish and began to paint my toes. The old man’s eyes bugged out of his head. “ALICE,” he stage whispered, “HE’S PAINTING HIS TOES.” Then he turned to me. “ARE YOU PAINTING YOUR TOES?”
“ALICE, HE IS PAINTING HIS TOES! I’VE NEVER SEEN A MAN GET HIS TOES PAINTED BEFORE.” His eyes were still bugged out of his head and a vein had started to throb on his forehead.
“Well, you don’t get out very often,” his wife said and patted his hand.
“ARE YOU MARRIED?” he asked me. By this point, the entire salon was part of the conversation.
“No, I’m not.” I said, showing him my hand.
“OH. I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU WHAT YOUR WIFE THOUGHT OF YOU DOING THAT, BUT I GUESS THAT DOESN’T MATTER.”
I nodded my head and returned my attention to my cellphone. Important games of Words With Friends awaited me. Oh, but he wasn’t done.
“SO YOU’RE REALLY GETTING YOUR NAILS PAINTED?”
I gestured towards my feet where the woman was putting on the second coat and nodded.
“I HAVE NEVER SEEN A MAN DO THAT BEFORE.”
“Yeah, you mentioned that. Well, now you have! New experiences every day.”
“I HOPE THEY DON’T TRY TO PAINT MY NAILS. I AM GOING TO KEEP AN EYE ON THEM. YOU KNOW, YOU CAN NEVER TRUST A CHINAMAN.”
Aren’t old racists just delightful?