Part of my job entails visiting clients’ businesses to experience what they offer. It’s great when it’s a donair restaurant or an establishment that serves barley-based beverages. Recently, I was required to learn about a business that offered services totally foreign to me; one of the dozen nail shoppes in Leduc.
The co-owner, Grace, met Cupcake and me exuding cheeriness like it was her super power. It’s no wonder she’s in a customer service-intensive industry. Although I was to just watch the pedi-curious proceedings, Grace convinced me to give it a try.
I was soon seated in a foot-bath/massage chair; complete with a beer holder, though none appeared to be offered. They gently informed me the holders were for coffee cups.
The massage kneaded me like I was trapped in a wringer washer with lumpy rollers. But in a good way.. The chair made odd noises, though, which folks may have misconstrued as wind breaking. No one, however, paid attention to me. I felt like an interloper despite their assurances many men get pedicures.
Young Neysa took Cupcake first which I applauded. I’d rather not be the guinea pig. I just sat soaking my feet like Madge’s customer’s fingernails in that old Palmolive commercial. Neysa busied herself ‘exfoliating’ Cupcake’s legs which means rubbing goop on. Neysa then hauled out what looked like a Dremmel machine and proceeded to sandblast, grind and polish Cupcakes toenails. I know I was never that careful with any finishing carpentry I’ve done. I wondered how Neysa could handle Cupcake’s feet without tickling them. When I try, it sends her into paroxysms of laughter and violent kicking.
Jenny appeared then, to attend me, as Neysa seemed up to her neck in Cupcakes legs.
“I could get this done every day. It’s heavenly,” breathed Cupcake. “Except for one part…”
“What part?” I asked with suspicion mixed with alarm.
“You’ll know it when you feel it,” she grinned wickedly.
Jenny began massaging my legs as a lady stopped by to discuss nails with Cupcake. Julia, her name was, is a once-a-monther here and terrifically proud of the design on her fingers. She showed a phone pic of the original art that inspired her choice. Cupcake was visibly impressed.. This wouldn’t happen in a salon with just guys, I thought instantly. I prayed no guy would come in.
Suddenly, to my horror, Neysa produced a cheese slicer and was hacking off large chunks of Cupcake’s feet. Thus distracted, Jenny took the opportunity to slather my lower extremities with blue raspberry Jell-O, for no discernible reason. She didn’t seem to understand my questions very well but had a snappy answer for each one, despite this challenge.
After the Jello treatment Jenny smeared my legs liberally with what looked suspiciously like pistachio pudding but I didn’t dare taste it. I assumed it was a pain blocker so she could excavate my cuticles, which apparently needed work. I cannot believe I went 54 years without needing this before, but was assured it was important.
She mentioned my feet were lovely, soft and callous-free already, which comes from being a big fan of shoes and socks.
Neysa draped Cupcake’s legs in towels then suddenly began slapping them vigorously. I knew if I tried that, I’d feel Cupcake’s wrath (and boot).
“Your hands must get tired by days’ end,” I guessed. Jenny just laughed that uncomfortable laugh people use when they have no clue what you’re talking about and don’t want the conversation prolonged.
“I must grind your toenails. They’re too thick,” said Jenny, grabbing the Dremmel-like device. I suspected it would be illegal for use on prisoners due to the Geneva Convention.
“Aren’t thick nails good?” I asked innocently. “They are for protection.”
She shrugged. “Maybe you have too much calcium.”
She then used the dreaded cheese grater on me, then spread more goop all over my feet bottoms; probably to cauterize any cheese grater wounds.
Jenny then brandished another torture implement; a wooden spoon/sanding sponge for tickling feet bottoms. It worked well for that purpose. The ladies in the shop visibly enjoyed my discomfort.
Maintaining my battered masculinity, I rejected getting my toenails painted. Cupcake chose “nobility strawberry” which means, “pink”. The procedure climaxed with a boiling towel to my legs which were then slapped around like naughty children in an abusive household.
“We can come every month for date night,” enthused Cupcake. “That was great!”
More like ‘grate’ but I’ll admit they really dig cuticles. Maybe next time, I’ll just watch.