Shiny, polished red nails (fake of course, like other anatomy on a women’s body that I won’t mention today), artists’ renditions of the tiniest flora peeping out from gemstone sandals, and highlighted hair resembling a lioness’s main are flitting in and out boutiques, Starbucks, and of course school parking lots across Long Island.
Personal grooming is taken to a new level these days with permanent eyebrows and eyeliner. The more I learn of these primping techniques, the more I wonder if the reflections I see in those black Ford Expeditions are tangible or merely a mirage.
In case you too may be wondering where the organic American woman has gone, it’s to the Doggie Day Spa. Yes, you’ve heard me refer to Long Island’s elite social circle of “spasters”, well I’m happy to report that these lovely women are not only filling days with their own vinotherapy massages, but are also indulging “Fee-Fee” and “Fido” in the same luxuries. After all, pets are people too! So, while “Fee-Fee” is enjoying her Shiatsu massage, mom can run next door to Dr. Smooth, being sure to maintain that wrinkle free, stretched, youthfulness that everyone showcases at fifty-eight.
I can imagine those of you who know and love me most think I’m becoming quite uncharacteristically cynical as I’m aging (not that 27 can be considered aging, but I’ll give you all the benefit of the doubt); however, I too set out one sunshiny day to indulge my base desire for a foot rub.
Not only was I going to have my feet and legs (I’m a novice and thanked my lucky stars I took a minute to shave that morning) pampered, toenails polished (no flora), but I also had my finger stubs polished. As I sat waiting my turn in the pedicure chair (It was over an hour wait! “Mornings are busiest.” I was informed.), the butterflies of excitement fluttered so manically that I couldn’t even pretend to read the most recent copy of Glamour I had quickly grabbed while following a petite women to the back of the shop.
As I sat propped in my very high chair (you really do get the feeling of being quite important and powerful when you’re sitting a torso above everyone), I became slightly alarmed to realize many, if not most of the employees had their faces covered in white surgical masks. It was then that I realized the overwhelming smell of toxic chemicals.
The other women seemed unconcerned as they flipped through their magazines, glancing up at the clock from time to time and sighing so impatiently I began to be concerned for the little people filing their toenails.
Finally, my turn arrived and I soaked in the foaming blue bubbles of the foot bath (trying ever so hard not to think of all the other feet that had soaked in that bath), enjoyed the relaxing foot/leg massage and had my little piggies painted in the most outrageous shade of pink I could find.
My father instilled in me the mantra “ALWAYS get your money’s worth.”
It was only as I sat drying my finger stubs under the dryer that I realized THOSE CHAIRS GIVE MASSAGES! All the manic butterflies fluttering in my stomach died instantly. I felt I had been truly let down. I’d been duped!
Since I couldn’t bear to watch the euphoric expressions on the faces of this next round of massaged women, I gathered my bag and rushed from the nail salon. I was mere feet from the front door when I realized this older woman rushing towards me, arms flailing in the air, and a steady stream of Chinese coursing from her lips (although I couldn’t understand a word, I knew I’d done something terribly wrong).
Mentally, I went over my session. I paid upon entry so as not to smudge my paint job, tipped the manicurist, certainly remembered to say thank you; it was beyond me, but one thing was starkly certain, I was in big trouble.
With amazing speed and agility this elderly woman reached my side and motioned me to put out my hands (images of school coursed through my consciousness and I was sure they were going to be slapped with a ruler). She then squeezed the tiniest droplets of liquid over each of my fingers. To this day, I have no idea what the purpose of those droplets is, but I silently walked to my car, fingers dripping, and agonized over unlocking my doors without ruining all the work I’d just had done.
Next time I’ll turn on the massage chairs and get my money’s worth.