If there’s one lesson I’ve finally learned now that I am 50, it’s that I am done with cheap pedicures at strip malls. It’s so easy to dash in to a convenient “salon” named awkwardly in a singular fashion after a woman (“Jeannie Nail”) as parodied beautifully in stand-up by Anjela Johnson. But when you arrive in those places, the cheap 1980s wall décor, sketchy threadbare towels, and nearly empty nail polish bottles are depressing. Not to mention the clientele, and often the managers.
Here’s to the obnoxious pedicure woman (let’s call her Jeannie) last time I popped into the grocery store-salon place, who reminded me to just spend the money next time and go to a real spa. Apparently she was a regular, because the girl who’d started my pedicure got up, abandoning the foot-sink of water, allowing it to get cold (one foot in and one foot out of the water actually) to cater to Jeannie.
I’d asked for one salon girl to help me, to avoid the shop manager, a short creepy man who I’d remembered from earlier, since he over-foot-massages, which I hate. The girl suddenly gets up to help “Jeannie,” the annoying lady, and now I’m stuck with rapey foot-fetish guy. Fantastic.
Quietly seething and trying to distract myself with my phone, I’m subjected to a half hour of the very loud life of Jeannie. Jeannie has to catch a flight, a huge fucking deal. Jeannie has jury duty, practically the only one to ever have to do this. Jeannie accepts a phone call, talking loudly into the phone as though there’s not a woman in the pedicure chair next to her trying to read a goddamn book. Because, you know, we are in a salon, not in Jeannie’s freaking living room.
It’s amazing how much hatred you can develop for a person in 30 minutes, but if your foot and calf are treated as the extension of someone’s dick at the same time (god save me from the sound of the lotion squirting out of that fucking bottle), then yes, your baseball cap will be the only thing holding your brain precariously inside your exploding skull.
Earlier, while my first foot was in the water, Jeannie had actually had the manicurist answer her phone, because she didn’t want to mess up her nails, and we’d been treated to a conversation about the flight schedule and jury duty, so this was the second time we were hearing about it. Ask us, the salon warrior survivors, anything about Jeannie and her suburban struggles. I make eye contact at one point with book lady, because I need to connect with someone to see that it’s not just me that wants to grab a nail file and start stabbing everyone, and she sends a sort of resigned half-shrug that seems to ask what are we to do?
OH THIS ASSHOLE DID NOT JUST TURN ON FOX NEWS. But he did, because it’s the viewing choice of Jeannie, not that she’s paying attention, since she’s busy loudly narrating to the salon girl a text about her cat’s vet appointment.
I don’t think I’m better than anyone and don’t have a lot of money but looking at the economy of the situation: if broke, I have a high school kid who loves YouTube egg white home pedicure type stuff and owns a lot of OPI nail polish colors. If I happen to have some money, I can spend it at a decent spa on a real pedicure where there’s fine Egyptian cotton, aromatherapy and sweet silence. Turning 50 has made me realize life’s too short to listen to a selfish soccer mom scream on her manicurist-answered cell phone while Fox news plays on walls covered in bad 1980s posters ever, ever again.