The not-so-re­lax­ing side of mani-pedis

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LES­LEY CREWE

ARE YOU KID­DING ME?

I love, love, love hav­ing some­one give me a manicure and pedi­cure.

I hate, hate, hate try­ing to de­cide on a colour.

I al­most don’t go be­cause I can­not abide try­ing to fig­ure out which shade I should choose among the 75 coloured bot­tles on the wall. In my mind, it’s like a trap. Peo­ple will be able to de­fine me by the colour I put on my hands and feet, which is ut­ter non­sense. No one cares about my ex­trem­i­ties and, yet, it al­ways seems of the ut­most im­por­tance the mo­ment I’m stand­ing there try­ing to de­cide.

Fi­nally, the poor nail gal comes over to has­ten me along. “Any­thing you like?”

“Umm. I’m not sure.”

“Do you like dark colours or light colours?”

“Who’s to say?”

She states the ob­vi­ous. “You. It’s up to you.”

“Well, I don’t mind darker colours on my toes, but I have a book tour and my nails need to be a bland colour.”

“Why’s that?”

“So, I can hope­fully re­mem­ber to wear gloves while wash­ing dishes for the next two weeks, and have the nails fade into a neu­tral colour that will last for an­other cou­ple of weeks be­cause I’m too cheap to come back here in three weeks and have this done again.”

“You know you can get shel­lac nails that last a long time.”

“Oh, dear, no. The last time I did that, I picked it all off and my real nails looked mis­er­able when I man­aged to peel away the last of the shel­lac.”

“Do you like blue?”

“No.”

“Do you like green?”

“I don’t want green toe­nails. Peo­ple will think I’m mouldy.” “What about yel­low?”

“Good gravy. Peo­ple will think I’m dy­ing.”

“Red?”

“Never.”

“White?”

I shake my head. She’s ready to bonk me on the head, but she’s too sweet to ad­mit it.

“What about this lovely navy blue, grey­ish colour. It’s very pop­u­lar.”

Well, I like be­ing pop­u­lar, even if it is blue. “OK.”

She looks re­lieved. “How about this shade for your fin­ger­nails? It’s like a beige colour.

Your nails will dis­ap­pear com­pletely, if that’s what you’re go­ing for.”

Isn’t that what ev­ery­one wants when they go for a manicure?

She looks at her watch.

I panic. “Fine. That’s great. Let’s do it.”

Just so she’s clear, as she gets the foot bath ready, I let her know my pref­er­ences. “I like short nails.”

“Fine.”

“The shorter the bet­ter.” “Great.”

“I don’t like feel­ing my nails on the key­board. It’s a dis­trac­tion.”

“Is that so?”

“Some­times I write for hours, so it can be an­noy­ing.” “In­ter­est­ing.”

This isn’t in­ter­est­ing in the least, but she’s too sweet to say so.

I glance over at the lady in the next chair. Sud­denly, I’m in love with the colours she’s cho­sen for her feet. Some­thing I wouldn’t have picked in a mil­lion years be­cause I’m such a chicken.

“That’s nice,” I say.

She splays her toes and we both look at them. “Aren’t they?”

“What’s the name of that colour?” I ask.

“Honky Tonk Wo­man.”

There ya go.

She feels she must re­turn the favour. “Your toe­nail colour is nice as well. What’s it called?”

“Melan­choly Baby.” Which ex­plains a lot.

“And your fin­ger­nails?” she asks.

My nail gal speaks up for me. “This is called Flesh.”

Oh, geez.

My neigh­bour tries not to look dis­mayed at my choice. She holds out her hand. “I thought I’d try Or­ange Pop­si­cle on my first three fin­gers and Honey Green­grass Straw­berry Swirl on the other two. You only live once.”

Why am I not like this wo­man? Why do I stick with blah and co­matose? These colours are not go­ing to be on my nails for the rest of my life. In a mat­ter of sec­onds, they will be chipped off, scrubbed off, stubbed off or bit­ten off.

I’ll gather up my courage for next time.

123RF

One of the hard­est de­ci­sions you’ll make while get­ting a mani-pedi is choos­ing your nail colour. Les­ley Crewe is a writer liv­ing in, and lov­ing, Cape Bre­ton. These are the me­an­der­ing mus­ings of a bored house­wife whose un­grate­ful kids left her alone with a re­tired hus­band and two fat cats who couldn’t care less. Her 10th novel, Be­holden, is be­ing re­leased this fall.

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