I got my toenails painted the other day. I picked a pink color for my polish. I always go to the same salon, and I tip pretty well, so the ladies who run the spa treat me nicely.
I think I was probably 45 years old before I ever had a professional pedicure. My friend Sue took me out to her salon, during a lunch break when we worked together.
Like many salons in Los Angeles and other cities, the ladies who work there are Vietnamese immigrants. I have wondered why this community managed to fill this specialized niche. Here's an article from the Los Angeles Times about how Vietnamese women began working in the manicure/pedicure trade, with the help of actress Tippi Hedren.
One time at my salon, one of the ladies' young kids were there, and they took a fancy to me. I don't know why the kids were there - I haven't seen any kids there before or since, so their mom must have had some kind of child care emergency. Anyway, the kids were about 4 and 7, and while their mom was doing someone else's nails, her daughters sat beside me and drew pictures for me. I could tell their mom was embarrassed, but I honestly enjoyed being entertained. When I get my toes done, I always ask Linh how her children are. I notice that sometimes if there's a wait for a spa chair, they jump me ahead in the queue.
These days I always have painted toenails. I don't often do my fingernails. I can't maintain a manicure for long, what with computer work and dishwashing, so it never seems like a good value. Although perhaps if I had chipped fingernails, I'd go to the salon more frequently - disgustingly, I let far too much time go between pedicures. Especially in winter. But it always feels so much better when I finally go and get my claws trimmed and painted a fresh pretty color.
Like the dentist's office, the nail salon is the place where I get to read trashy celebrity magazines. It's a guilty pleasure.
Do you paint your toenails? Do you do it yourself or do you go to a salon? How old were you when you got a pedicure for the first time?
Do you see it as a necessity, a luxury, or an indulgence?