While in a forward bend during my morning stretches, I realize I could use a pedicure. All that walking and touring and exploring seem at once to appear on my sacred beauties. They plead for salvation. So a few hours later, I grab my book and leave the house, ready to indulge. Visions of perfectly manicured, massaged feet and rouge nails swirl in my mind.
Nail and beauty salons abound in Buenos Aires. As you may have heard, this city takes beauty quite seriously. (True story: Plastic surgery is subsidized and available for free through most health plans.) So I walk down a main street and choose one.
I ring the bell and enter what immediately seems to be some sort of beauty factory club hybrid. Boliche trance music blares. I raise my voice to ask for a pedicure, and am told to sit and wait a few minutes. I sit. It’s too loud to read, but that’s no problem because I am entertained by a constant flow of beautiful customers seeking an assortment of treatments, the names of which I can’t understand. One by one, they are taken away for grooming.
As I wait, I notice a poster on the wall that features a nude woman laying face down on a table with a black contraption atop her rear. I make out a few words and conclude this treatment is to rid the butt of cellulite.
I am called to the throne. Hoorah! I enter the pedicure room and am directed to lay down on what can best be described as an operating table. No whirlpool with bubbles or massage chair here. Just a reclining table with a florescent lamp overhead. I guess there will be no book reading, let alone water, with this pedicure. Atop a small table next to me lies a few unfamiliar looking tools and bottles. I begin to wonder.
First, she examines my tootsies. Doesn’t seem pleased. She clips. Wet cotton ball shreds are placed atop each of my toenails, presumably to moisten. Cuticles are improved. Next comes the knife. Yes, a legitimate knife is taken to the skin on my toes. A few more sprays of water.
And then the kicker. It is plugged into the wall and looks like an electric sander. Literally, like this. The tip — spinning at a very high speed and emitting a loud, grinding noise — is to be taken to my feet. I brace myself in horror. It hits and I roar in a ticklish frenzy. Chaos ensues. She is still not pleased.
After the sanding is over, she kindly tells me I’m finished. I may not have asked for the right thing. My feet look great, but I guess I’ll have to do the polish myself.