A recent conversation on Facebook has forced me to examine whether or not I would elect to have cosmetic surgery (or Botox, or collagen injections) to, if not halt, at least slow, the aging process. It’s a complicated question, but the simple answer to it is, “Maybe. Maybe if I had the money, I would.”
The truth is that some days when I look in the mirror I do think about making some improvements. The harsh reality is that I can’t. I know that it’s just not economically feasible for me to spend that kind of money on myself. It’s selfish. We need all of our money for things like college tuition, a new mattress and box spring, and, well, food. So, there’s that.
Also, I’m a person who has a hard time parting with the money it costs for a haircut or a pedicure — both of which I am sorely in need of at the moment, both of which fall into the category, especially at my age, of “routine maintenance”. I’ll get the haircut and the pedicure — because they are necessary. Necessary or not, I wouldn’t mind that pair of magenta sandals I spied last week, either.
I’ll be forced to spring for the haircut because if I don’t I’ll soon have to resort to the headband to keep my hair out of my eyes. And, really, unless you’re Olivia Newton-John singing “Let’s Get Physical” in an 80s music video or you’re under the age of sixteen, a headband just says, “I give up!” And I’m no quitter. But neither am I Mrs. Gottrocks. The shoes will very likely remain a pipe dream.
I’ll get the pedicure, too. Because I have to — for therapeutic purposes and not just because the brown polish that I’m currently sporting — on the color wheel, I’d place it somewhere between “raisin” and “chocolate” — is not the color I had chosen the last time I went to the nail salon. (I picked a delicate shade of purple. Or, I thought I did. Clearly there was some sort of mix-up — a mix-up which I was too distracted, ensconced as I was in reading a year-old issue of People magazine, to notice. Until, that is, it was too late to ask the poor girl to change it.)
I’ll get the damn pedicure because, even more than I want to rid myself of poop-colored toenails, I need it to soften the calluses on my feet. I think that guy who walks around barefoot in the woods — the long-haired survivalist from Arizona who is featured on one of those crazy shows my husband watches — has softer feet than I do. And he walks around barefoot in the woods for days on end. That’s his job.
My job is to pay extra for callus removal and to overtip the pedicurist. Because I, myself, rely upon tips to pay my bills, I often overtip for no good reason. Where my pedicurist is concerned, I have two very good reasons for tipping generously.
The first is because it takes her forever and a day to soften my feet. She could probably give three pedicures to normal-footed people in the time it takes her to attend to my hideous paws. So, there’s that.
The second is because she doesn’t judge me. She just does her job competently and, more importantly, quietly. These are fine qualities for folks in almost any line of work where tact is integral to a job well done. I, myself, have to be careful not to widen my eyes and gasp at the 300-lb. man who not only orders a Porterhouse for lunch, but who won’t even consider choosing a green vegetable or a salad as a side. My feet are the equivalent of the 300-lb. man who eschews all things green and leafy, which is why I appreciate the attitude of my pedicurist.
Of course, it probably helps that she doesn’t speak a word of English. Our language barrier doesn’t leave us much in the way of options where idle chit-chat is concerned. Still, she could show her displeasure in other ways — by “tsking” for example. She doesn’t do that or anything else that would indicate that she isn’t delighted to be sanding off my hard skin with a rock. I often wonder if, after I leave, after she lords my large tip over her coworkers, she doesn’t roll her eyes and think, in her native tongue, “Whew! I’m glad THAT’S over! That lady has some gnarly feet!” (I’m sure every language has an equivalent for “gnarly”.)
I’d like to believe that she doesn’t shudder when she sees me coming, but who knows? She always seems happy to see me, but I’m not foolish enough to believe that it’s because she likes me on anything resembling a personal level. I cannot imagine she wakes up in the morning thinking, “I hope that distracted lady with the horrible feet comes in today. It will be my pleasure to service her!” No. I’m fairly certain that she greets me happily because her kid needs new tap shoes or she’s short on the rent this week. Whatever her reasons for going about her job professionally, she and I have, if nothing else, a symbiotic relationship.
If I have to budget for haircuts and pedicures, I can’t foresee a time in the near future when I’ll have the means to finally get myself that chin I’ve always wanted. I won’t be scheduling a collagen injection to rid myself of that under eye puffiness that has plagued me for years, either.
As it is I’m pretty sure that I’ll have to win the lottery in order to replace my mattress and box spring — have you seen the prices of those things lately? And, really, don’t even get me started on the cost of food. I often leave the grocery store feeling like I’ve been, if not bamboozled, at least hoodwinked. I mean, come on, $3.99 for a pint of strawberries? That’s just ridiculous.
Photo credit: pedicure