Saturday, May 11, 2013

A visit to girly girl country

The woman doing my pedicure looks puzzled, then concerned.

"You want me to leave your callouses. Really?"

"Yes. I need them."

"You're sure? You don't want me to do anything with them?"

"Yes. Does that bug you?"

"Kinda."

If you've been following this blog for the last four years you may recall a post where I proclaimed my disdain for all things girly. I didn't see the need for pedicures or manicures, I pronounced. What was the point? Well, as often happens when pronouncements are made, I found myself darkening the door of a spa and eating my words.

All of my life I have seen a great divide. There's the women who jump in lakes and the ones who won't because their hair would "smell like lake water." There's the ones who don't mind getting dirty and don't scream at bugs, and the ones who always look perfect, their hair a shiny arc down their backs. There's some crossover, but not a lot. If you want to reach the top of a mountain or get down a river, that doesn't leave a lot of time to spend in front of a mirror. The wilderness beats you up, gives you scars from when you slid down a slope, lines your face, tangles your hair.

We're all in this together and I don't judge women who are different from me (but please stop the screaming at bugs. Please). I know I will never be someone who goes to a spa on a regular basis. I won't have great hair (right now, it's hippie long). I still don't quite get eyeliner.

But even still. Even though I've never aspired to being someone who cares a whole lot about makeup and fashion, even though I will probably get a pedicure once or twice a decade,  I have decided it's okay to visit that world now and then, passport in hand. I'll go back to where I came from the next day, but I'm a tourist in this spa, gazing at all the polish colors.

I apologize for my feet. The toenail I lost after the John Muir Trail has vanished, never to return. My feet are unlovely, hiker feet. Runner feet. Not the kind she usually sees, I'm sure.

"They aren't any worse than I saw in school," she says.

I walk out with my second pedicure ever. My toes are temporarily tamed. They almost look like other people's. Well, until you see the callouses.
Blurry so as not to show the true beauty of these feet.

16 comments:

  1. Mary - I feel the same way you do about girly stuff. I don't wear makeup, could care less about my hair and nails, and I've never had a pedicure. And I don't plan on getting one any time soon. But if I ever do get a pedicure, you can be sure I'll ask them to leave the callouses.

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  2. Since I started running I admit I've become a fan of pedicures. The polish is just icing on the cake, as they do a great job of taming foot issues. I actually prefer to file my callouses off as I find I have fewer blisters when I get rid of them. Also ... I have yet to lose a toenail. Weird but true. I feel like I can't even call myself a runner until that finally happens. ;-)

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    1. Jill, you are hilarious. how far do you have to run before you call yourself a runner? I always thought callouses prevented blisters. mine are often the result of them, my feet toughening up. hmm....

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  3. My toenails are the same color as yours right now! :)

    I've never had a pedicure, but I enjoy filing down calluses and painting the nails myself. Sometimes I choose the color that best hides the trail dirt underneath them, others I go full-on girly with pink and stripes or polka dots.

    I've never had a black toenail, yet Matt is constantly plagued by them (which thankfully, he only gets racing road marathons, he got three from Sunday alone). It is funny how some people get them and some never do. I have been told by doctors that I have "textbook beautiful feet" (bahh, like there is such a thing, feet are ugly), but maybe that means finding the right fit of shoe is easier?

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  4. Please don't be insulted but Mary I've always thought you showed a definite girly streak! I think that's mostly because you like dresses and skirts. Not that I don't occasionally don one of said items, in fact you inspired me to buy one of each just this last fall (who knew?) which are the first I've worn in I don't how many years (maybe a decade!). Except for one dinner out I only wore them around the house in the winter - with the temporary living situation there were no outside chores to be done so I could get away with it, but mostly I just find them a real hassle for the way I live my life.
    I had pedicures in a previous life :-o but mostly manicures and long bright nails (another life indeed) but now that I'm free of it I just can't see the point. My toes are short and unattractive and the nails tend to grow curled tight against the front of the toe (a legacy of high heels in that former life I suspect) so I need to keep them ultra short. I wouldn't want to draw attention to them by adding color. I do have all of them at present; I don't long-distance run anymore (that was culprit number one) and the other reason is that I got rid of the hiking shoes that didn't fit well and let my toes hit the ends repeatedly.
    Enjoy the pampering and color. I think I used to, but man it was a very long time ago. I've seen some awesome paint jobs on male toes too (more power to them!) -maybe if I had the toes for it....

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    1. Well, i do think that there's a girly girl struggling to get out, but I never quite let her. I think dresses are comfortable too..I am getting so I can't stand pants.

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  5. I love this post. My sister has to look perfect all the time, I am the opposite, and our mother is the cross-over. On a rare shopping excursion with them, I tried on a sleeveless dress. Winter, so I didn't bother shaving under my arms like I do in the summer, and my sister gasps "OH my GOD! That's disGUSTing!"
    Cue: Face-palm.

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  6. I also used to think I needed my callouses. When I had frostbite, I was actually bummed that my podiatrist had to carve off my callouses (because the skin underneath was, you know, dead. I'll spare details.) But when I started running longer trail races, I'd always develop fresh blisters underneath the callouses on my big toes that were quite painful. Also, my pinkie toes curl under and the callouses would make them almost square, which in turn led to numbness. Beat recommended filing off the callouses, so I tried it, and I had fewer issues. I think in my case callouses continue to thicken until they change the shape of my toes and feet, which exacerbate rubbing.

    The professional pedicures I save for visits with my sisters, but I admit sometimes when I'm out on errands I'm tempted to drop into a salon for some foot pampering. Those things are addictive. :)

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  7. Those feet are made for hiking, un huh. (To the tune of "These boots are made for walking...."

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  8. Bethany your comment made me laugh. I never shave, anything, winter or summer. It's another one of those cultural 'norms' that I find irritating because it is ultimately male-driven. There is some interesting history on the origins of women shaving (prostitutes) and then other women picking up the trend because men were attracted to it. Anyway, good on you for grossing out your sister. Have to love that!

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  9. You write, "I won't have great hair", and then immediately contradict yourself and say, "right now, it's hippie long". Which is it? Pictures you've posted suggest that the latter statement is the accurate one.

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  10. I think 'hippie long' is the epitome of great hair! Of course I think that is especially true on guys...

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  11. Sometimes I can directly reply to comments, sometimes not. So..Cumulus...when I said great hair, I meant the glossy magazine kind. You know, shiny without split ends. Hippie long--looks good on some people (like Dragon). Me--not sure. It's my default, easy to braid.

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  12. Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which is basically the point I was trying to make. In my eye pretty much everyone, male or female, looks better the longer their hair is.

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  13. Ah, okay, Cumulus, I understand. I agree with you. I have seen some fine-looking long hair on men as well!

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  14. My best friend finally dragged me in for my first ever pedicure this weekend! I thought I would hate it but I actually liked it, even the polish. Guess sometimes it pays to try something new!

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