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Letters from America
Taken from Jurassic Park and Put into Civilization
By Greg Evans
Special Correspondent
Edward Scissorfeet
My girlfriend woke up this morning with a jolt and a moan and sharp stinging pain on her ankle. Once again, her soft skin was stabbed by my two-plus inch ingrown toenail that screamed velociraptor. Enough was enough, one too many nights of sleeping beside Edward Scissorfeet, and she had reached her “Snapped,” tolerance. I would have to get my feet fixed, or I would be sleeping at the Super 8. She was adamant about trimming down my toenails. It was time for me to go against all that was manly and get my rugged, Hulk Hogan feet soaked, filed, hammered, and essentially cured of 42 years of neglect.

“You are getting a pedicure today,” my girlfriend said to me.

“No, thanks,” I said.

“Uh, yes, you are,” she said as we powerwalked through the neighborhood.

When I realized that she truly wasn’t joking, a blast of anxiety accosted me with the thought of having a stranger touch me and having my manhood denounced. “It’s only feet!” I said to myself. And despite being childishly ticklish on the bottoms, I admit, I am willing to try almost anything once. Who knows, maybe it will be this mind-blowing, intoxicating experience that will change my life, much like the first time I put fish sauce in my food, and my world did summersaults.

People have pondered and questioned me, “These toes, why? Are you planning to climb up trees or something?” They get described as hideous beasts, sharp as steak knives, and a terror for the toes of socks and have generated curious stares from horrified beachgoers and alarmed children. If I go through it, I deserve Bulgogi Kim Bap and a pitcher of Soju at Seoul Food.

We walked into the NailsUp in Huntersville. I was relieved the business was not busy. There would be no waiting period to sit and overanalyze anything. I think they saw the deer-in-headlights look and hurried me into seat #1. The lady assisted in wrenching and rolling up my jeans to get it started. At first, my dry and jagged feet got plunged into warm, bubbling water that reminded me of a jacuzzi. “Ok, this isn’t so bad?” she said. “No, this is quite pleasant,” I said. My girlfriend was seated next to me. We were then handed menus. “You can have coffee, water, juice or wine, whatever you like,” the lady said. I declined a beverage though I was curious to see what kind of coffee they had, being that I am a bit of a coffee snob wondering if they imported Clutch from Mooresville.

After a few minutes, my feet were extracted from the warm water, dried off and the nice lady's smile disappeared. A metal file-looking object appeared. She clutched it in her hand, knuckles white, and proceeded to go to work on my toes. I braced myself for the pain and imagined she was a "foot dentist," hysterically laughing as she dug and pried under my toenails, but it wasn’t bad at all. It had all been in my head. My girlfriend would admit that I do have quite an active imagination when I am out of my comfort zone.

Oil was then applied to my feet and calf muscles, and I suddenly felt heat cascading up and down them. I glanced over the screen of my laptop to witness the lady palming hot rocks and running them up and down my legs and feet. It was pure ecstasy. I can’t be sure, but I think I went into a brief hedonistic comatose. Was I drooling? I prefer not to use the word “amazing” too often, it is as overused as Brittany Spears on the radio, but that is what it was, amazing, pure euphoria. “Tiara, this is incredible,” I said to my girlfriend. It is no wonder women are so delightful after a stint in one of these places. Had there been a cat stuck in a tree upon leaving the shop, I would have gladly climbed up and rescued the varmint despite being deathly allergic to them.

After the pedicurist finished with the rocks, the feet went back in the jacuzzi for a bit and then sat out to dry. My girlfriend educated me that with the push of a button, the chair becomes a masseuse. Not only did my feet feel mushy like Jello, but the kinks in my back got worked out by this robotic Dalai Lama. All that was missing was a hammock and a Paul Theroux novel. I learned a lesson that day. You can't knock it until you try it, within reason.

This experience turned a stereotype on its head. The “pedicure” doesn’t have to include nail polish at all, it is very much like a foot massage, and if you have ingrown toenails like me, the pain you suffered for the last 30 years will disappear. I would have no problem doing it again. I think more guys should try it. There was nothing feminine about the process. It is the name that throws guys off and the setting. The word pedicure or manicure registers in a guy’s head as “femininity,” or a high-end, sweater-wearing, permed-haired small dog’s food. The image is Paris Hilton, pink dress effeminateness, but again it is all an illusion, a stigma, a societal misconception, and we wonder why this is the case? Maybe it goes back to the times of the cavemen or the Native American hunters and warriors, being manly and rigid and ruthless to survive and utterly antithetical to any pampering. Is it pampering? Or is it practical to have your ingrown toenails fixed so you can walk without pain and a limp?

Is it any different than sitting back in the recliner in your socks and sweatpants with a beer and a belly full of wings, falling asleep in front of the football game on your 75” television as the wife or girlfriend brings you more beer and junk food?

I grew up in a man’s world. Never in a thousand years did I ever imagine myself sitting in a nail salon having hot rocks caressing my hairy legs and feet. But I guess I am more secure with myself than I realized, and the best part about it was being able to do it beside my girlfriend, who enjoyed having me there with her. She said it meant so much to her, and that mattered more than the epicureanism.



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Greg Evans, associate director of communications of King University in Bristol TN, in the US, serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times. The seasoned journalist has been writing for such papers as the Mooresville Tribune, Lake Norman Citizen, the Bristol Herald Courier, and the Sentinel-Progress (Easley, SC). He can be reached at gaevans1@king.edu

 

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