Tuesday, April 20, 2010


When life gets tough some people take drugs or drink alcohol; others run screaming to a therapist's couch. Life has been really tough for me lately. So today I found consolation in a pedicure. Why not? This is not a new phenomenon. I wrote a piece about feet that's in my book, still unpublished. I'm working on getting it published but in the meantime, here are some of my thoughts on feet and a great pasta recipe. The recipe relates to the essay. Trust me.

Such Beautiful Feet

I need to rest on the sofa to let my pedicure dry thoroughly. I got the pedicure on Saturday morning. It’s now Tuesday and I have another week and a half left. The woman who did the pedicure said that it takes two weeks to dry. I’m pretty sure that’s what she said although she said it in Vietnamese and she seemed to be speaking to her co-worker rather than to me. In two weeks I’ll get another pedicure and I’ll have to start the drying cycle all over again. This is a grueling maintenance program. I just hope someone sees how great my feet look. But no one sees my feet anymore. Actually, the other women in my yoga class see my feet but I don’t think they notice the pedicure.

I love pedicures. Maybe if I admit this guilty pleasure, perhaps I can let it go, live without it. I already know I can live without it because I did for the first 50 years of my life. I could blame it on my daughter—she’s the one who got me started. The first couple of times I got pedicures with her when I visited her in Austin. But now I have found local sources and I even do it without her. God help me, it didn’t make me feel better to admit it. It just makes me want to drive by the nail salon for a fix, maybe sniff some polish remover.

Can there be anything more decadent than having someone scrape the crud off of your feet? The women (and an occasional man) who give pedicures seem to take great pride in the dedication and artistry of turning a gnarly pair of feet into feet that are buffed, polished, and suitable for public exposure. If you have never had a pedicure, picture this. First, the technician (yes, the job title is nail technician) soaks your feet in a mini whirlpool tub. Then she cleans under your toenails and around your toes. My brother used to collect this same debris from between his toes and chase me through the house with it. “The big stink’s gonna get you,” he cackled.

I can’t believe that I can pay someone to do this for me. After the cleaning process, the technician scrapes all the dead skin off of the bottom of your feet with a razor—it sounds dreadful but it’s my favorite part of the pedicure. Using the razor is a dangerous procedure, so dangerous that it’s illegal is some states. Maybe that’s why I like it so much—living on the wild side.

The technician usually follows all the cleaning and scraping with a moisturizing massage, and finally polish. The nail salon supplies flimsy plastic flip-flops to wear while the polish is drying. I’ve been tempted to take the temporary shoes home and wear them but it would be a dead giveaway. Everyone would know I got a pedicure. I don’t want people to know I get pedicures. I want them to believe that I am humble enough to maintain my own feet.

Once a man told me I had beautiful feet and it gave me the willies. He was a tour guide at the FBI museum and, out of the blue, he commented on my lovely toes. I had a strange, sinking feeling he was one of those people with a foot fetish. But occasionally sane people will compliment my pedicure and I wonder if they are just trying to find something nice to say. They say, “Your toes are so beautiful,” but isn’t that like the old junior high joke, “You don’t sweat much for a fat girl”?


I once read that women in ancient Rome used to soak their feet in lemon juice and olive oil to keep them beautiful. If my feet were soaking in lemon juice and olive oil I’d start craving this pasta dish from the Amalfi coast—a favorite from my friend Debbie who frequently travels to Italy and brought back this recipe.

Tagliolini With Lemon

14 ounces tagliolini (or other pasta)
¼ cup butter
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup heavy cream
1 dried chili pepper (or ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper)
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Zest from one lemon
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cook the pasta.
Melt half the butter, add the wine, and stir until wine evaporates.
Add the cream and the chili pepper.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce.
Stir in the remaining butter, the Parmesan cheese, the zest and the juice.
Toss gently.

No comments:

Post a Comment