Posted by: fireweaver | March 20, 2009

my other asian boyfriend

i stepped out of the office just a bit early today since a)it was way too nice to be in that box anymore and b)i haven’t had my nails done since xmas.  they were only lightly busy in the salon, so i was able to pick out colors – a flashy turquoise for my toes and a serendipitously named pearl called “birthday babe” for my fingers – and have a seat in the pedicure lounge.  though i’m not a frequent customer, these ladies know me well, and asked if i wanted a design on my toes.  i responded in the affirmative, and she said, “oh, you come over here, see new nail design!”  expecting the usual binder’s pictures to just have been updated, i was instead led over to a table where a youngish man was working on a customer’s french manicure with all the intense focus of a teenager painting historically accurate details on a model airplane.  with a very deft hand, he was looping a half-dozen colors of paisley shapes into a swirl covering the lady’s index fingers.

when he got done, he headed over to the lounge and started my pedicure.

i was taken aback at first because generally the “nail art specialists” wander from table to table adding these small finishing details on top of the regular work everyone else has done.  and also, of course, it’s rather unusual to have a guy working in a nail salon.  i’ve had men paint my fingernails twice before in the past at other salons, but both of those times it was quite clear that these were younger relatives of the salon owners, filling in reluctantly on an understaffed day.  this guy, though, clearly knew what he was doing, and didn’t have any of the eye-rolling “omg i can’t believe i’m stuck here” attitude of those previous trapped teens.  on the contrary, not only did he do a completely serviceable pedicure, he also gave the best leg massage i’ve ever had at one of these places (for those of you that don’t get your nails done, it’s pretty standard for there to be a medium-weight massage up to the elbows with a manicure or up to the knees in a pedi).

apparently, though, i’m not as worldly nonchalant as i’d like to think i am.  the whole thing did make me a bit uncomfortable:  i had to close my eyes and relax to enjoy my lovely leg massage, i don’t think i could have looked long at his polite half smile without blushing.  it’s not solely that he was a guy – i get vaguely unsettled with any stranger crouching at my feet while i lounge up in the vinyl throne – but the unsettled feeling was by far more acute.  like the guy in pulp fiction said, there’s something quite intimate about a foot massage.

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