At 50, I have discovered the magic of pampering. After a trying day, I treated myself to my first (professional) manicure/pedicure ever (I use the qualifier “professional” because I would hate to conjure the image that might be had of 50 years of complete neglect). I won’t wait 50 years for the next time. In fact, I may have to rework our “budget” (we don’t really have one in writing, just in our heads) to include a monthly, self-indulgent visit to the nail salon. Sigh. Pure heaven, although I admit to being just a tad intimidated by the protocol. As a novice, I was uncertain…

…was I paying for this wonderful massaging chair that I was sitting in? By the minute? By the 1/2 hour? I didn’t know, and at the moment, I didn’t care. It felt too good…

…I asked for the “deluxe” treatment after reading the menu, but I admit to having no clue as to what I was actually requesting. So, yes, I was surprised when I found that what I was dipping into was hot wax…

…What kind of nails did I want? Ummm….better ones than I had when I came in?

I found myself saying over and over, “I have no idea what I’m doing,” because it seemed as if this was supposed to be second nature to me. There were a few “regulars” in the salon, and I was envious of their confident manner. I felt conspicuous, and I’m fairly certain that my naïvety (or worse) was being discussed in a language that I could not understand. I have to admit that would be cool. To be able to own or be employed in a place where you could talk freely, openly, and honestly with your coworkers about your sometimes annoying (although paying) customers, while smiling and acting as if everything was just peachy. I guess that’s how many non-English speaking people feel all the time.

And I caused damage. I brought my left hand away too quickly from the little, spinning drying fan, and I wrecked the polish on one of the nails. And she was almost done, too. She did look a bit peevish, but she took it in stride, perhaps taking into consideration that this was my maiden voyage. And how horrified I looked to have broken rank and degraded an otherwise flawless performance.

I look forward to next time not only because the whole experience was so pleasurable, but because I will return as a veteran.

I will be decisive in choosing a color.

I will know that I don’t have to sit under the double, drying table thingie at the end for 25 minutes because they were all too busy to tell me to get up and pay now for God’s sake!

Yes. I will return triumphantly, knowing what to do, and knowing what to expect, which is a little bit of paradise to brighten the best or worst of days. Granted, a luxury that not everyone can afford during these lean times.  But if you can make it work, as Tim Gunn would say, then do yourself a favor and give yourself a treat. Of course, this is not a novelty to many (most?) people as practically everybody I know discovered this little secret long ago. Better late than never, I say.