I’ve never felt comfortable in salons. I understand why I get fidgety standing in the doorway and have to push myself to approach the front desk. I’ve never believed myself worthy of the cost or the fuss.
My family of origin didn’t have a lot of money, and my mother gave everyone whatever haircuts we needed. I did get my hair cut at a salon near my house during the summer before eighth grade. I found out that the doctor had recommended orthopedic shoes for me, and the potential of being even more different when I started school in September nauseated me.
So I walked the four blocks to Northland Shopping Center, tendered six crumpled dollars of my babysitting money, and had all my hair chopped off at the little hair-cutting place that my mother used. My father screamed for hours that I had destroyed my “crowning glory”. My mother cried; she understood my shame.
As an adult I have never shaken the fundamental belief that I am an interloper at these havens of feminine self-indulgence. I’ve paid good money for bad haircuts because I didn’t have enough gumption to overcome my timidity and protest the layering of my curly mop. I’ve left the heady perfumed dens with weird colors and overlong bangs. I’m slunk away, never to return, changing stylists every eight weeks, sometimes giving up for years and applying box color in the bathroom to cover my grey.
Last spring, I paid two-and-a-half times the going rate to a new salon, which first ruined my hair, then fixed it, and on my return visit, upped the cost by fifty bucks because I had “so much hair”. I recovered, sought out a stylist that had once treated me with decency for my next cut, and counted myself lucky that my secretary has a degree in cosmetology and put her foot down about my returning to the fancy-pants place and getting robbed blind.
So with great trepidation, I sought out somewhere to get a pedicure yesterday.
A pedicure is almost a necessity for me. I’ve gotten to the point in the progression of my disability at which bending is hard for me, so in addition to the potential relaxation, the attention to this little personal chore provided by a salon serves a critical purpose. But on the two previous trips which I made for pedicures, I found myself shunted from chair to drying station in little flat foam flipflops propelled by the push of a technician eager to fill the next time slot.
With a couple of recommendations from friends, I headed south on Ward Parkway. But in my confusion, I stopped a block shy of the one for which I was aiming, and ended up in the hands of an angel at Sweet D Nails & Spa.
The little lady guided me to a chair and eased my purse from my shoulder. She gently lifted my feet and helped me remove my gardening shoes, which she placed next to the sandals which I had brought for “after”. She eased each foot into the warm water, and for the next hour, massaged and manicured my feet and toes to the point of sublime softness.
Afterwards, she held those offensive little flipflops and turned her head sideways. I stared at them, then her, and she shook her head and thrust them back into the drawer beside her station. When it came time to move into the room where I would be given a facial waxing — which I had ordered on a whim — she held my hand and helped me dodge the chairs while I walked with bare feet and splayed toes to protect the pearly pink polish which she had so carefully applied.
Ninety minutes after my arrival, and a mere $45.00 poorer, I left the place and headed west for my next errand, feeling, at long last, like a woman entitled to a little pampering. There are all kinds of angels in the world, some in human form, some in the form of beloved pets or dainty monarchs winging their way north or south depending on the season. But of the lesser known angels, so little is said. Today I’d like to acknowledge them: Those who bestow kindness without request; who see need and silently fulfill it; who use gentle voices, and tender touches, and soft glances despite their own burdens and the pressures of their own lives.
What would we do without these guardians of our hearts? I for one would be so much poorer. The richness of their ministration gladdens my spirit.
If you want to check out Sweet D Nail & Spa, click THIS LINK.