This is an entry for Charlie Powell’s nail polish story contest. Check out the other fantastic entries here. I got a pedicure the other day, picked a color I liked, and used the polish name as inspiration.
“Hi, do you have time to fit me in for a pedicure?” I ask, even though they obviously do since only one foot bath station is being used.
“Of course, pick your color,” says the woman at the counter add she waves to the wall of polish.
This is my least favorite moment of the pedicure process. There are hundreds of colors and I have never been known for my decisiveness. I peruse the hot pinks, the glitters, the sexy reds. It is summer, it should be something that looks flashy in flip flops.
I’ve narrowed it down to about seven when the woman touches my arm and says, “You ready?”
“Er, um, yes,” I say as I make a snap decision on a pretty orchid color that I’d been eying. Before handing it off to her, I flip it over to check the name. “Gothic Lolita.” This makes me smile. I never had a goth stage (despite my propensity for wearing black – because it goes with everything), nor did I have a Lolita stage (I pretty much still believed in Santa and unicorns when I was a teenager). So this color is likely as close as I’ll get to embodying either word. Still, the name amuses me and the color is quite pretty.
The manicurist points to a chair and then to a young man bringing over a stool. “He’ll do your toes today, OK?”
“Sure” I say, assuming he is the owner’s son or something and feeling a little bad for him. How lame would it be to have to paint old ladies toes all day when you’re, hmm, 19, 21, 23? I can’t tell how old he is. Then I realize I’m actually wondering about it. Where did that come from? To be fair, he was impossibly cute. A bit out of place, not just because he was a boy working in a nail salon; but skinny black jeans, Cuck Taylors, and Pink Floyd t-shirts weren’t exactly de regueur at most places like this. I found myself noticing how the black t-shirt hung off the muscles of his shoulders when he turned around and mentally slapped myself for having impure thoughts.
After all his tools were arranged, he sat down facing me, lifted my left foot out of the water and looked up at me. All attempts at keeping my thoughts pure flew right out the window. His eyes were deep melty brown and the look on his face was pure mischief. “Hello,” said with a crooked smile while he slowly caressed my foot and, was that, was that a wink? This is so cheesy, why are my nipples getting hard?
I smile back and do my best not to audibly sigh with pleasure as he starts massaging lotion into my toes and ankles. He doesn’t say anything else, just places my foot back on the ledge and picks up the other one. Again he glances at me with those eyes, his hair falling over his forehead in a tempting sweep. My fingers are itching to smooth it back, which makes me feel like some sort of Mrs. Robinson. Get a grip!
He gets to work on the business of the pedicure, filing and trimming. If it weren’t for the occasional stroke of his hand around my ankle, or the raised eyebrow glances, asking me silently if everything was OK, this would feel like a routine pedicure. I’ve almost convinced myself it is, when he puts my freshly trimmed and sanded feet back into the water and pulls out a new bottle of lotion. He lifts my left foot out of the tub and places it on the ledge, I feel a tiny bit like Cinderella, which is ridiculous. He starts at my toes with the lotion, then runs his hands in circles edging farther and farther up my leg. I’m having difficulty controlling my breathing now. He’s not doing anything inappropriate, it’s just that the normal things are done with such intensity, it’s incredibly hot.
I have convinced myself that this leg thing is just part of the routine and I am imagining more emphasis on it because I think he is cute. Trying to pull it together again, I take a deep breath. Suddenly, he tilts his head up and looks straight into my eyes, his hands massaging up the back of my calf and caressing the sensitive dip behind my knee. Nope. Not imagining it. I can’t look away. I put my fingers up to my lips to, I’m not sure, suppress a whimper, hold in a giggle? What is my problem? Then he smiles this sort of knowing, dirty, good-natured smirk and I am in on this game. He is enjoying making me squirm. (I am enjoying it too, of course) but still, the nerve!
He slides his hands back down my calf, and starts again on my right leg. This time I know what to expect and instead of wondering, I simply enjoy it, flirting right back when he looks at me, smiling a little, raising a questioning eyebrow myself. I’m looking forward to watching him paint my toes with the deep orchid I picked out.
When he finishes my right leg, he places it gently on the edge of the tub and stands up. I’m a bit confused, lost in the little game we’d been playing. The first manicurist comes over, and says “I’m Jen, I’ll be finished your pedicure.” Then she turns to the boy (her brother?) and points to another lady three chairs down from me. He nods and turns away from Jen, giving me a smirk and a wink as he does.
Jen proceeds to paint my toes in the lovely color I picked and I watch as the woman three chairs down from me gets a pedicure she didn’t expect.