I Have Some Strong Opinions About Nail Salon Cleanliness

As you may have guessed, I happen to...HAVE SOME STRONG OPINIONS ABOUT NAIL SALON CLEANLINESS. Namely, they better be hospital sterile, glistening, autoclave clean. We're talking about feet, lots of people's feet, their toenails, their foot fungi, some water, some sloughing. I'm getting queasy. It is possible to get a beautiful pedicure in a space that makes you want to notify the board of health.

As I did. Today. With a friend who'd never had a pedicure, so I'd wooed her with promises of feeling reborn, not recognizing her baby soft feet, the spa environment, the pampering, the massage chair, the STERILITY.

Nail salons need to be free of too much crap. Like figurines and knick-knacks and other dust-collecting brick-a-brack rick-rack crap. Because the pedicure experience is a luxurious one. Or should be. I like my lights low, my space uncluttered, my Sounds of the Rainforest didgeridoo/rainstick/tweety-birds music on low. Not fluorescent light, weird framed photographs of hands with painted nails clasping bunches of hundred dollar bills and Ellen blasting on five TVs.

nail art 1


nail art 2

This one defies description. Yes, that says "COLD, HOT & NAILS."

I get very creeped out by nail art. But I could get over it. If you would make the water in the tub hot enough. If I wasn't constantly seeing little casual cups of blue water with random tools sticking out of them instead of the Barbi-something situation they have at the hairdresser for the combs that always makes me feel a little more confident I won't get lice.

My main beef with today's establishement is they didn't put flip-flops or some other foot-protecting item on my feet after the pedicure. You know how they always put flip-flops on you, really thin, one-use flip-flops and you pad over to the driers all wonky but at least you're not walking barefoot where every Lamisil case in town has trod before you? No flip-flops. When I asked for them, the lady pulled them out and told me it was too late and too hard to put the flip-flops on now that she'd polished my toes, I should have told her sooner. I don't mean to be a prima donna (Or maybe I do? I need to think about this.) but the flip-flops are kind of a big deal.

They are especially a big deal when the floor is soaking wet and everyone keeps slipping and when I point out that it's gross to walk where everyone else has walked barefoot the lady responds "Don't worry, we wash the floors once a day." They are an even bigger deal when the nail dryers are across the room, the room that has wall-to-wall deep-pile carpet that, since everyone's been padding barefoot on it from the barely-tepid footbaths all day, is damp and swampy. Like marshland carpet full of shaved callous and athlete's foot. That's where you're going to be walking barefoot. That's the swamp-carpet on which you will rest your feet while under the dryers. Flip-flops. I ask you.

Okay. So my friend is in love with her pedicure, which is a good thing, because it is indeed lovely, and the massage chair was nice and I am still a little sick about the cleanliness thing but I just won't go back to that place. Can I get a witness?

PS While we're on the subject, I would like to say that pedicures, in sterile environments, are a very fine treat if you can afford it. There is nothing quite like having your feet scraped and buffed and moisturized. I have very few girly musts, but one is that I not show my mangled jogger's toenails to the world without a pedicure. I stand by this.