Dragonfly and Thumbnail exchanged a few words in their native tongue, looked at us, laughed, and then continued speaking to each other in the foreign language. Jenny eyed me uncomfortably. They're totally talking about us , she silently communicated to me. Duh, I nodded. Can you blame them?
The next part in the pedicure process is usually my favorite, but my pedicurist's gender was a distraction. Lotion was pumped from its plastic container and applied generously to my legs and feet. Those thumbnails were held aloft as the rest of his hands massaged my flesh. The last time a man touched my feet like this, I was the one getting paid. I wondered if this was strictly business or if this man was living his dream.
"Did you pick a color?" I opened my eyes. The massage was over. Funny he should ask, as if he wasn't well aware that the one prerequisite to sitting in this chair was to pick a goddamn color. I handed him the bright red bottle. Dragonfly was already halfway through painting Jenny's toes a dark merlot.
I finally learned what those thumbnails were for after the footman applied the first coat of red polish to my big toe. When he painted along the edges of my freshly filed and buffed toenail, some of the red pigment made it to my skin. In a movement as fast and natural as the blinking of an eye, he brushed a thumbnail along my cuticle, and the red was gone. He must have quickly wiped his thumbnail on something else because when I next caught a glimpse there was no trace of red there either. This man was the Neo of nail painters, and I was in the Matrix Salon.
Dragonfly led us to the toe driers. Once our feet were nestled inside the boxes that harden the paint with ultra-violet light and a fan, I turned to my sister and said, "See? That wasn't so bad, right?"
"How long do we keep our feet in these?" she asked. "Am I in far enough?"
"Yeah, totally. So? What did you think?"
"It was weird. The scrubbing was horrible. God, that feeling was just so...Wow! My toes look great! I'm never going to wear shoes again! How often are we supposed to get this done?"