Friday, May 16, 2008

I'm just getting my toes done, I'm just getting my toes done

Location: San Francisco
Activity: Getting a pedicure
Situation: have to get naked for it

I am in San Francisco on wee vacation. While here, I decided to pop into a spa located in a downtown shopping mecca for a pedicure, rather than creating another stop in my busy day and going to the regular place near my apartment.

The spa is a sanctuary in the center of the city, luxurious, with the finest decor. As I signed in for my appointment, I was given a tour by the receptionist to prepare me for my appointment to get my toes painted. As she escorted me through the spa, she showed me the waiting area where patrons could wait for their services. It was a large room with enormous velvet sofas and dim lighting, with a wind chime-ish soundtrack playing in the background. About 20 people, men and women, all of them sitting in fluffy white terry robes, sat sipping water infused with cucumber and lemon and reading magazines (none of them paying attention that they were all buck naked except for a swaddling of highly absorbent terry cloth. Next I was introduced to the 'quiet room' a women only space where women could wait before or after their appointment in a new age/ star trek-ish atmosphere of reclining leather chairs, chenille lap robes and chiffon dividing curtains between each chair. Then we came to the ladies lounge, where they have a cold steam/hot steam/ mud baths/ milk baths/ jacuzzis/full makeup area with makeup and hair styling materials etc. available to all who get a little rumpled by being scrubbed, massaged, moisturized and manipulated during their treatment. This place was LAID OUT! Finally, she took me to the locker area, where she asked my shoe size (i assumed for the little paper flip flops you get post pedicure, and then showed me my locker where I could put my bags and purse(I had been shopping) and to CHANGE INTO MY ROBE.

Now, I'm a shy person. I don't get naked for just anybody. And the fact that I was told to change out of my clothes and become a fluffy white terry robe person disturbed me because I WAS JUST GETTING MY TOES PAINTED. I tried to act cool, and waited for my hostess to leave. Suddenly flashbacks of gym class came hurtling back at me - of changing in the locker room while Ms. Juelhich, our female gym teacher gazed at us. I decided to buck up, be a 21st century woman and change into my robe. I felt very discombobulated in the robe, the belt was twisted, it was showing too much cleavage, and I felt like the Stay-puft Marshmellow Man in the movie Ghostbusters. Due to low levels of fashion confidence, I decided to sit in the quiet room - which was women only. I went in, trying not to disturb the greased up post-treatment spa women. A few eyed me with annoyance as I puttered about trying to figure out how to recline the space age leather recliner (there is a secret knob) and decide where to put the sensitive chenille blanket (because I was hot in my sweltering terry cloth tomb) and putz about with a copy of SELF magazine, squinting to read because it was too dark to see, and too hard to quietly flip pages without disturbing others.

After 5 minutes in the quiet zone and the spa patron's withering looks, I decided to buck up and join the living and be brave. I decided to go and sit with in the co-ed area in my terry cloth robe because I realized that I was being a wuss and would never see these people again anyway.

I looked in the mirror, adjusted my robe to be it's most flattering, and then walked with confidence out to the co-ed waiting room. I was going to work my terry cloth stay-puft action.

I walked out there - and everyone was gone.

After all that build up and mental preparation for naught, I hate to say it but I was disappointed.

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