5/30/2010

The Cheapest and Best Therapy Money Can Buy



In Texas, it's warm 10 months out of the year; people wear sandals for nearly as long. It's no surprise that there's a nail salon on every street corner and prices are competitive. Once when I was touring the ruins of Pompeii, the tour guide said that ancient Pompeiians loved to eat out and did so frequently. Someone in our tour group asked, "How this could be determined? " The answer had to do with simple mathematical facts: there were more restaurants uncovered in the ruins of the city than there were citizens who lived there. What other conclusion can be drawn ? And so it is with the plethora of nail salons, in every price range and category, that dot my fair city and those all around.
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People of my mother's generation deemed manicures or pedicures to be a special luxury item, the kind of thing one did for a very special occasion (weddings, prom). Perhaps due to the influx of inexpensive laborers, this once or twice in a lifetime pampering has now become a weekly event for many people I know. Prices are hideously cheap, to the point that I feel guilty sometimes - and always tip extravagantly as a result. Inside my local salons, clientele range from frazzled housewives to college girls to working women to teeny boppers. One can chose to have a quiet, soothing experience (New Age music, light massage, dim lighting, glass of wine) or be sociable and visit with friends while being attended to. There are so many choices in terms of which nail salon to go to, one can choose based on mood, price, proximity, cleanliness, decor, quality, or any number of variables. I used to go to a place at the mall - can't beat that convenience - but it started looking a tad ratty, and a year ago gave me a planter's wart. Scratch that one off the list. Now I favor one or two different spots, and use varies depending on where I am, how crowded they are, etc. Mani-pedi's take about an hour per procedure, (sometimes I do both, sometimes, one, sometimes the other, depending on season, time available, budget, etc) but the relaxation these procedures provide, after a rough day of handling kids - students or my own flesh and blood - is worth more than gold to me.

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