Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Same...But Different

I had a Parisian first today - which in this case means something I did for the first time in Paris - with my first mani/pedi.  I know, we've been here six months. I did have one in Chicago in early September, which only means that my feet were....in need of pedicure.  Mr. Oil, wonderful guy that he is, bought me a mani/pedi deal from Living Social (yes, Living Social has made it to Paris!), and I finally got around to going.

Now, I know I shouldn't judge all mani/pedis in Paris by my experience at Ongles et Beaute on Rue Courcelles, even if it is a fairly shmancy part of town.  And there wasn't really anything wrong with the job they did - my fingers and toes are primped and pretty.  Yet there was some clear differences. Glaring difference #1 - no massage chairs. What! Practically not worth getting a pedicure if there's no massage chair. I think that's at least half the reason I even get pedicures.  Nope, the girl just filled up a metal tub with not-even-warm water, and that was that.  
My feet soaking in room temperature water.

The foot/hand massage part of the experience - which, yes, is mostly a perk, but a nice one - was also totally pathetic.   In addition, I proceeded to giggle the whole time the girl was scrubbing the bottom of my foot, until she gave me a very French look and explained that my feet NEED this so would I please stop fidgeting.  But the primary difference between any American mani/pedi and this French mani/pedi was that the women working in the salon were not Asian.  One was Middle Eastern looking and the other was Russian.  Are there no Asian nail salons in Paris, or was I in some sort of beauty Twilight Zone? 

I was also chastised for biting my fingernails ("BAD." Stern glare.).  But the nail polishes were the same, and just seeing the familiar OPI bottles was reassuring.  Not being able to communicate with the girls working on me wasn't actually new.  The fact that the instant girl #1 finished my feet, she walked outside and proceeded to smoke immediately in front of the door - now, that was new.  Everyone should leave a mani/pedi feeling refreshed and smelling of eau de cigarette.

I don't know whether French women are just uninterested in pedicures, or find the prices atrocious (have I mentioned that sans Living Social coupon, a mani/pedi costs about $50-$70).  I do know that a good pedicure (with massage chair) is definitely going on my Things-That-Are-Better-In-The-US list.

Oh massage chair. How I miss you.