by admin on October 20, 2011

french pedicure

a thoughtful reader inquires:

Dear Esme,

I am a plain Jane when it comes to jewelry, accessories and such–this includes my nail fashion if you will–my nails are clean, neat and short and only once in a blue moon do I go all out and go for the mani/pedi–usually this is followed by “buyer’s remorse” for all but the massage and relaxation aspect of the experience itself. As for seeing myself with painted nails and toes-yikes-who is this ?? But lately, EVERYONE has polish so if I dare to wear even the most modest sandals, especially for work or for a social occasion, I feel positively naked without the paint that I can’t stand wearing-what’s a woman to do?

nakedly yours……

what a marvelously pertinent question!  esme has meditated on this issue for some time.  you are quite correct that over the last several years, sporting a pedi/mani has morphed from being a special occasion practice to being a near-compulsory requirement  of good  grooming.  our mothers are probably horrified by this development, as are those of us who still maintain a vestigial allegiance to the ’60’s!

on the other hand, mr. noir’s mother ethel (a half-generation older than esme’s mother) never failed to make a weekly visit to her hair-dresser, and i suppose one might look at one’s manicurist this way.   what never fails to amaze esme is women with really long painted nails who somehow manage to perform manual tasks (such as doing a manicure!) without messing up their nails.  it seems to be a bit like learning to walk in heels:  one has to use one’s hands in a completely different way.  i understand that the other secret is fake nails (mmmm…..ick).

in your case my dear, esme would wonder whether the buyer’s remorse has to do with disliking the painted nails themselves, or spending money on something so fleeting and impermanent.  esme herself loves painted nails, but manages to ruin her fingers in a day, if not in 5 minutes out of the salon.  she has adopted a similar solution to yours—i.e. keeping her fingernails short, clean and neat.  however, i am sure this marks her as a sort of retro-hippy type!

toes are another matter.  i’m afraid you really must polish your toes if you plan to wear sandals.  when esme comes home after a pedicure, she becomes riveted by her toes and attempts to wiggle them to show them off to mr. noir.  if you don’t like color (esme happens to love a paloma picasso sort of red red red), try a lovely french nail, or just a bit of clear polish.  and esme believes that, in this day and age, a working woman deserves to treat herself to an at-least bi-monthly mani-pedi.  pretend you are someone else.  a lady who lunches.  an important executive.  the mistress of a very rich man with houses in new york, paris, milan and pebble beach.  twiggy.  a famous woman scientist know for her perfect coiffure.

and let esme know how it goes!

only half-naked,



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