One of the variety of delights of LA is the $20 mani pedi (manicure and pedicure in case anyone not down with the beauty lingo). Many salons as an added bonus have outstanding massage chairs that you can sit in whilst getting said mani pedi – so for $20 you get nails painted, feet scrubbed and mini arm and foot massage. Yet it is never actually $20. I often leave with it costing $50 or so due to the add ons I have. Simply don’t have them you say, well I have tried.
Many salons are ran by wonderfully kind people from Thailand or Korea and English is not their first language. Often their accents remain so strong that whilst the knowledge of language and use of words may be correct it is very difficult to understand. Sometimes to make it even harder they are wearing face masks and speak to you from behind as some form of cruel joke to remove the added element of utilising lip movement to aid in comprehension.
As a result of my failure to understand on first request what is being asked of me, yet failing to abandon my English polite reserve, which dictates I don’t ask anyone to repeat themselves more than twice, for fear of embarrassment to all parties, I often end up saying what I think is the right answer and within this Mini soap drama of pleased or surprised looks I get back we end up with an agreement on something happening, I rarely realize what until it actually takes part – extra leg massage, a neck massage, extra foot scrub, sea salt scrub for the legs. The list of options seems endless and just when you think you’ve worked out the routine so you know by experience when to say no, they mix up the sevices and add new things and it all starts again.
I say all of this without complaint, however and rather with humour. Since as I mentioned earlier I have failed to ever meet anyone working in the salons that isn’t exceptionally polite and that for me deserves a medal. Give me just one hour working on a series of feet ranging from the acceptable to the down right disturbing and I’d be out of there.
So I invite you all on visiting to try out the salons (best recommendation is Zumani on Main St, Santa Monica) and see if you fare better in the game of hands and feet than I. Good luck!