When my mother was gestating me back in the days of yore, she was told she was having a boy. For ten months I listened (in utero) to people referring to me as a 'him.' My parents bought blue baby clothes and lovingly picked out a boys name to bestow upon me when I finally made my grand entrance.
When Dr. Rose held my squalling slimey body up by the ankles for my exhausted mother to view for the first time my father looked up and joked I had the smallest penis he had ever seen.
I was born without the promised stem. I've been trying to recover it ever since.
Perhaps due to all the subliminal manly messages I received as I was percolating in the womb, I have never been much of a girly girl. I can count on two fingers the times I paid a stranger to glue fake nails onto my finger tips, only to spend the next 96 hours chewing them off like an angry beaver.
I am a boy stuck in a woman's body. I'm okay with that, mostly because I get to play with my boobs whenever I want to.
My husband knows this and sadly accepts the fact his wife is often more manly than he is. He jokes that I'm woman enough in the bedroom and that's all that matters. Really I think he only puts up with me because I can string barb-wired fence and never curse about breaking a nail.
But last week I decided I was going to change my manly ways and try embracing the feminine side of life. I started wearing an apron while cooking (only because it had skull and crossbones on it) and was somewhat surprised by how feminine it made me feel.
There might be something to this woman crap, I thought to myself. So in a daring maneuver I phoned my friend, a local business owner who runs a small spa in a town nearby and told her I was coming in to see her.
"Why? To make fun of me again?" she laughed?
"Nope. I decided to try out one of those pedicure things you are always harping about. It's sandal season and I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about."
I really didn't think much of it before walking into the salon. When I saw all the other gussied up women I looked down at my grubby jeans and stained teeshirt and was just thankful I remembered to run a brush through my stringy hair so I didn't look like a completely homeless bum.
My friend saw me and lit up like a christmas tree. Then she saw my cowboy boots and sighed.
"Tanis, would it have killed you to wear sandals? Sheesh."
"Whaat? What's wrong with the boots?" I asked, genuinely befuddled. "They're comfortable!"
She shook her head and led me to her pedicure station and told me to roll up my pants and take off my boots. After I pried my foot wear offÂ and tried to rub all the sock lint out from between my toes she sighed and muttered something about having her work cut out for her.
Gesturing to the tub of hot water beneath the chair she told me to stick my feet in and just relax. "Let the water work it's magic," she told me.
Peering down I half hoped to see magical water with leprachaun blood or something mixed in the water. Sadly, I was disappointed.
"Magic eh? Whatcha got in there? Acid?" I half joked.
She rolled her eyes at my naivety and then said something about hoping to one day try fish.
"Fish?" I asked. "I just got the cutest aquarium. But I don't think these tubs would make a great aquarium. Hard to see through the plastic walls." Cuz I am a dumbass.
"No, you dumbass," she laughed. "Carp. It's all the rage in the high end sophisticated salons of the world. I'd like to try it myself and see if it's worth the hassle of keeping them."
Puzzled, I scratched my messy hair as the water swirled around my feet, feeling very unmagical. "You mean a fish pedicure? How does that even work?"
She explained that dozens of little carp chew off the dead skin on the feet and help soften the skin.
"That's disgusting." I mean, what next? Beavers used to trim the toenails?
"You are such a hillbilly."
"No, I'm a REDNECK. Get it straight woman," I laughed while still trying to get over the gross image of fish nibbling on my toes.
After the nonmagical waters swirled for what she deemed to be an appropriate amount of time she lifted on of my feet out of the tub and towel dried it. "Sheesh Tanis. You have hobbit feet."
"I do not!" I huffed very indignantly. I have cute feet!"
Apparently my version of cute feet and hers are very different, or so she told me after explaining to me that cute feet don't have enough hair on their toes to shear and weave into a small blanket. What-evah. Muttering something about wanting to wax my toes (wherein I snottily replied "Over my dead body!) she leaned over and grabbed a wicked looking tool and held it to my feet.
"Um, what is that and what are you planning on doing with it?" I asked as I eyed the curious looking implement. It reminded me of a cheese grater.
"I'm going to shave the dead skin off your feet. This might take awhile. Hold still so I don't cut you."
Words every virgin pedicure victim wants to hear. Great.
As she went to town on my stumps a large pile of skin shavings quickly grew. Then she slipped.
"Ow! That hurt!" I said as I yanked my foot out of her talon like grasp.
"Whoops. I told you to stay still."
Feeling duped by this distinctly and now bloody unmagical experience, I held my foot as still as stone and hoped I would be able to walk after she got down shearing my flesh off.
With a sigh of relief (from me) and a shudder of disgust (from her) she reached back into her tool box and grabbed another tool.
Then she started jabbing at my toenails.
"Ouch. What the hell?"
"I'm making your feet pretty. Don't be such a baby," she growled as she stabbed at the nail bed of yet another toe.
Oh ya. This experience? Truly magical, I thought to myself as I peered at my toes to see if they were bleeding. After what seemed like forever, she then grabbed her chainsaw toenail clippers and asked how short I wanted my toenails to be.
"You mean you don't just trim them all the way down?" What kind of weird ass pedicure is this anyways?
"No Tanis," she sighed and then started talking to me like I was a tantruming two year-old. "Some people like theirs a little longer so they look prettier when painted."
"Isn't the whole point of the pedicure just an overpriced experience to have one's toenails cut? You're telling me some people don't even want them cut?"Â Rolling her eyes so hard I'm sure she hurt herself, my friend (who was likely wondering why she was my friend in the first place) just sighed and started hacking at my nails.
Then she filed them. With a vengeance. I'm sure she was taking out some of her inner frustration because when I yelped from the heat of the friction she was creating she laughed. An evil laugh. And called me a pansy.
I squeezed out three kids the size of overgrown watermelons and I'm fairly certain it was a more pleasant experience than I was experiencing in a smallÂ swanky spa.
When she was down filing my toenails down to the nubs, she looked up and laughed at my facial expression. "Come on sissy. You are almost done. What colour would you like your toenails painted?"
"None," I huffed. "Keep them bare."
"Tanis, you said you wanted the full pedicure experience. That includes a paint job. And trust me, your feet need all the help they can get to be pretty and distract from the ugly hobbit thing you've got going on," she joked as she pulled on my toe hair.
My hobbit feet before the pedicure.
"Fine. Red. Bright red. To match the blood pouring out of my feet." An old lady sitting next to me getting a pedicure looked up in horror and then quickly gazed at my feet to see if I was really bleeding. My friend grabbed more toe hair and yanked as she smiled to the elderly patron and told her to "Ignore my friend. She tends to exaggerate whenever they let her out of the mental ward."
How my hobbit feet were supposed to turn out after the pedicure.
The old woman looked at me to see if I had a sign stamped "Nut Job" on my forehead and then nodded and once again turned her attention to her own nasty feet.
After my friend painstakingly applied the red polish to each of my now somewhat shorter toes, I looked down and asked, "Is that it?"
What my hobbit feet rather look like right now. Only with more hair and less pigmented skin.
"Nope. Now we wait for the polish to dry, then I'll lube your feet up and give you a good massage to get you on your way."
Funny, that sounds startling familiar to what my husband might say, I joked. The old lady next to me did NOT laugh. Heh.
When all was said and done and I stood at the register to pay for my bill my friend smiled coyly and said, "Don't forget to tip me."
"Are you kidding me? First I'm shelling out big bucks to have you to hold a razor blade to my skin, stab at my toes, surgically shorten them and then apply paint to cover up my injuries. Now you're telling me I'm supposed to tip you? For hobbling me?" I laughed incredulously.
"Yep. If you think that's bad, wait until you have to tip me after I convince you to let me take a weed wacker and some wax to your bush."
After I hobbled to my car, I decided I wasn't cut out to be a girly girl.
It takes bigger balls than I have to be beautiful.
Somehow, I'm okay with that.