See, I’ve always been the kind of gal who likes to be clean, but grooming is not my strongest suite. I never stepped into a spa growing up, because seriously, I didn’t care much for nails and massages and facials. My mom gave me my haircuts and my school never allowed us to wear nailpolish anyway.
Which is probably why I feel so disoriented when I walk into a spa. I’ll sit for my pedicure. And the aesthetician will tend to my feet with tools I’ll never understand (are they sponges, rough sponges, was that lavender scrub or lotion?) and then expect me to do something as if on cue. And I’ll be too busy gazing into outer space. And then he or she will get irritated and say, no put your foot in the water.
Take the last time, I went for instance. Did you know tube lights can help dry nails? I didn’t. I mean, sure UV rays are great sources of heat and incubators for children use those. But this place had ros of tube lights hidden under furniture right in the middle of the spa. There were nice comfy sofas to sit on. So when my aesthetician said, here are your temporary slippers while your nails dry, go sit there, I literally walked to the sofas and sat, deciding to wait out my wet nail paint. A few minutes later, she came back, smirked and said, not like that, with your feet under the tube lights so they’ll dry.
And I went (in my head), how the heck am I supposed to know that?
As I drove back home, I wondered. Why the heck am I expected to know that? Was it funny because women are just “supposed” to be into this stuff?
I have never been into makeup or dressing up, never fantasized about my wedding and my womb doesn’t skip any beats when I see babies (and I’m almost 30; what blasphemy!).
I get women that are into all of those things; your priorities are cool too, you know? You do you!
What I absolutely cannot comprehend is why it’s not ok to NOT be into those things. My nails are always history, I love getting my hands and feet dirty doing dishes or dancing or walking barefoot on the grass, I love to spend time yakking or drinking tea or reading or whiling away time instead of spending 2 hours getting mani-pedis. I also love to appreciate other people’s nails when I think they look awesome (which is all my best friends’ nails; they are super cool ladies who do many amazing things at work and their nails).
And sometimes, I look at my feet and think, they need more love than I can give them so I’ll head over to a spa. And that’s when I start feeling stupid, because I don’t know anything, and the aestheticians mock me, and then I resolve to not go in there ever again (or for the next month or two).
Which is when I start wishing that women would just break those damned walls sometimes. It’s like, you could be a NASA scientist, and some one could still walk up to you and say, your nails are yuk, you’re not getting laid. Any of my male friends ever go through that? Ummm, no.
I’ve always wondered why Google CEO Sundar Pichai can show up to a talk in a tattered pair of jeans but Sheryl Sandberg has to be perfectly groomed and coiffed for the same. The thing is, Pichai is still a nerd and “OMG! Awesome” when he does it, but had Sandberg showed up to work like that, she’d just be unkempt.
I say “You’re dressed nice today” to a male colleague, he looks away and feels awkward, but it’s somehow not awkward for women to hear that from women and men alike. In fact, we’ll preen when we hear it too.
Sometimes it’s weird being a woman. For 23 years of my life, I liked to be labeled as someone great at what I did, and I still do, but somewhere between 23 and 30, women around me just started thinking my merit wasn’t good enough without a pink dab of powder on my face and eyes.