There’s a very specific reason why I put “get a pedicure” on the Summer Bucket List. Back in April, I took up yoga, and I’ve been going pretty much every Monday evening since. It’s a special, sacred hour after the weekend and I love it.
Yoga by turns fascinates and delights me. It’s hard, for sure, but I always come out of class feeling somehow better equipped to carry on with life – it just makes it all feel a tiny bit more manageable. Naturally, I also love that my class is teeny tiny and we sometimes have our lessons in a library with beautiful high ceilings and shelves crammed with books on every subject from thermodynamics to Buddhism. One time my instructor’s dog even joined us for a little bit of stretching (mostly he just snoozed in the corner though, which was kind of adorable).
Having said that, until recently there was one thing that was really bothering me about my yoga experience. Not the fact that I can’t get my legs behind my head (I can’t get my legs anywhere near my head let alone behind it), but the fact that I was having to look at my bare feet while I bent and twisted my way into all those weird and wonderful positions.
OK. I have plenty of body hang-ups that I’ll gracefully refrain from sharing with you on this blog. I think pretty much everyone has a body hang-up of some description or another, and if you tell me you don’t, there is a 99% chance I won’t believe you. I myself am as hung up as they come, but not generally about my feet. I don’t have amazingly good-looking feet, but neither are they amazingly ugly. They are just feet. Five toes, a heel and a sole on each one. And we’re done.
The thing that annoys me about my feet is the condition I keep them in. Layers of nail varnish in various colours and at various stages of chipping from me just painting right on over the top rather than ever bothering to remove it; weird cuts and scratches from badly fitting heels; blisters from my running shoes; strange, nondescript patches of dry skin etc. In short, my not-amazingly-ugly feet simply haven’t been that nice to look at lately. And that’s absolutely not their fault – it’s mine.
I was thinking about this the other day. Why is it that I’ll happily spend countless hours and piles of cash on, say, my hair, but absolutely no time or money on my feet? What does my hair actually do for me, other than occasionally look nice and swish around a bit, but mostly just go frizzy and frustrate me? My feet carry me for miles each and every single day. They are the reason I can dance, cycle and charity shop myself into oblivion. In fact, they are a major reason for me being able to do pretty much everything I enjoy doing. Do I ever thank them for it? Hell no! I reward my feet for their hard graft like the good sadist I am: dancing in heels that pinch and bite and snipe, running without socks on (BLISTERVILLE), climbing in clunky walking boots and marching pretty much everywhere in those $4 flip flops that I bought in New York two years ago. And I expect them never to complain! Never once to register a moment’s disquiet over the raw – literally raw – deal they get in comparison to other parts of my body that do very little that’s actually useful.
The spoiling of my yoga experience was the final straw. On the Bucket List the pedicure went. Unfortunately for me, professional pedicures don’t come cheap. In fact, they are rather surprisingly expensive. Added to that was the fact that I didn’t really want to pay £30 to feel uncomfortable and ashamed of the bad condition of my cuticles for an hour while someone poked and prodded at them with a stick. That’s like, 15 cups of coffee – I’d much rather have the coffee! And anyway, there’s nothing like a bit of DIY every now and again to make a person feel smugly self-sufficient. So a DIY pedicure it was. The full soaking, slathering, primping, preening and snipping experience. Funnily enough, the hardest part of the entire exercise was sitting still long enough to let my feet soak in a basin of water. In the end, it took a rainy day, a hangover and Andy Murray’s epic gold medal tennis match before I could do it. But I got there, and now my feet look nice again, or at least nice enough to let me enjoy yoga.
Ahem. Anyone else do yoga? Or, you know, hate their feet?
Image above from here (fyi, those are not my feet).