Monday, April 2, 2012


Toenails grow much more slowly, as we all know, than fingernails. They need far less attention. Nevertheless, from time to time they need to be trimmed. I imagine that my nanny took care of this when I was very young, and perhaps my mother took over when I began attending kindergarten. When I left for boarding school at age 8, the terms were never more than 14 weeks, so my mother may have continued to do the trimming. By the time I became a Naval Cadet at 13, I had probably learned to cut my own toenails "as needed".

As I entered my eighties, cutting my own toenails became more difficult. I don't think I ever tried to con Barbara into the job, because at that time I decided to try a pedicure instead. Since then, I have always patronized a nail salon,usually about once every three months. When I stretched out this interval, after my first pedicure, the assistant at the nail shop remonstrated with me, suggesting that I should go there more often. As my toenails had begun causing holes in my socks, I knew she was right.

I don't really require the full treatment--the foot washing, toe cleaning, etc., but that comes as part of the pedicure. The price I pay ($17) is quite reasonable. (I have recently been nudged by a friend into increasing the tip from $3 to $5. I'd happily pay five bucks just to have my nails clipped, but I go with the flow.)

In our part of Northern California, the operation of nail salons seems to be the monopoly of Vietnamese. I do wonder who did the work before these immigrants arrived in the US, and I also wonder if Vietnamese monopolize this work in areas far from the Left Coast, such as in the states of Kansas, Maine, and Alabama..

I can still cut my own fingernails, although I prefer it when my assistant (Jane) graciously undertakes this chore.

Some years ago, Dr. Iishi (my Kaiser podiatrist) offered to operate to remove my toenails. I set a date, but then chickened out. The idea, of being able to forget about trimming toenails, appealed to me, but the prospect of the initial discomfort and pain did not...

1 comment: