Community Papers

Pampering my Achilles heel

Jessica Pawluk has Jessie Jamias apply red lacquer to her toenails during a pedicure session. - Teresa MALLAM/Free Press
Jessica Pawluk has Jessie Jamias apply red lacquer to her toenails during a pedicure session.
— image credit: Teresa MALLAM/Free Press

Pink Cadillacs.

In my lifetime, I’ve heard of pink Cadillacs many times: in a Bruce Springsteen song, in the title of a 1989 movie, and as the favourite flavour in a fleet of cars owned by Elvis Presley. I have never seen one up close. Not until I arrived last week at my host’s house with my Free Press co-worker Lorraine Scott, a casual consultant for Mary Kay.

There was a pink Cadillac in the driveway.

In the Mary Kay world, that’s the big prize. That’s the goal. I didn’t spend too much time drooling over the sweet rides though because we had a lot of work to do. My feet were made for walking, not for looking pretty inside sandals. There were a ton of calluses to correct and 10 toenails to be painted.

There’s nothing like a little summer pampering to make a girl feel girly again.

First comes the luxurious foot soaking in water and lotion, followed by a little file action and foot massage. My first selfless, self pedicure. Here I had been waiting for the old folks’ home to have my first foot clinic before I had to expose not just my twisted toes but my Achilles heel.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve always disliked my feet. When I was 13, my younger sister and I were swimming at the lake and I jumped onto a sandbar, slicing open the underside of my feet on broken glass from beer bottles. It took several dozen stitches to close the wounds, and, since then, my feet have not only been “ugly”, they have been sensitive to the touch.

So pedicures were out. So alas, was toe foreplay. And all men with foot fetishes. Indeed, I used to cringe watching chick flicks where the guy has the girl’s dainty,  slender toes swirling around in his mouth.

Fast forward to 2013. Here I was, in my host’s basement, surrounded on all sides by a roomful of young, slim, toned and tanned women with their pretty feet in their “goddess” sandals. This was no place for middle-aged bunions, corns or cracked skin. Now I’ve watched Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the Housewives shows long enough to know feet that look this pampered usually belong to high-maintenance women.

But here was a group of busy young mothers, entrepreneurs and older working women who still found the time to care for themselves. Some of them made a career for themselves making sure other women did the same.

You have to admire young women entrepreneurs like Raven Hogue who have families but decided they could also have it all. They are collecting Cadillacs, getting trips to conferences in Toronto and also decking out their fingers with diamond rings.

The presenters talked (as we soaked our toes and painted our toenails every colour of the rainbow) about how they truly love Mary Kay products. Like being a kid in a candy store. The women said they got a big boost in self-confidence and they got the opportunity to meet people and earn money.

While it’s not my role or purpose to promote Mary Kay, being invited to an evening of pampering and products rid me of my fear of feet. However, I don’t think there is anything that could persuade me to date a would-be romantic with a penchant for toe sucking.


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