Massages and pedicures are apparently meant to be the height of luxurious relaxation. Huh. Add them to the list of things I'm supposed to like but don't really enjoy. For me, massages are crazy painful. During one, the thought came to me unbidden: "I wonder if they do this to prisoners in Iraq." That kind of painful. I sometimes get one in order to try to fix my broken self, but this is a choice like realizing, yes, you really do need to suck it up and get that uncomfortable medical procedure. It's not a choice I'd make during a weekend getaway or girls' weekend or whatever. I mean do you and your beloved or your gaggle of giggling companions get together for colonoscopies? No.

Similarly, I very much enjoy my post-pedicure foot, but the majority of the actual pedicure, not so much. First of all, I'm extremely ticklish, so the exfoliating interlude involves my exerting Jedi mind strength to overcome the reflex that urges me to kick the tickler in the face. Then there's the poking and scraping with metal implements part. Ouch. And then, the crazy painful massage of legs and feet (see above). The sensible thing, obviously, would be to tell the lady that I would like her to skip that part but A) I am a coward and B) there is a significant language barrier. Instead, I hold my breath and grip the arms of the chair until it's over. Still, unlike the body massage where you know the torture will continue for the full 90 minutes, because, freakishly, that's what you've paid for, the pedicure eventually becomes just about painting and drying (read: sitting and reading). Not bad. Plus, I have ten little tidy red-polished toes to show for it.

Incidentally, another bewildering thing about the nail salon is the colors of polish chosen by other ladies. The woman next to me had her toenails pained a shade that was like a slightly oranger version of the Crayola crayon they used to call something like "flesh tone." (Presumably, in the new world of multicultural awareness, they've changed the name. Turns out, not everyone's flesh is the same tone. Go figure.) Anyway, does this color, whatever you choose to call it, make an attractive nail polish? I assure you it does not. I didn't tell her, though. Hopefully, someone who knows and loves her will break it to her gently.