In my last blog I told you all that we are child free and thus gadding about town as much as we can. On Sunday we took advantage of the child free situation to go and get a pedicure. My spouse had booked the pedicure mid-week and had told them at booking that she would be coming along with a transgender friend and that I would be presenting en femme and asked if that was acceptable to them. It is probably best to disclose and notify with such ‘intimate’ service providers as it is better to avoid ‘problems’ later on. The spa was very happy to have us and confirmed that this would not be a problem.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny. We had breakfast and scurried around getting ready. I have never had a pedicure (or a manicure) before and this was therefore unfamiliar territory for me. I was struck with a number of concerns. What shoes to wear? What bottoms to wear? HELP!
It seemed obvious that I should go with sandals or other open toed shoes. That seemed a ‘no brainer’. But the choice of bottoms was less obvious. On the one hand the weather was lovely, and a skirt was definitely a possibility, but given the length of my skirts I had to ask whether I was happy having the technician looking up my skirt all morning long and perhaps more pertinently, would the technician be happy looking up my skirt? On the other hand, the slacks I have available to me are all rather tight and that presents another problem. They would be difficult to roll up. In the end I went with my denim skirt. I knew it was on the short side, but I decided the weather was good and I get few opportunities to wear a skirt. Sadly, by the time I was ready, it was time to go. So, we had no time for any photographs.
The day spa was in Melrose Arch. Melrose Arch is something of a different concept in South Africa. It combines a shopping mall, with a high street with an office park. Essentially it is an enclosed district (it is a boomed off area with security patrols and security guards at the access points) with shops and restaurants on a sort of high street as well as some smallish shopping mall areas as well and a number of offices for small to large businesses. It thus has something of a ‘European’ city centre flavour to it and is quite different to the rest of Johannesburg. We arrived at the entrance to Melrose Arch and found that a number of streets in the boomed off area had been closed to traffic as there were some extensive Christmas decorations on display and the roads were being used as pedestrian thoroughfares for the festive season. This meant we were going to be late for our appointment.
Fortunately, as it was a Sunday the spa was quiet, and they were not at all put out that we were about ten minutes later than expected. We arrived at Camelot Day Spa and we were immediately put at our ease. Being a spa, they knew how to do this. The atmosphere just oozed calmness. The scents, sounds and decor all combined to relax you. On top of this the staff were highly professional and addressed us as if we were two women. We were led through to the pedicure area and asked to choose the nail polish we wanted and were offered tea and coffee which we gladly accepted.
Shortly after choosing our nail polish and the arrival of our refreshments, our technicians arrived. My spouse had a very chatty woman attend to her, whilst my feet were to be handled by a man. I was somewhat surprised (there are simply not that many men in the South African beauty industry), but I was not unhappy at all. As it turns out, I lucked out. Lerato it turns out is their specialist manicurist and he is gifted with a brush and a bottle of nail polish.
Before we got started Lerato went and fetched a large towel which I draped over my lap ensuring my modesty was preserved during my pedicure. I am not sure whose benefit this was most for, but I was very glad for it. My spouse was wearing jeans and she had to roll them up to her knees. My jeans are all way to tight to do that. Had I been wearing my jeans, I would have had to take them off! I was very glad to be wearing a skirt, even if I had possibly scandalised Lerato with its shortness!
I put my feet in a bowl of warm, scented and ever so slightly soapy water. It was delish. Lerato gave my feet and lower legs a wash and then he exfoliated them. This was all quite sensual, and it was a little ‘different’ having a man touch my body like that but as I said it was all very professional and not much different to having a man cut your hair. After the exfoliation was done, he dried my feet and legs and then rubbed on a cream and proceeded to massage my feet. This was lovely. Lerato had very strong hands and he was able to really work my feet over. I never realised that my feet were in need of this sort of attention, but it really was very relaxing and soothing having them rubbed.
Whilst we were getting our feet rubbed, my spouse’s technician noticed her manicure and asked her where she had had it done because it was ‘so good’. We explained that it was a DIY false nail effort… She was surprised. We had a good giggle and I showed her my matching set, whereupon she asked if we did each other’s nails we disabused her of that notion, but maybe we should? It could be fun…
Soon he had finished all the washing, exfoliating, massaging and cuticle care and it was time for the paint to be applied. The solution he used to clean my nails prior to painting stung a little bit especially where he had removed dead skin, but it was far from painful. He applied the dark red almost aubergine colour I had selected, and I must say I was very impressed with his skill. He did need a few, very minor touch ups before applying the top coat but the paint job was almost perfect. My spouse wasn’t as lucky, and her technician was clearly less skilled at painting as her toes looked less well finished than mine with more imperfections even after the touch ups had been done.
We were very happy with our pedicures and after waiting a bit for the paint to dry we headed off to explore Melrose Arch. We found a restaurant that was part of Jamie Oliver’s chain of restaurants and decided to have lunch there. We had a pizza and whilst it was good, it wasn’t the best pizza I have ever had. It wasn’t very expensive, but it also was not cheap. So, I would describe the experience as underwhelming… It was however fun to sit on the pavement and watch people as they walked by.
Whilst waiting for our food I realised I had experienced something of a wardrobe malfunction… I will write about this later, so please keep a look out.
After lunch we went and dis the monthly grocery shopping at the supermarket and then returned home. On returning home we took a few pictures of my outfit. I was quite worried that after nearly six hours my makeup would have faded, and I would have a tell-tale shadow. I was happily surprised at how the photographs came out. What do you think? I think it isn’t too bad a look after six hours out in the world.
With the benefit of hindsight some powder to reduce the shine and a lipstick touch up would probably have been helpful! Please look out for a later blog post on the makeup I am now using and how it is working for me.
We then donned our bikinis and spent a delightful afternoon lounging at the pool. A fun way to end a very fun day.
Here are my top six tips for a tgirl visit to the spa for a pedicure:
- Wear sandals. You will want to allow your feet to breathe and you definitely don’t want to smudge the paint job.
- Be aware that your feet will be ‘creamy’ and smoother than usual. They may therefore slip around a little in your shoes. You will definitely want well-fitting shoes.
- Think about what you are going to wear. Tight leggings may be a problem. Too short a skirt and your technician will not know where to look all morning long. If you are going to wear trousers or leggings it is probably best to experiment at home see if you can roll them up to just below your knee so that your technician can get access to your feet and calves (your technician will work on your feet and the lower leg, who knew?). It is probably safer to err on the side of a skirt. If you are uncomfortable you can always ask for a towel to preserve some modesty and this is better than having your bottoms get all wet, or worse sitting getting a pedicure in your panties!
- Make sure you know the price of these things in advance. They can be expensive, and you don’t want to leave regretting your decision because it has blown the monthly budget and whilst a pedicure is fabulous, rent and food (sadly) must come first.
- Make sure you can leave the polish on for as long as possible. There is no point in spending all this money only to have to remove the polish after just a few hours. You want to enjoy the look and the feel.
- Conversely don’t focus only on the paint job. There is more to a pedicure than a paint job. It is at least as much about caring for your body and your soul as it is about the aesthetics of your toes.
- Relax and have fun. This is a self-indulgent experience. Enjoy it.