The Necessary Unnecessary: Mani/Pedis

It has become a tradition amongst my closest group of friends, that when we visit each other in our respective cities we go out for mani-pedis. This opulent little outing gives us a chance to catch up on each others work, relationships, hopes, dreams etc… all whilst a nimble Chinese woman hacks away at our phalanges like a scorned anti-hero from a Tarantino Movie.

One of my favourite things about this whole phenomenon is the names of the various salons. Wonderful half-there puns lovingly crafted by sweethearts with a somewhat strained relationship with the English language. Literary gems like ‘Pretty Fingers’ ‘Cute-icles’ or ‘Lusty Nails’. You can tell that they have been created with such grand intentions of luxury and elegance, but have unfortunately ended up sounding somewhat like a website for nail based fetish porn or something that a serial killer keeps as trophies.

On paper it sounds like a fairly uncomfortable experience, right? A stranger bathing, rubbing and picking at your feet and fingers. Perhaps even more awkward than trying to explain to your Nana that 50 Shades of Grey is not a guide to hair colour maintenance for the over 70s, but a saucy erotic novel with more spanking and screaming than an episode of Super Nanny.

The truth is this: mani-pedis, whilst being girly, unnecessary and ultimately far too decadent for someone who gets paid like I do, are super enjoyable.

So how did this strange, grammatically awkward trend come into being? Was it just the next logical step for capitalism OR was it some sort of Da Vinci Code-esque conspiracy – masterminded in tandem by the Masons and the Real Housewives of Orange Country?

Naturally, being the untapped well of knowledge that I am (see: crazy-sauce) I figured I’d enlighten you. Here is a little history lesson fo’ all a ya’lls.

The mani-pedi female bonding experience was invented in the mid-’90s when the producers of Clueless and Sex and the City simultaneously realised that women in their early twenties no longer hung out at milk bars or in the sitting rooms of upper-class British estates. These producers needed a scenario in which their female leads could discuss all things salacious and naughty, in a place free from judgement, giddy on sisterhood and methyl methacrylate fumes. And so the mani-pedi was born. The trend subsequently took off, adopted mainly by recent immigrants from South East Asia and middle class white women with tinea and slightly too much cash.

Some historians disagree. Believing instead that the mani-pedi was first invented by Isaac Newton after he looked down at his hands – illuminated for the first time in electric light- and proclaimed “By golly, my nailsbeds are atrocious”.

Feel free to climb on your respective desks and shout “Oh captain, my captain.”

If I think about it critically going to nail salon really is a colossal waste of my time, money and a sad statement about my vanity.

But then again, my toes now look like they are wearing little bow-ties…

Haters gonna hate.

You can read more from Caitlin O’Brien on her blog.

(Image via Shutterstock).