“Oh, you’ll love it!” I’m assured by Andrea Stier, as I nervously take off my shoes and socks for my first (and last) pedicure. ever.
I’m at Karma Organic Spa in Ridgewood, where all the elite feet meet, about to roll up my pant legs and drop my tender tootsies into a too-fragrant broth that, as Stier, Karma’s receptionist, informs me, consists of “warm water, chopped rosemary, mint leaves, peppermint oil, tea tree oil and … “
“No, please,” I beg, lowering my feet into the soup. “Don’t tell me anymore. I won’t be able to handle it.”
Karma was opened on Wilsey Square four years ago by Nausil Zaheer and his wife, Stephanie. Neither is on hand for my $35 descent into rosemary-scented madness, but Stier does her best to be helpful and even offers to fetch me a steaming cup of green tea.
Beyond keeping them clean and buying comfortable shoes, most men don’t want to spend a lot of time on their feet. Guys should think of a pedicure like a shave at the barber shop – a relaxing treat. But if the nail salon or spa is not your thing, here are the basics you need to take care of your feet at home.
The leading cause of hangnails and ingrown toenails is clumsy nail trimming. look for nail “nippers” that have a curved handle and a cutting jaw shaped to follow the natural curve of nails.
Poor-fitting shoes can cause chafing that can lead to blisters and calluses. If calluses or corns show up, soak your feet in water for 10 to 15 minutes to help soften up the skin. then gently remove the thickened skin with a pumice stone.
If you stand for long hours, you may end the day with a case of sore feet. Insoles can help make shoes more comfortable. look for ones that have a plastic shell at the bottom, which makes them strong enough to provide real support, say podiatrists.
* Anti-fungal lotion, powder or spray
Basic good foot hygiene is the best way to prevent fungal infections. Wash your feet frequently and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes, where the culprits typically take hold. use an antifungal lotion or powder, and if you have sweaty feet, look for a medicated powder or spray.
It’s a beverage that seems soothingly in sync with the Zaheers’ karma-licious philosophy of untainted surroundings: carbonized bamboo flooring, furniture made from recycled materials and walls awash in non-toxic paints.
After all, the feet are the temple of the sole. Or something like that.
I’m sitting on an elevated platform next to a woman who will only identify herself to me as Amanda from Wyckoff. “Hi, I’m Amanda!” she says, cheerfully.
“Hi,” I reply. “I’m just … a man.”
A man — duh — getting a pedicure!
WHAT AM I DOING HERE?
Amanda comes to Karma regularly for manicures, pedicures and facials and has tried, unsuccessfully, to get her husband to join her.
“I’m not sure what it is with men,” Amanda says, as I continue soaking. “I think they associate touching with … you know … intimacy.”
“I honestly have no idea,” I answer, with a shrug. But thanks, Amanda, for giving me another reason to be uncomfortable.
In case it matters, I didn’t clip my nails for two weeks in anticipation of this blessed event. I also took an honest-to-gosh bath before heading to the spa, scrubbing my feet profusely.
This is similar to what I do before a teeth-cleaning: I brush, brush some more, floss, brush again, take out the Waterpik, there’s no end to it. And for what? my hygienist still manages to yank out a few stray particles, day-old poppy seeds, half a Caesar salad … it’s embarrassing.
As my soaking time begins to evaporate, I finally meet my pedicurist, who is, apparently, no such thing. “I’m a nail technician,” says Mirelsa Ruiz of Jersey City.
“Well, of course you are,” I reply as she — oh, no! — touches my feet and gives them the once-over.
“Are they OK?” I ask nervously, squirming around in my seat.
“Oh, yes,” Ruiz nods. “Very good. you have nicer feet than a woman.”
Ah. now, there’s a compliment I’ve waited my whole life to hear. And, staring down at them, Stier agrees, scrutinizing my 11.5 hooves and whispering, “We have seen some scary ones.”