Recently, the salon where I get my hair done installed 10-12 throne-style spa chairs. I stopped to stare. They look less like “chairs” and more like a “Barcalounger” for giants or a “Lazy Boy” on steroids. They looked inviting and intimidating at the same time.
In the throne sits the client looking bored and superior, as they are perched up higher than anyone else. On each side of the throne are busily working masked Asian women looking like they are uncovering delicate bones from an archeology dig that will reveal the meaning of life. Or the “Holy Grail.” Another masked woman sits on a miniature blue chair that looks like it is made for a child. She is working busily at the client’s feet.
I have the feeling the client would love to pull out his/her cell to check for any recent emails or text messages, but most unfortunately possibly the only real block to one staring at one’s smart phone is the manicure.
Both hands being confined at first to small pink or pale blue plastic containers of warm sudsy water. Then each hand is held against the fat arm of the throne chair, having stubborn cuticles trimmed on one hand while on the other each nail is being filed with the same stroke one uses on a Stradivarius violin. Sadly, the client must wait until the end to see who sent them the most recent text or the latest news of the day.
Still staring, I see a cute blonde girl clicking away on her iPad. Too adorable! But then she climbs into a throne chair next to her mommy. This young girl is four-years-old. The masked women move in on her with the grace that demonstrates precise teamwork. After the soaking of the hands, and feet, but wait, her feet don’t make it into the footbath. One woman holds the bubbly water container up to the little girl’s feet. The four year old has picked her color and makes funny faces while the women work on her tiny hands and feet and even tinier nails.
Before I know it, a boy, perhaps three, but no older than four, whose mom is having her nails done in the regular manner, at a regular manicure table in a non-throne chair, now climbs into a throne chair. And the team moves in on him. But wait, here’s another fourish-year-old climbing into a throne chair. Is this nursery school or a beauty salon? I’ll guess making mud pies is out of the question for these kids.
What about the many chemicals that are contained in nail polish? Yes, nails are supposed to be dead, right? But isn’t some of that stuff absorbed? What about the fumes that are predominate in any nail salon? The reason that the-smarter-than-the-client-women-who-work-there are wearing face masks.
In fact, according to a post on The Huffington Post Blog nail polish may contain formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. I say some because there are a few brands that responded to health concerns and removed these dangerous chemicals from their polishes. To further support this, Medline Plus, published by the National Institute of Health has published the same information with suggestions on how to treat toxin exposure to nail polish from either swallowing or breathing the fumes. One consideration is size and weight. Here’s the link http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002722.htm
Perhaps there is a new sort of pressure on west Los Angeles mommies to “treat” their daughters and (surprisingly) sons to a pedicure and manicure to what? Keep up with the Joneses? In researching the cost of west Los Angeles manicures and pedicures, one salon listed titles such as “Mom-i-cure”$40; Kid-i-Cure” $9; and “Hold My Hand Gelicure” $75.
I think everyone should pamper themselves with bubble baths or massages or even buying a new purse that you just love and have to have. But this is different. This is exposing extremely young kids to toxins that can affect their health,. But possibly worse, its going to set precedent for a very long life time of expectations of a lifestyle they may demand.
And I can’t imagine being four and getting upset over chipping a nail.