A Networking Pedicure in the Palisades Before Westlake Alumni Lunch

I’m in SB, enjoying the cool breeze and the bright post-rain sea from my proverbial “spot” upstairs. It rained quite a lot the last two nights and the air is fresh and crisp and a bit cool for mid-May. I’ve been a bit under the weather and extremely tired so not doing much of significance, but beginning to feel better and anxiously awaiting the verdict on my June trip to NYC (3rd to 9th).

I will call Luigi Jazz Dance Centre on 68th and see if there are spots for the two-week summer intensive. I delayed sending in my deposit and registration (due May 27th), as it’s a bit hard to dance on crtuches. I have been able to walk about two days now and I am sure he will say no heels in NYC (I have tennis shoes and one flip flop–I left one at the Mobil Station in the Palisades a few weeks ago and heel–but do not own a pair of flats). The question is: should I go if I am a bit impaired or just get the doctor in San Diego to get Jetblue to release me for the June trip and use the (very) cheap ticket for July?

So I still have the APA notes with the Kant, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, rational agency and more. I still have the books from Amazon and I just have not had a lot of energy mentally or physically between gimpiness and allergies.

But last week, I was in LA most of the time and finally broke down and addressed the shameful status of my un-pedicured feet. I will not disclose just how long it had been since my last pedicure–shorter than the gestation of a human being, long than a lot of rehab stints of Hollywood trainwrecks (90 days is about average for the really fucked up people).

I went to Rosie and Nails (yes, it’s Rosie and Nails not Rosie’s Nails) and the new salon is on Sunset, across from Starbucks and B of A. It’s much nicer than the old Via De La Paz location and the chairs are quite impressive. A lot of cheap Korean nail salons have vibrating chairs but they’re pretty ineffectual. These really do work and I got a lovely “knead” on medium speed of my lower back/lumbar spine. It’s a nice salon and much pricier than the average Korean/Thai/Vietnamese in Santa Monica or West LA, but I figured since it had been X months since the last one and my feet were utterly horrifying, I would splurge. The French tip was only 4 dollars extra which is quite good. Pedicures are of course double manicures even though the painting part is easier because they have to do all that disgusting sloughing.

This nice woman asked to rub my shoulders and I asked how much: 20 bucks for 20 minutes, which seemed fair. I had no idea that this woman was so talented and I think she worked on me for 25 minutes, astonished by the tightness of my shoulders (three weeks on crutches tones arms more than the equivalent time at the gym) and even I had not realized until she started to knead my trapezius, sub-scapularis and neck how bad it really was. I told the woman doing my feet that it was fine to ignore the right foot during the massage portion of the pedicure and focus on the left side and she had some tiger balm (like Ben Gay which I had forgotten was my best friend in high school when hips and knees began to go out due to dance) which felt sublime, along with her gentle motions over my ankle.

It was like anthropological field work for me. There were four girls, whose ages I could not identify. One was truly beautiful with curly medium brown hair in a ponytail (think Eric Dane’s lovely wife who played Luke Perry’s girlfriend on the old Spelling 90120–Rebecca Gayheart), with flawless skin and a somewhat triangular face and large, perfectly set blue eyes. She had a gorgeous torso, tiny waist and a small chest, perfect for her fame. He legs were in shorts, waxed, toned, on the slim side. She is going to be very beautiful.

One girl was overweight and another was not heavy but just average looking, at best. She seemed very sweet and if she remains thin in adulthood, will be a well-groomed but average-looking girl who not suffer in the mating/marriage market if she has other virtues in the intellectual and emotional realms. One girl clearly was the ringleader with an interesting face and fine body, maybe about 10 pounds overweight but clearly bright and in possession of a sexuality the others lacked. The beautiful girl was just a girl, not a woman. She was verbally advanced and there was a question about lying. I could not tell if it was about a past or present lie. And she said, “We’ve already established you’re lying,” with a mischievous and triumphunt glimmer in her pretty light hazel eyes.

They were gossiping about this guy and that girl, with many under their breath jokes exchanged. All were having manicures, but three had fresh pedicures from another day. One of the girl’s mothers came in and the smart ringleader addressed her politely (a bit of Eddie Haskell in her) and I asked the mom, when she took the chair next to mine, how old they were. She said one was 18, the others 17, and that they were all going to prom that night. I said, “Oh, how funny. I’m here for my Westlake alumn lunch tomorrow.” “Oh! They go to Harvard-Westlake.” I should have figured. A Harvard-Westlake girl could not, perish the thought, arrive at prom without a fresh manicure and a week-old pedicure.

I had an extensive talk with the mother , who had two girls in her late 20s, whom she had sent to Marlborough, Westlake’s rival girl school. Her grown daughters were in NYC, where they were raised as children and where she grew up, and the 18-yr-old having her nails done, had gotten into NYU, but was still waiting to see about Wesleyan (wait-listed). I told her about my history , past and present , with NYC, and said that NYU was a truly great place, but that if she wants a smaller school in a more manageable place, she should choose Wesleyan if she gets in. I said, gently, “I don’t know what your situation is. But NYC is crazy expensive, as you know from your older daughter [also on 62nd] and if that’s a consideration, it’s very cheap to live in Middletown, CT.” She nodded, “I know, restaurants every night. It’s crazy. Especially the way these Harvard-Westlake kids are raised.”

This made me smile, but did not surprise me. Of course we were privileged little Westside girls (some lived in the Valley but mostly Encino and Sherman Oaks, not , say Northridge or Reseda).But there is no question, things have been ramped up. For one thing, there are no more uniforms. She also said her two eldest girls loved Marlborough and they didn’t used to live in the Palisades. Marlborough (we used to call the girls “Easter eggs,” due to the pastel uniforms, and they called us LesLake, for obvious reasons though I think I know two lesbians in three classes of girls, 360, which is far under the national average) is in Hancock Park, a very old money part of LA. And unless you live in West Hollywood , or at least Beverly Hills, there is simply no way to get there. I would not have wanted to go there–it was much more conservative than Westlake first of all where our debate coach, much to the horror of my most educated Republican friend on FB (degrees in economics, electrical engineering, business, Biblical languages and international relations–crazy smart), gave us Noam Chomsky in 9th grade. But even if I had, it would have been, in traffic, ,something like a one hour and ten minute commute each way.

I told her I was a tutor, gave her my flyers, and she kindly offered to tell her friends about me. I didn’t really chat much with the girls, though they were clearly interested in the talk I was having with the mother. I crutched back to the car for my checkbook as they take only cash and checks, no credit, there. And then just introduced myself and said I had gone to Westlake. They asked what year and I said 1990 and they were geniunely surprised, not just being nice.

It just made me think back. I went to no proms. I had no male friends other than Aaron, my dear friend from debate, who was killed in 1993 in a car crash around Berkeley, heading back from a college tournament. I did, however, have an out both junior and senior years: the National Championship Debate tournament always used to fall the weekend of prom so I didn’t have to say I couldn’t find a date. I was busy.

I had good friends in high school, but a few were class of 1988 and class of 1989 , so I really didn’t have friends senior year. I was at UCLA most of the day, taking only physics (yuck) at 8 AM, AP Government (Wednesday nights from 6 to 9PM, the only night class at my high school, to accommodate the wonderful Mrs. Werner, who had just had a baby), and independent debate. I was only really there one hour a day, except Wednesday when I was there for four hours.
When I wasn’t at UCLA or the English Reading Room studying at Rolfe Hall (home of UCLA English department offices and library), I was at Main Street Dance and Exercise Studio, where I taught four classes a week (“stretch and tone,” the precursor to body sculptin), or the Sports Connection (cheesy, cheap gym featured in Perfect, a silly but fun movie of the 1980s about the LA aerobics boom, with John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis, also known to many as the “Sports Erection” for self-explanatory reasons).

The lunch on Saturday (for which I had perfect toes) was lovely. My father, when I got home before dinner on Friday, asked how it was and I told him it had been perfect in every way. He said, sarcastically of course, “Well, I am just so relieved you had your feet done.” I said that lots of men care about nails, pedicures in particular, and he came back with a typical Dad response: “If a man is looking at your feet, there’s something wrong with your figure!!”

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