July 21, 2009

There are many ways to predict the coming of a recession. My early economic indicator? Well, in the summer of 2007, I scaled back on those weekly professional pedicures. Last year, I didn’t step into a single nail salon. Instead of spending $25-a-pop to beautify my toes and smooth my soles, I bought an ugly, cheapo foot scraper that continues to keep me looking good.

Cheap and sturdy.

It cost me less than two bucks at Duane Reade. This week, I went back to buy a  spare but they were out of stock. However, Target carries a similar — if not identical — model that retails for $2.69. It’s advertised as a Foot Smoother. The black side is for heavy-duty sole-sanding. The flip side is brown. It’s less rough, making it excellent for the final phase of the pedicure.

What amazes me about this simple tool is that it has endured. I used to spend a fortune on those exquisitely-packaged, long-stemmed, wood-handled, upscale products sold at places like Whole Foods. But after a few months, they’d always crack in half.

This unattractive tool has no neck and a stocky build. It’s made of thick, sturdy, crappy plastic. And we’re going into our second summer together. Unbelievable! When I step out of the shower, I towel-dry my feet and then give them a once-over with this humble device. Watching gray, wormy-y curls of dead skin slough off is absolutely gross in the most satisfying way. It’s easiest to go at it while sitting in or on the edge of the tub. Then at bedtime, slathering on any old foot creme completes the experience.

My happy tootsies.

As for nail polish….um, the purists might be disgusted by this. But I’ve been wearing the same color and base coat since June. Whenever it chips, I just touch it up. It takes me three seconds. Anybody who notices that my polish is a tiny bit lumpy needs to get a life.

Oh, and a parting thought…there’s nothing more skanky than the sight of a wanna-bee hottie walking around with cracked, dry, scratchy feet. That’s my leading beauty indicator. It says a lot about core beliefs in the area of health, hygiene and personal confidence.  And I’ll leave it at that.