Polish helps put the best foot forward

As spring arrives, so do pedicure customers. Some got a jump on the season last week. Guys too

Staff WriterMarch 7, 2006 

Jenn Schertzing, left, gets a pedicure from Connie Duong at Avalon nail salon at Southpoint mall in Durham. The warm weather inspires many to set their feet free.

STAFF PHOTO BY TAKAAKI IWABU

As "London Bridge is falling brown," "Madame Moselle" is holding a "Dutch tulip" while taking a "romantic retreat" on "Samoan sand."

At least it seems that way when you're looking through the more than 100 cleverly named nail polishes at Avalon: The Lifestyle Nail Salon.

One color lets the wearer declare, perhaps mysteriously, perhaps boldly, "I'm not really a waitress."

The warm weather last week, along with the flip-flops lining store shelves, has made many long for the day when their feet can be free.

That day is near, last week's 80-degree Thursday seemed to indicate, prompting an early rush on pedicures.

May is the busiest month for pedicures because of warm weather, graduations, proms and weddings, but Rebecca Dekker couldn't wait 60 more days.

"We were looking at our toes, and we decided to give ourselves a treat and get ready for the warm sandal weather," said Dekker, 40, of Cary.

Decker was glowing in her "Shanghai shimmer" as her friend Vicki Hatfield wore "Aphrodite's Pink Nightie."

Hatfield enjoyed being a Greek goddess, though she'd prefer a pair of sandals she saw recently with beads and straps wrapping around the ankles. She's waiting for warmer weather before purchasing them.

"When it's hot and warm, you want to be outside and have sandals on and be in shorts, so you want your toes to look nice after a cold winter," said Hatfield, 42, of Cary.

Looking nice seemed like a relaxing process at the salon, with 12 plush pedicure chairs and a magazine in each one. Supporting the calm essence were tan walls, green plants, easy-listening music and a glass waterfall in front.

"Some customers get certain colors because their boyfriends like it that way," said Uyen Vo, store manager. "Some look pretty for themselves, but now everyone does it, even guys."

Yes, guys get pedicures, too. About four men a week do just that at the salon. A pedicure involves a cuticle trim, nail cut, foot massage and nail polish, which takes about 30 minutes. Then customers such as Kristin Bryant wait for the polish to dry at a drying station.

Bryant, 28, also got her nails done for the warm weather -- in South Africa. She was at the salon just before leaving on a 10-day vacation visiting Johannesburg and Cape Town with her UNC-Chapel Hill classmates.

Bryant, who's working on her master's degree in business, gets her nails done because it's relaxing and therapeutic.

Plus it's part of the total package, she said.

"If you wear sandals, it looks bad if you don't get them done," she said.

Stanley B. Chambers Jr. can be reached at stan.chambers@ newsobserver.com or 956-2426.

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