And This Little Piggie says “Aaaahhh …”

Posted on August 22, 2012


One of my summertime treats is to spend an afternoon at my favourite spa and have my tootsies pampered with a pedicure and foot massage. My feet work hard out in the garden, and they deserve a break now and then. This salon is not one of those quickie “in-and-out” places with foot stations regimentally lined up for production, no, no, no. My pedicure experience involves a soothing, deluxe massaging lounger and dipping my piggies into a delightful, foaming whirlpool basin that looks like it’s more art glass than functional. My attendant/esthetician is very attentive to my comfort level as she proves she is both focused and artistic. It’s all about a sensory retreat, and the staff know it. All I have to do is sit back, enjoy my drink, and pick out a delicious colour. It’s a gift to self.

So it was soon after one of these trips that an old friend noticed my brilliant, newly polished toenails, and suggested that I should train my goldfish from our backyard pond to give me a “doctor fish pedicure” like those over in European centres and Turkey – the new vogue in personal grooming. She’d heard about the little toothless fishies that swim around and nibble away on the dead skin and calluses of your feet, apparently leaving them as soft as a baby’s tush. All I could conjure in my head was a bowlful of aging smelts gumming their way around some poor dear’s leathery heels – eeeyuuu!

A nibble here and there.

In fact, I happened to spot just such a beauty salon while in England recently, which offered this fish pedicure. Silly me, though, thought it was the most peculiar Asian restaurant with a large fish bowl in the display window. The fish were quite small, and it seemed to me that perhaps it was a delicacy of some nature on the menu. (That’s what I get for not brushing up on my Cantonese signage.) I just didn’t realize right away who was doing the dining.

As anyone who has ever cared for fish can attest, even a little bit of input (in this case, dead skin) results in a far greater amount of output (aka fish poop with all kinds of nasties). You couldn’t convince me to submerge my feet, or any other body parts for that matter, in a basin with those gummy fish – even if they could whittle my shoe size down a notch. Our backyard pond may be larger in scale, but cleaning it out in the Spring is akin to draining a stagnant woodland bog. The fishies have been busy plugging up the plumbing all winter under the ice. There’s a good reason for donning chestwaders and gloves for the job. It smells baaaaddd. So why would I want to get up close and personal with fish poop, and pay big bucks, and probably get sick – because it’s trendy?!

But the irony continues. You see, our pond also produces its share of algae throughout the heat of summer, and I’ve read women are paying royally for facials and body treatments laced with the green goo.

Looking for a facial?

Spa fish or goldfish?

Makes me wonder if there’s a lucrative side business I can start up between my pond fish and the green “wonder” algae. I can just push you into our pond and by the time it takes you to get yourself back out again, your skin will be smooth and glowing, but you’ll need some hosing down. And that lingering smell? Well, just tell your friends it’s the latest in organic cosmetology.