I had the great pleasure of celebrating yet another birthday last week. And with every birthday comes a hot stone pedicure. As my 8-year-old puts it: “It’s still a gift even if its no longer a surprise.” That’s fine by me: after my husband treated me with my first birthday-hot-stone-pedicure I informed him that he no longer had to wonder what to give me for my birthday. Or Christmas. Ever.
Last year was a little touchy since I almost left the spa with the police on my heels. When the pedicure was over I took my things and left. Except that my husband had only booked the treatment, not paid for it. Followed an interesting discussion where he (The Guy) said: “Why does it matter if I pay for it or you do? It all comes out of the same account!” and me (The Gal) replied: “It’s not good form to know how much a gift costs, let alone pay for it!”
This year, my husband booked and paid for the hot stone pedicure and I was instructed to show up. Which I did… looking very pregnant (as I always do, 25 weeks and counting). “Oh, the pedicure girl said, you can’t have a pedicure when you’re pregnant, especially not a hot stone pedicure.” “Why not, I replied.” “Well, putting heat on your feet might increase your blood pressure and when we massage the feet, there are acupressure points that might trigger premature labour.”
I suppressed the urge to laugh hysterically and said: “Is this a liability thing? ‘Cuz I’m not concerned: I’ll sign a waiver.” “Uh, not really, said the girl, it’s a rule here: we can’t give you the hot stone pedicure but I’ll give you the regular thing and avoid the pressure points.” She looked at me like I had two heads, probably wondering what kind of irresponsible hedonist would put pedicure ahead of risks of premature labour and preeclampsia. I got the same look the last time I picked up a diet Pepsi and a well-meaning observer said that aspartame crossed the blood-brain barrier and shouldn’t be consumed by pregnant women. I replied that at this point, I was more concerned about not gaining 75 pounds than having a brain-damaged child. That settled the matter… although I’m sure some people will never think of me the same way again. Sometimes, you just need an easy way out of a conversation, you know.
The esthetician asked: “Is this your first?” (I get that a lot: I must look younger than I feel). “It’s my sixth…”
Once she had picked her jaw off of the floor I added: “I’ve been 41 weeks pregnant before. Those pressure points? Believe me, they don’t work.” I didn’t get into the minor detail of having spent the last two years in the company of very premature infants. I understand the risks of premature labour, believe me. But I also know that there isn’t much you can do to prevent the birth of a baby who’s decided to come out 3 months early. Just as there isn’t much you can do about a baby who is decidedly staying put past 40 weeks, thank you very much. “Plus, I added, I have 5 busy kids, a husband and a full-time job. Surely, I do worse things to my feet on any given day.” She was not convinced. “Are hot stones worst than running after a two-and-a-half year-old boy??” Apparently not. Yeah right…
So I resisted very, very, hard the urge to say: “Fine, I’ll go get a second trimester abortion and come back for my pedicure. How’s that?” Because in Canada, I can. Can’t get a hot stone pedicure if you’re pregnant. But while we hold legal liability to a moral absolute, the pregnancy part can be dealt with easily.
Where’s freedom of choice when you need it, I wonder.
Andrea adds: Oh dear. How annoying. Tell you what. I’ll toss some stones in my oven, and you come on over, Véronique. We’ll get you your Hot Stone Pedicure Birthday Treatment. Though me doing it may be something less than relaxing. A different kind of relaxing.
And for the record….did she never consider that the ludicrous nature of her assertions might be more likely to raise your blood pressure, and be even more conducive to pushing you into premature labour, than the pressure points she was worried about fondling??”
This is brilliant. If (big if) I’m pregnant again, I shall inform everybody who irritates me that they are risking raising my blood pressure, and I shall endeavor to hold them liable. Think it’ll work?