Pedicures can be unpredictable. Not really knowing how well your feet are being exfoliated is debatable. Will my feet soak long enough to soften my dry skin? Do you need to ask for more time for this callus? You see, I’m trying to get myself closer to a foolproof pedicure that I feel completely confident in.
There are many different types of pedicures one can indulge in, and I’ve tried a few versions in my personal journey to find the most thorough one. There is of course the basic pedicure and every nail salon version of the deluxe pedicure. There’s the citrus pedicure, the paraffin pedicure, the hot stone pedicure, the spa pedicure, the honey and milk pedicure, and the fish pedicure—supplements to the Garra Rufa Species.
My only constant is a coat of gel nail polish that lasts longer on my feet than regular nail polish. But that Woman. Glen’s Therapeutic Manicure & Pedicure, a fresh coat of paint is optional. It’s not about aesthetics. It’s about the care. And for that I will give up my gel pedicure. People who become Mrs. Glen often come from demanding jobs that keep them busy – construction workers, servers, actors. But there are also people like me who are simply looking for the best podiatry (and podiatrist) in town.
Where there is medical pedicure for people with foot problems and performed by podiatrists or podiatrists, therapeutic pedicure is gentler. Woman. Glen places great importance on massaging. A type of stimulation that can reorient you from the everyday cadences of life. Time is the luxury here.
Located on the second floor of a Westchester plaza, Ms. Glen’s suite has the feel of an office with its gray carpeting, but the decorative touches also make it feel like a nail salon: a flat-screen TV, a couple of Reader’s Digests, a leather couch. Here the nail technician certificate hangs next to the flat screen. On the other hand, a framed news clip from the Los Angeles Sentinel describes Ms. Glen in her former life as a real estate agent and “full of panache, panache, and vitality.”
Woman. Glen is the type of podiatrist who makes you trust her process from the start. She greets you warmly; you can tell she’s in her element and you feel at ease. At 75, she wears a short, soft afro and a thick, red flannel button-up over her broad shoulders. Her dark jean shorts hit just below her knees. Her delicate gold-rimmed glasses just above her nose.
Woman. Glen is meticulous throughout her process. Actually, even before the process begins. After introducing myself and scheduling my appointment, I received a text message with the date, time and location of my appointment and directions to the suite. All signed with a rose emoji and “thank you”. She diligently notes down her appointments with a notepad. “I don’t like doing it online. It wouldn’t work for me because I need to talk to you. I have to ask you what’s wrong with your feet.” With each step of the pedicure, Ms. Glen removed a pair of plastic gloves that she had layered over one another for hygiene reasons to avoid transferring product with each step. Once my feet were soaked and shaved, she would exfoliate my toes. Wash. Then the bottom of my feet and the tips of my toes. Rinse again.
Her tool of choice for my calluses was a pumice stone. But seeing the defined lines of muscle in her arms and hands showed that technique is key. “I don’t use drills. After all, this isn’t about house building or carpentry,” she laughed. She got up to prepare the paraffin so it could nestle around my feet and seal the treatment.
Woman. Glen talks quickly, telling me her story between clips of my sodden cuticles. Once married and divorced, Glendora Strickland moved to California from Hattiesburg, Miss., with her then-husband in 1966 and never left. She was a real estate agent who was rarely satisfied with the pedicure she received. She started researching how to care for her feet when she started developing cracked heels. “See these lines?” Woman. Glen removed her own sock to show me her smooth feet, no sign of dryness. My own feet dipped in a tub of warm water doused with apple cider vinegar, known for its antibacterial properties.
“If you don’t moisturize these, they break open. I taught myself how to take care of it so it didn’t come back and it never came back. I use my own [oil] Once a week, every morning after my shower, I exfoliate and wear socks.” (This is Ms. Glen’s rule #1: keep feet wrapped socks to create a barrier between your skin and the ground.)
Encouraged by a friend, Ms. Glen began giving pedicures to friends and family for a year. She earned her license as a nail designer in 1999. In 2000, she made a name for herself on KJLH-FM (102.3). Through an inquiry that came through the spa where she worked, she heard that radio host Janine Haydel’s husband wanted to surprise his wife with a pedicure, but it had to be done on air. “I told the seller [at the radio station] that I would do some advertising. So this morning I’m at the radio station… I think I’m dreaming. This can not be true.”
While they were on the air, Haydel threw it to Ms. Glen for a word. She would say hello and plug in her services. After that, Ms. Glen continued to do her own advertising, coming in to do more pedicures on the air and promoting her Mother’s Day gift certificates. “They’re preparing to sign off the air and Cliff [Winston] said: “Come on, Janine, we have to go. I have an appointment with Mrs. Tal.'”
Woman. Glen only takes one customer at a time. Back in her suite, she took care of my feet for an hour. Her approach to feet is simple: hygiene and attention to detail. “Are you getting polish?” Madam. Glen asked with slight hesitation as she finished my pedicure with a final foot massage. I glanced over at the organized display of nail polish colors and declined, sensing it wasn’t her thing anyway. “Or would you rather put on socks?”
I walked into Mrs. Glen’s with a chipped layer of magenta polish on my toenails and no socks. I thought I’d go out in my mules so my nail polish wouldn’t smear, but Ms. Glen came back with a pair of pink Puma socks.
With oiled feet, I slipped my socks on and stood up. I immediately felt the power of a therapeutic pedicure. My feet and toes became moisturized and hydrated. The calluses were gone. My heel felt smooth. My toes were baby soft. But what really got me excited was how confident I felt overall. Rejuvenation can feel like a miracle, especially when finding a great pedicure is one less thing to worry about.