A girl goes into a nail salon...
August 2, 2014 4:27 PM   Subscribe

I went to a nail salon today for a pedicure. After I'd selected my nail polish and been seated in a spa chair, the receptionist came over and asked me, "Did you also want a manicure? And are you wearing shorts or a skirt today?" The second question has baffled me all afternoon. Why would a nail salon want to know if I was wearing shorts or a skirt?

To what degree it matters, I was very casually dressed wearing comfortable olive khaki shorts and the salon was one owned by a south Asian family in metro Atlanta. I'm 100% sure this wasn't the receptionist asking because she admired my attire - not only do we have very different styles, she asked in a manner similar to a waitress asking if you want a soup or salad with your entree at a restaurant.

Any ideas?
posted by arnicae to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
A modesty question, I suspect--not for you, necessarily, but for the person doing the pedicure.
posted by liketitanic at 4:28 PM on August 2, 2014 [7 favorites]

When I get my toes done at my favorite nail salon, the sweet ladies there always drape a towel over my thighs/pelvic area if I come in wearing a short dress or skirt. It's for modesty.
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:29 PM on August 2, 2014 [22 favorites]

I am betting since a pedicure involves people sitting at your feet looking up at you for some of the time, that if you were wearing a skirt they would have given you a wrap or something longer to cover your legs so you didn't feel so exposed/their staff didn't end up staring up your skirt?
posted by hepta at 4:29 PM on August 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Why would a nail salon want to know if I was wearing shorts or a skirt?

If you're wearing a skirt then they will sometimes give you a towel to put in your lap for modesty during the pedicure part.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 4:30 PM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Think of how you're sitting when you're getting a pedicure and where the tech is sitting in relation to you! If you're wearing a skirt you're basically just a bit of cotton away from being in the stirrups at the gynecologist. Just think about the mechanics for a sec. No one wants to be non-consensually subjected to your nethers.
posted by phunniemee at 4:31 PM on August 2, 2014

Just echoing what others have said -- when I wear a skirt, they'll usually give me a towel to keep things covered up during the pedicure, as it involves moving me legs around in various ways that don't allow for natural discretion. In fancy spas, the robes often don't fit me super well because I'm quite large, and I'll be given a towel there, too.

Whether that's for my benefit or because the estheticians don't want to spend an hour staring at my crotch, I don't really know. Half and half, I suspect. Either way, I think no crotch starting is probably a good choice.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:56 PM on August 2, 2014

I ... don't understand. You were there, right? Couldn't she SEE whether or not you were wearing shorts or a skirt?
posted by zibra at 6:36 PM on August 2, 2014 [9 favorites]

Yeah, I...am also very confused. Once you have performed the necessary maneuvers to get INTO the spa chair, there is really very little question about what you're wearing.

I am guessing this is a question she is supposed to ask in some contexts but she is asking it in all of them.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:20 PM on August 2, 2014

I don't know -- never heard of this -- but I am assuming the fact that you sit down with your legs open as someone looks up at you is the reason she asked. Per the other answers, she probably wanted to know if she needed to get something to cover you up. As for shorts vs. skirt, I'm guessing she couldn't really tell for sure OR it's been unclear enough times that she asks to be sure.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:23 PM on August 2, 2014

Couldn't she SEE whether or not you were wearing shorts or a skirt?

You'd think so, as these were pretty shorts-like shorts. Ah well, sounds like they were asking to determine whether or not they wanted to offer me something with which to cover my legs. Just to slightly complicate the story, though, my friend and I had initially wondered if it was something of the sort, but noticed that all three of the ladies in the salon wearing skirts did not have a towel/what have you.

Anyway, thanks for the quick responses.
posted by arnicae at 7:45 PM on August 2, 2014

FWIW, some women decline the towel because it makes them hot. That might have been the case in your situation, or the skirts the others were wearing were long enough/voluminous enough to serve as shields already.
posted by Hermione Granger at 6:06 PM on August 3, 2014

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