It was Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. I had been alive for 20 years and 13 days. I was sitting in a padded chair at Virginia-Highland’s Sugarcoat Salon, and I was about to receive the first pedicure of my life.
I glanced at the tub of water at my feet, nervously looked back at my pedicurist—a pleasant, middle-aged woman who introduced herself to me as Essie—and blurted out the first thing that came to my mind.
“Is this gonna hurt?”
Essie laughed and shook her head. I remained unconvinced, and opted for something called the “Essential” purely because it sounded the least threatening of the available services.
I was treated to a long and nerve-wracking process that was definitely not intended to be long and nerve-wracking. Sugarcoat did everything right—the chairs were comfortable, the water was warm, and the employees were friendly—but I found it difficult to fully enjoy the experience, because, well, this woman was looking at my feet. My feet are disgusting. Even I don’t enjoy looking at my feet. This is not an experience I would wish upon anyone, let alone for an extended period of time. As the water turned less and less blue and more and more foot-gunk-colored, I made a mental note to leave Essie a sizable tip.
I’m in rare company, apparently. Essie told me that Sugarcoat only gets a male customer every two or three weeks, and even then it’s usually a man coming with his wife. I had no such excuse, only my friend sitting to my right and gleefully snapping photos. The whole process was over sooner than I expected—the Essential took 20 minutes at most, ending abruptly when I politely turned down coloring.
Sugarcoat itself is a fine establishment, at least from what I can tell from my limited salon expertise. For one thing, it was named to Atlanta magazine’s “Best of Atlanta 2013” list. It’s also small, intimate, and very pink, sandwiched pleasantly between a pair of larger shops. Most importantly, the windows are strategically placed so as not to allow prying eyes to confirm that yes, that is Ryan from my physics class getting his nails done. I left with wet feet and no complaints.
I’m not going to speak definitively on whether or not I’ll be visiting again, but I will say that I thoroughly examined my feet in the passenger seat on the ride back home, and came away very pleasantly surprised.
Contact Sugarcoat here:
256 Pharr Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30305