It used to be that getting a pedicure was a weird luxury item where you paid a professional to do something that you could easily do yourself, like mow your lawn, or pluck your chin hairs. With the realization that I have the body proportions of a T-Rex, I long ago decided to pay someone to groom my toenails. But whether it’s my first or 100th pedicure, I always go through the same motions:

Stage 1: Guilt

I could totally paint my own nails. What kind of Queen of England move is this, paying someone to kneel in front of me and deal with the wreckage known as my feet? I should be home teaching my kids to read, or preparing nutritious meals.

Instead, I’m reclining in a massage chair that feels like someone’s playing Whack-a-Mole against my lower back, with my feet submerged in mini jacuzzis, while my kids gorge themselves on Burger King and sit around not reading. I don’t deserve this.

Stage 2: Insecurity

Why did I walk around in sneakers-sans-socks all day? My feet smell like a gym mat after wrestling practice. Can I successfully convince her my plantar wart is really a heel blister?My toes seem especially hairy today. Sure, sure, this pedicurist has seen it all and worse. But still; that’s a LOT of toe hair.

Stage 3: Confusion

I know I’ve done this before, but do I put both feet in the water? Now I take out one? Which one? Do I point my toes up or down? Why are all the nail colors named after nicknames for my period? Which color will complement my bunions better: Bloody Valentine or Crimson Explosion? Am I supposed to look at the manicurist while she works? That seems pretty intense, but I want her to know I appreciate her handiwork.

Stage 4: Blood-curdling horror

OMFG SHE’S FILING MY NAILS! What kind of squeaky-chalkboard/rubbing-cat-the-wrong-way agony is this???

Stage 5: Enjoyment

This woman is rubbing my feet. My gross, stinky, hairy feet. Yes, I’m paying her to do it, and yes, she is wearing a mask to keep a physical barrier between her oxygen and my grotty insteps. But this is amazing. I’ll give her anything she wants: money, insider stock tips, my first-born, as long as she keeps kneading my heel with her delicate yet Navy SEAL-strong hands. Ahhhhhhh.

Stage 6: OCD

She missed a spot with the polish, right by the edge of my big toe. This is going to bother me. Should I say something? I can’t stop looking at that missed spot. Also, I’m pretty sure she rubbed my left foot much longer than my right foot. This will totally affect my equilibrium.

Would she care if I just grabbed the polish brush and filled in that missed spot?

Stage 7: Boredom

I am literally watching paint dry. How long do I have to keep my feet under this dryer? I’m not even sure it’s on. Could I just submerge my feet in QuickDry and call it a day? I’ll just touch the toe quickly to see if it’s dry…

…nope. And now I have a fingerprint embedded in my new pedicure.

Stage 8: Addiction

Look how shiny and pink my toenails look! The underside of my foot feels like the wing of a newborn dove. Now I can wear open-toed shoes without looking like the “before” picture in a foot surgery ad. This…has…changed…my…life.

Hmm…the polish on my big toe seems to have chipped a bit when I ran over it with my stroller. Oops, the stroller just ran over my feet again! I am such a spaz today. First, I tripped over the Razor scooter I placed in the center of the living room. Then, I accidentally opened the door to my daughter’s play kitchen right over my foot. Know what would make me feel better?

A pedicure.