Photo: This is Bern getting a foot spa.

For a long time, I’ve persuaded my boyfriend to get himself a pedicure. He would always decline because:

1. He does not wish to have someone else cut his nails.
2. His soles are very, very ticklish.

Finally, he agreed to get a foot spa with me. He was amused and not a little amazed at how fiddly getting a manicure could be. When the manicurist started exfoliating his soles, this was what he looked like:

Bern getting a foot spa.

If Bern was a blind prepubescent tomboy, I’d say he was Toph from Avatar (the Nick cartoon, not James Cameron’s own Smurf movie).

Toph getting a foot spa.

Edit: Here is Toph getting herself a foot spa.

One black “I

One of my co-workers, Kiko, recently went to Hong Kong and bought shirts for co-workers as gifts. He asked me what my shirt size was and I told him I’m either a Medium or (more likely) Large. Kiko said he doesn’t have any medium-sized shirts anymore and suggested I try one of the small ones.

“As much as I like to believe otherwise, Kek,” I told him, “I’m no longer ‘small’. It’s sad how my old shirts no longer fit me.”

About two years ago, Kiko shared the apartment with me and knew how big (or small) my shirts were. There was a time before that when I could even fit into an extra-small. I tried one of the large shirts Kiko has, and it fits just right. A large shirt.

“Worse is how I can’t fit in some of my pants now.”

“I could relate to that,” he told me. If one looks at our photos from four or five years ago, it’s hard to believe how skinny we were not long ago.

I

Stinky shirt days.

I don’t like how my shirt smells. It’s not that unpleasant but it has this noticeably sharp, musky scent, like I spent the entire day outdoors and had been sweating for hours. Except I haven’t worn it yet.

The laundromat that does our clothes had been very disappointing lately. The shop closes really early — as early as 4pm, although they say they close at 5. Five pm is still way too early for a laundromat to close, at any rate. Sometimes, they were even closed all day on weekends, even though we were scheduled to pick up our laundry on those days.

And now, our clothes didn’t smell like they’ve been washed properly. Time to try a new laundromat.

There are too many laundry shops in Mandaluyong; sometimes, the shops are next to each other. I had wondered before if people in Mandaluyong are adverse to doing their own laundry. Problem is, we don’t like the two shops near our apartment. The first once has had several instances of switching our clothes with those of other clients, and now this other one isn’t cleaning our clothes well.

Despite the number of laundromats in our area, nearly all of them are situated at least 500 meters away. That’s an unfortunate hassle if you’re carrying nearly 10 kilos worth of laundry, but what can we do?

If necessary, we could do our own laundry. It’s not a chore any of the four occupants of the apartment are fond of doing, but if we were wealthy enough to buy new underwear whenever we run out of clean ones, the four of us wouldn’t be living together to share the rent.

That pretty much forces us to hire someone else do our laundry, plus two other facts: (1) the building charges a lot for water, and (2) the apartment has a ridiculously small laundry area. I could very easily cover the entire laundry area with just my socks.

Earlier, I saw that our hamper is nearly full again. Bern and I are also thinking about having the last batch of clothes washed another time to remove the stink.

The way my shirt smells really bothers me.

Really, I’m almost always near broke and I could use a change in jobs but all I could think of right now is my hair.

I’m at that point when I’m asking myself:
Should I cut my hair short?
Should I keep the afro?
Should I grow my hair longer?
Should have my hair made into dreadlocks?
Should I have it straightened?

It's sunny in Baguio

Biking in Burnham

It’s a little weird and somewhat funny how hair is such a big deal for me, considering how much effort it takes to maintain the damn thing.

Dead cells, that’s what they are. Dead cells in strands falling all over the apartment and clogging the shower drain. Think of the money I’ll save from not buying conditioner.

Hah. The hollow attempt to convince myself to let go of my hair isn’t even an original shtick anymore, who am I kidding?

My toenails look like sections of the scratching post of a rather agressive cat.

I wanted to have my nails manicured before an appointment last Friday so I passed by a beauty salon on my way to Bonifacio High Street. The other salons had people queued for their manicurists while this smaller salon hardly had any customers, so I went in and asked to have my nails cleaned. In hindsight, I should have wondered about the lack of customers.

The salon people (they were mostly near-middle-aged women and one middle-aged straight man) were chatting in Cebuano, but in a dialect that uses more Tagalog words so I could still understand most of the story. One was telling them about some guy they know who had sex with another girl whom I assumed they also know. The guy, from what I overheard, was good-looking, and the story-teller said she will not be able to look at him the same way again.

He was uncircumsized, she said. In Filipino culture, that is a big no-no: boys about to hit puberty are expected to undergo circumcision, usually during summer break. Boys who are not yet circumcized are oftem nastily teased by their peers. Most Filipinos see the uncut dick as grossly unclean and smelly, regardless of the person’s personal hygiene habits.

I couldn’t help smiling when they started mentioning supposed facts about guys’ penises, cut and uncut. The manicurist saw me and asked if I could understand them; I told her a little. Of course, I was smiling because, more than them, I know about guys’ penises, cut and uncut. Except the manicurist thought I was straight, the peeling green polish I had notwithstanding.

It’s a good thing I asked her not to enthusiastically remove in-grown corners from my toenails; the manicurist kept jabbing her pusher like a vicious serial killer. Without looking at them, she scraped the surface of each nail with the finesse of a hurricane, leaving a scaled-down amount of property damage.

All that time she was assaulting my toes, she was also convincing me to try on another coat of nail polish. Every time, I told her I was in a hurry and having my nails cleaned are good enough for me, really.