I know forty something is probably a bit late to get your first manicure but I never seemed to have the time, money and inclination all at the same time before. With some trepidation and excitement I set off yesterday to have my first ever professional manicure.
Full of eagerness I turned up at "ProfessioNAILS" (No appointment necessary) and asked for a ?. My first problem is that I don't know the technical term for what I want. (Nice looking nails that can take laundry, housework, typing, hospital hand cleaners, #4's leavings, the cats leavings, gardening, weights at the gym and possibly some light mechanical work on my car.) Apparently I want acrylic nails with a french finish.
Can I have them now? The shop looks busy (surely a good sign), and clean except for the little Chicky in front of me who looks, well , dirty...Yes I can have them today if I come back in fifteen minutes.
Fifteen minutes later I return and am led to a chair by the surly, unkempt, dirty girl. Oh well. She immediately stops all conversation by placing a mask over her face and waving me to sit down opposite her.
"What you want?" (Actually she had to say this three times as the combination of the mask, her Filipino accent and the fact she was looking at some one else whilst asking the question threw me slightly.) I re listed my requirements to the top of her head as she got her tools from the draw. Firmly grasping my hand she proceeded to clip off my existing nails...."You no mind I cut these, EH!" I still don't know what I'm getting but she's got a grip like a vice on my hand so I figure I'm along for the ride now.
Next she takes a small angle grinder to my nails. She holds my hand firmly whilst flicking the desired finger up as she needs it, meanwhile I quietly writhe in agony and twist about like a fish on a line at the other end of my arm as she moves it for a better angle. (I am quite certain that the nerves in my nail beds somehow conect with my fillings after this experience.)
I'm a little stunned mullet a this point. Now she starts talking and gamely I try to keep up, until I realise shes talking to her Filipino friend next to her in Tagalog. Probably saying something along the lines of "I've got a right one here" or alternatively talking about the game last night or her husband. (I'm going for the latter from the way she stabs my nail with the grinder.)
Next a box of false tips comes out and she wearily starts measuring my fingers, sighing as she goes. I feel like apologising that my nails don't fit the plan she had in her head...my nails are the same size as the tips she has, just not the first one she picks up.
Idly I start to look around the shop. There are women having pedicures and foot massages. The girl giving one of them is staring out of the door behind her as she massages the clients leg. How is she doing that I wonder, is she double jointed? "HEY HEY HOW LONG I SAY". Oh, she's talking to me now. I indicate the desired length, still not entirely sure what I've signed up for here and her head goes down again as she sets to work.
I start to pay attention to my hand again as she asks about shape. She kindly explained this to me following the blank stare I gave her when she asked. She gamely grinds the tips with a different angle grinder and takes my fingerprints off at no extra charge. Next she puts on another mask (on top of the existing one) and gets out a small pot of steaming something. She squirts something on my nails (I don't know what) and then tells me to go and wash my hands. (I assume this was some sort of oil for conditioning.)
Back at the desk she looks like a CDC worker in the middle of an Ebola outbreak. I worry about what she's going to use on my nails...is it toxic?...it's too late she's ground my nails to tissue paper now. With amazing skill she deftly mixes powder and juice on a brush and applies it deftly to my nails. (I was amazed at the skill, when I was at an angle I could see, as she was still flipping me about like a dead fish on a fishing line.)
I began to worry a little as she got up and walked off, shouting to lady who'd just come in, "Choose a colour, JUST CHOOSE A COLOUR I SAY CHOOSE A COLOUR." I begin to worry that she means me, as usually when she talks to me she looks at some one else. No, she is definitely talking to a lady who's just come in. A regular client with an appointment, who looks cowed by the experience. I relax slightly and go back to watching the bored pedicure girl. "HEY HEY YOU PAY NOW!" I look doubtfully at my nails but oblige by paying up and then I'm directed back to my seat and thankfully the nails are coated in some sort of quick drying pottery glaze, or possibly car wax. Let any-thing try and stain that..huh!.
My girl leans over and flicks on a small electric fan. "Five minutes" and stomps off. I hear her shouting at her next client, "YOU CHOOSE COLOUR EH?" About five minutes later I leave the shop feeling like I've been in a small car accident in a foreign country, but with sexy nails.
So far I've done cooking, washing, typing and gardening with them. They are still pristine. I will probably maintain them (early days yet) and may even go back to the surly girl who doesn't speak to me, as after all, she did a good job.
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