A few months ago, my husband and I were preparing for a trip to Miami. By preparing, I mean that my husband wasn’t preparing anything, but I, on the other hand, started packing three weeks before the actual trip, making lists for my in-laws and my mother on the specifics of caring for the children, buying new clothes, checking the TSA website repeatedly to make sure I didn’t pack the wrong size deodorant that would result in me lying face down on the tarmac surrounded by machine guns and German Shepherds and finally, getting my nails done.
After running errands one afternoon, my daughter and I popped into an unfamiliar nail salon that was in the same strip mall as Target. I thought all nail salons were the same, but I would soon learn that they aren’t.
I was greeted by a pleasant-looking lady that spoke zero English but smiled widely. She couldn’t even muster a “Hi, How you?” I thought nothing of it because she nodded when I asked for a manicure. I assumed that she understood my request. Nods usually mean that sort of thing.
Another lady, who spoke fluent English, took my daughter by the hand and proceeded to paint daisies and polka dots on her nails. “Princess manicure” she called it. My little girl smiled and chuckled at her nail tech’s jokes and proudly showed off the daisy polka dot masterpiece while my nail tech pulled out scissors and began chopping my long natural nails down to nubs.
“No, no!” I shouted as I ferociously shook my head. “Too short!”
She nodded and smiled, and she whacked off another nail.
I quickly pulled my hand away and called for my daughter’s nail technician, who spoke English better than most of today’s American youth.
“This is too short,” I pointed to the bleeding nubs. “Please tell her this is too short!”
“They not too short. She make them all match pretty. You like.”
I contemplated leaving the salon. With one hand chopped down to nubs. I thought I should just leave right then and there.
But I didn’t.
Somehow, I had faith that Ms. Thang (that was her last name. I swear. I read it on her Nail Tech Certificate) would make it right. I thought, in my clouded judgment, that Ms. Thang was going to miraculously make my nails look beautiful, although one hand looked like that of a pre-pubescent boy and the other still donned my long, natural nails that I had refrained from biting when I stressed out only weeks before while waiting in the DMV line for 3.2 hours.
But, Ms. Thang didn’t perform a miracle. However, she did make both hands match by chopping off the rest of my nails. All ten of them. Gone.
Why, Lord, why? Why would she think it was a good idea to cut my nails this short? Why did she, a certified nail technician, think that I would prefer short, stubby nails to the long ones that I had when I walked into the shop? What, in the name of all that is Holy, was Ms. Thang thinking?
I left the nail salon with hot dog fingers haphazardly painted in pink. My daughter, with her “Princess Manicure” was the only satisfied customer that day.
Here is the kicker. Ms. Thang, who gave the impression that she spoke absolutely no English, actually questioned my tip.
“You must tip for you and daughter manicure. This not enough,” she said.
I can’t tell you what happened next, but I am now banned from the nail shop in the same strip mall as Target.
I tell you all of that to tell you this-
I had to go get acrylic nails put on (in my usual nail salon) the day before our Miami trip, because there was no way I was going somewhere as hip as Miami with man nails. That just wouldn’t match my outfit.
So, the acrylic eventually left my once beautiful nails brittle and cracked. They’ve looked like pure crap for several weeks. I just haven’t had a chance to have them done again, and I’ve grown tired of them looking so horrible.
Last night I got a wild hair and decided to do my nails all by myself. I figured I couldn’t mess them up worse than Ms. Thang did several months ago.
I went for the pink and white look, and I failed miserably.
I blame Ms. Thang. Her careless actions and scissor happiness a few months ago led to this.
I “nail”ed it, right?