So I finally decided to go get a manicure/pedicure last weekend. That might seem like a simple enough thing, but when you’re me, it’s not. The appointment for the mani-pedi (as those who get them often call them) was precipitated by the fact that I had a gift certificate for a salon that’s 5 minutes from my house (on a bad day, with traffic).
(That's my color, "Beau", third from left--I think, anyway)
The gift certificate was a Christmas gift, as in, I received it for Christmas last year, but it’s not that simple, see? I used to get my hair done at that salon but it was just too expensive for me and so (much as I liked my stylist), I decided I need to search out cheaper pastures. So I had specifically requested a gift certificate for that salon on my Christmas giftwish list (more on that later…) but I hadn’t specified the extremely exorbitant amount it would have to be lest my family gape in disgust and amazement at what I was asking them to pony up for. So when I got the $60 gift card I thought, Hmmmm….I will have to put on my thinking cap and figure out what to do. Which was followed by months of deliberation, most of which follows the my basic internal debate of whether to pay for goods or experiences, especially when it comes to being “pampered”. A massage sounds awesome. How relaxing. But what do you have to show for it when you get home? So maybe a massage isn’t the way to go. Well then, should I just get a standard, “boring” mani-pedi with this and not spend more (except for the tip)? Or should I get a massage and spend more money? Should I scrimp and save and BEG so I can get my hair done there again and spend even more money? That massage sounds great. Should I get one now while I’m pregnant or wait? A post-partum one?...Which was followed by several emails to family and friends until I finally determined (with my insanely patient and understanding friend Maria) that I would indeed, get a mani-pedi but instead of a regular manicure I’d get a New Improved Gel Manicure.
The excitement of the Gel Manicure will make more sense if you understand that one of the traditional problems I have with manicures is that my annual manicure simply doesn’t last. I *know* that a year is a long time, but it barely even lasts three days most of the time. Some of this I can—and will—blame on the Evil Sick people who make nail polish (much like the Evil People who make women’s stocking deliberately so they will snag on a pew or a desk or even a toilet seat just as you are making your way toward your Big Event). But I must acknowledge my own part in the matter. To wit: I simply do not know how to be careful with my hands. I mean, they’re my hands! I need to use them! Gloves make me claustrophobic—really! And life is full of challenges—like opening drawers, and scraping those label residues off of things and chopping onions etc. ETC.— I simply cannot be bothered to slow down. So *why* can’t they make a nail polish that is scratch and chip resistant? Enter the Gel Manicure—a manicure that lasts!
Now, those of you who know nails know that the gel manicure isn’t exactly brand new news. But for people like me who get manicures about once a year, it’s Hot of the Presses. So I got all psyched up for this manicure like no other, especially since I was going to a party later that day and wanted to show off my beautiful nails for once. I arrived at my appointment on time and was greeted by Jee, my assistant. Making the pleasant small talk that is the bane of my salon experience (and analysts would probably tell me was the underlying motivation for my salon-avoidance behavior) , Jee started work on my feet and asked me if I’d been there before. Uh Yes, I said, though not for nails (perhaps it was obvious?). Continuing the small talk, Jee asked me if I had children. Uh Yes, I said, actually I had five. Laughing nervously and anticipating painful conversation for the next hour, I explained that might have something to do with why I hadn’t been there before. “Five children!” she said. “I know someone with four children, but no one with five. You Catholic?” “Ha ha, yes, I said.” I didn’t think that telling her about the many people I know with MANY MORE children would really help broaden her horizons, just prove to her beyond a shadow of a doubt that a Really Weird Woman had come into her orbit.
The conversation was better than average, but then, I have very low standards. My toenails look great, but of course I managed to bang my hand shortly after the manicure and two days later I cut part of my nail with a knife. I can’t decide if I want them to wear off in a week (5 days and counting as I type) so I can prove my point or whether I really should still hold out hope that I have found the Font of Nail Life and Hope. My sister-- who has 7 kids and an extremely busy schedule—tells me that gel manicures last 2-3 weeks and then “for people like us” they just peel off (for normal people, apparently, getting the gel off is a Big Issue). Which made me wonder--where does my sister find the time to get a gel manicure? Somehow I imagine the lack of emailing everyone she loves and pestering the bejeezus out of them trying to decide what to do helps her in the time category. I’ll have to text her and ask….