Manicure Manifesto

One of these days I'll learn to stop getting manicures from those little chop-shops that proliferate in strip malls. To be fair, part of the problem is that I am insanely meticulous about how my nails look. Nary a stray cuticle in sight, I like perfect polish, perfect shape, and a cleanliness that lasts for at least, say, three days. I generally do them myself to avoid disappointment--and, let's face it, I'm insanely cheap when it comes to unnecessary expenditures (Starbucks is necessary, so leave it alone)--but every so often I treat myself to one in hopes of saving myself some time and maybe finding that amazing nail tech of high-maintenance-girl urban legend.

But alas...

1. "Yes, I'm positive I want [OPI's] Lincoln Park After Dark on both my hands and feet. While I acknowledge that the bright pink polish you are waving enthusiastically in front of my face is nice enough, I'm good with my selection." Why do they always try to convince you to switch to a color that isn't even close to your original choice? Better yet, why do they try to sway you at all? I see women walking around all the time with bright pink toes and yellow daisies. (No offense to those who enjoy this look, but it seems to be the direction I am generally pushed toward when I visit Strip Mall Nails, so I cite this only as a reference point.) Is this a decidedly more appropriate look than my very-stylish dark hue? I get the same grief when I go for Essie's Ballet Slippers or OPI's Big Apple Red, so I am at least comforted that it isn't out of some deep-rooted fear of pale girls with dark nails.

2. It never ceases to amaze me that a third of any given nail is sans color by the time I leave the salon, and yet my cuticles are covered in polish that will remain on my skin for days. I mean, how is that even possible? It's impressive, really. But I absolutely lose my mind when I realize that the sharp edges of my tips (see rant #3) have zero color on them. Two coats later, not a single brush hair reached the edges? What the damn. Just a little extra attention. Twist the fingers as you paint. That's all I'm asking for.

3. God forbid you've got an eyelash when you leave, because the edges of your nails are sharp enough to shave your damn legs if you scratch them just right, much less gouge out half your cornea. Do yourself a favor and insist they angle the file just a smidgen. Your vision and delicate skin (and that of whoever you are touching, lucky lady) will thank you.

4. Warm towels. Warm. Not blistering. The stones too. Let 'em cool just a jiff before you get all up on my skin with those little tools of fire. When I'm silently shouting and pulling away like you just "liberated" yet another hang nail, that's a bad thing. Does not "feel good," but thanks for asking. I guess.

5. I miss the good ol' callous removers with the sharp-as-hell razors. (I know this pertains to pedicures, but I feel I must include it while I'm on a roll.) It's probably best they outlawed this tool given they can't exactly polish within the lines (can you imagine the carnage?), but nowadays they just quickly run a square sponge over your heel as if that will relieve you of rhino feet. They'd have better luck with the coarse side of a nail file. And don't even get me started on the so-called "deluxe" treatment. Really, a $6 per pedi upgrade of what looks like lotion is going to make that pathetic excuse for a buff more effective? Me thinks not.

6. How the hell am I supposed to read this three-month-old Allure if you keep making me reach across my body to give you my hand, all the while soiling said magazine with oil and lotion? One at a time, please.

The moral of the story: I should be ashamed for throwing a hissy fit over what amounts to a $10 pampering session. (And the techs really are too sweet for words.) It's crass, really, to expect anything more. I do not tend to experience the same misadventures when I loosen my wallet and actually visit a reputable salon for one of those $35 numbers. Not to mention, a comfy robe and a glass of bubbly with a mani tend to excuse most indiscretions. In fact, that applies to life in general.

I'm just sayin'.

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