Ever wonder what women do inside a nail salon? A special inside look for men only…
Women no longer gather ‘round the river, beating their laundry against rocks. Nor do they assemble in the town market, whining about the price of live chickens and grain. Instead, they flock to the Westchester nail salons for the “mani-pedi” ritual and therapeutic chats about life, work, other women (a terrible practice, for many reasons), and town happenings.
Despite economic woes, the “Nail Economy” seems to be alive and well in our towns and villages. Traffic may be a bit down, but at a price point under $20 for most storefront walk-in shops, filing and polishing is still one of the most affordable treats around.
Whether you are a Ballet Slipper (pale and ladylike) or a Lincoln Park After Dark (goth dark and daring) kind of woman, the drill is the same:
· You decide that your nails are a “mess” (or you need to get out of the house and away from your husband and kids) and will treat yourself to professional pampering and female companionship. Often, women mani-pedi in pairs or with daughters. Girls as young as 3 are getting pedicures. A bit frightening, yes?
· You wait your turn. Some women stage full-on hissy fits because they are in a huge rush (heading to a meeting with the President, perhaps) and refuse to wait.
· You sit in your designated chair, have your talons turned to ten things of beauty (filed soaked, wrapped, covered with mystery glues, polished, etc.) and chat idly
· You dry under a magic machine while a stranger rubs your neck.
· You ruin your manicure opening the car door and return for repair, as your manicurist sighs and curses you in Korean because you were too impatient to sit under the machine for an extra five minutes.
As for salon etiquette:
· If you frequent a nail salon regularly and like their service, do not be a “nail slut” and jump from shop to shop. Loyalty is important to most salon owners and you’ll be treated better if you are a regular.
· Manicurists are people. If you don’t like the way your manicurist is filing your nails, do not publicly humiliate her. I saw a client berate a young woman because she liked her nails square and they were filed round. She didn’t chop off a limb. Nails grow back. Be reasonable.
· Do not talk about anything in the salon that you don’t want the entire community to know. Some women carry on long personal conversations, naming other women in the town and divulging intimate secrets. In fact, if you ever want to hear really good dirt, hang around salons.
· Tip as well as you can. Spending hours rubbing hands cannot possibly be a spiritually fulfilling career. These hardworking women should be rewarded.
· Do something wild and radical with your nails on occasion. Blue metallic toenails will make you feel daring and feed your creative spirit (although your kids and husband might look at them in horror and disgust).
Twisted Pickets is authored by Billie Cleaver (a pseudonym). She claims to be a renegade relative of June and Ward Cleaver. June had a torrid affair with Eddie Haskell and Billie was the result. She inherited June’s apron collection.