Tales from a Nail Salon

The other day my nail broke. I want to clarify that this wasn’t your everyday run-of-the-mill hangnail. No, this baby cut deep — horizontally about halfway down my nail straight off the nail bed itself. I used about half a bottle of glue trying to fuse this thing together, but it was too late. The tear continued across my nail and I knew I had to choose between the immense pain of pulling it completely off or paying for some much needed nail rehab. I chose the latter.

Upon entering the salon, I told the woman at the desk my tragic nail tale and requested acrylic overtop the gross one. She sent me over to a young gentleman named Nick and told me to tell him what was up.

Note: I’m trying to get over the whole “only women should do my nails because it’s a woman thing” thing. I really am. But something about Nick and his demeanor just told me that he didn’t know his shit, but I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt.

So I explained the drama to Nick as he examined my finger.

“I put nail glue on it but it kept ripping. Maybe you can do acrylic on that nail?”

He looked at my finger and didn’t really acknowledge my story or suggestion. Not so much as a “I’m so sorry your left hand has been deemed unusable for a day. Are you okay?” I decided to have a pity party later and Nick was not invited.

He kept looking at my finger and then, to my horror, stuck his nail UNDERNEATH mine and began to PULL IT UP.

“Uhhh, that hurts,” I said as I pulled my hand away.

“I’ll glue it back together.”

Strange, didn’t I just explain that glue clearly didn’t work for me? Does he not believe me? I mean, I’m not wearing any makeup but I certainly know my beauty stuff, alright? 

“I prefer acrylic so that it’ll stay connected while it grows out.” I tried but failed to stay politely.

I never want to be the patient that tells the doctor the diagnosis or anything, but I wanted acrylic. I needed acrylic. I told Nick this was the best option. The only option. I explained that I had this done before on another broken nail so it’s what I wanted again. It worked.

Finally he agreed — reluctantly, but he agreed nonetheless. He started the manicure and I felt confident in Nick. Safe with Nick. I knew Nick would never hurt me…

…until he got to my janky nail. He started to file it like he’s never filed before. Aggressive, harsh, and he really put his back into it. Sweat dripped down my face and I may have peed a little as my nail began to bend backward.

“Ah, careful, that’s the broken nail, remember?”

“I’m filing it.”

“It’s bending and it hurts.”

“It needs to be filed.”

“If you can’t file it that’s fine. I really don’t want it to break.”

“I have to file it.”

“I honestly don’t care what it looks.”

“It needs to be filed.”

“Okay.”

At this point I stopped complaining because there were only two other people in the salon and I didn’t want to be the loud bitch arguing with the technician. Besides, it was 12pm on a Tuesday so I’m sure there was judgment flying in my direction since — based on how I was dressed — I clearly was not on a lunch break. Nick grabbed the file (which honestly might as well have been a chainsaw at this point) and started filing again.

Looking back, the amount of time he spent filing this nail is kind of odd. Just… file it and move on, right? Why drag this out for the both of us?

He continued to violently file it until my finger was actually bleeding. I didn’t even notice the blood until he pulled his hand away and for some reason looked at me horrified.

“Yeah,” I said passive-aggressively, “It’s pretty fragile.”

He drenched it in the liquid from that weird pushy-bottle. You know, the little bottle that’s like their polish remover/cleaner/anti-bacterial/rubbing alcohol all in one?

It hurt like a bitch.

I was relieved when Nick’s manager (girl from the front desk) took the reigns and finished my manicure — acrylic nail and all. Maybe the 20+ minutes of ouches and winces was a hint that Nick and I weren’t mixing.

So in the end my nail was fixed and quite honestly this is the best polish color I’ve ever had. I guess I have nothing to complain about but why am I still thinking about Nick?

Is it because he was trying to tell me how things were supposed to go down in a nail salon? On my own turf?

I guess technically it’s his turf but you know, I’m a girl and gender roles and stuff. I know nail salons. I live and breathe their toxic air.

That nail needed acrylic and guess what? I was right.