Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mani-Pedi Phobia

I was thinking the other day after I caught a glimpse of my rugged cuticles, that it might be nice to have a Mani/Pedi outing with the girls sometime soon. Then I remembered every nail salon experience I’ve ever had and determined that nobody really looks at my cuticles anyway so perhaps I should skip it.

Now I’m just going to warn you right now that some of the statements I make in this post are going to be racially insensitive. I can’t help it. I don’t consider myself a racist. I think everyone deserves an equal shot in this world and is just as worthy as anyone else regardless of skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference etc. And the statements in this blog stem merely from my own personal insecurities, rather than the hatred or inacceptance of a people.

You see I find it very uncomfortable to go to a place in which people are using sharp instruments and chemicals on me when I can’t understand a word they’re saying. The only thing I can vaguely understand is the "YOU PICK CALLAH" that is shouted out when I walk in the door and then the "YOU WANT FRENCH?" That’s it. That’s all I can understand and the rest of the time I rely on facial gestures and hand signals.

The other thing I can’t stand is how they’re always saying something to each other and laughing. They’re very happy – and why shouldn’t they be. They get to spend their entire day watching soap operas and Jerry Springer and making fun of the white people while they’re sitting right in front of them; "Do you see all the moles on this one? Look, that one on her neck looks like the little dipper! HA HA HA".

They seem determined to break you up too. The whole point of going to the nail salon with a friend is so that you can sit there and talk to each other, or at least help each other translate what it means when the gal is doing what appears to be charades of some sort; two words, one syllable each, umm, what’s that she’s doing with her hand? Circle, ball, square, oh I know, Yeah I want the nails rounded, not square. Then I’m making the "round" hand signal back to her. It’s just awkward.

My theory is that they have the same concern I do. They don’t like it when two or more people sit together and speak in a language they don’t understand and then start laughing. Maybe they think we’re criticizing the tacky plastic dragon on the counter. So they make a pointed effort to break you up and stick you at complete opposite ends of the salon.

I’m always on edge and then I just get defensive and confused. One time the gal just looks up at me in the middle of trimming my cuticles and says, "YOU NEED WAX.’ or at least I thought that’s what she said, and when I looked at her with my pained and pathetic expression of confusion, she points at her eyebrows and says "WAX" I didn’t know what to do. I mean I realize they’re a little untidy but it’s kind of rude to just sit there and suggest that I should wax my eyebrows. What I didn’t realize was that the nail salon also does eyebrow waxing. So I guess I wasn’t really being insulted, the gal just wanted to make a couple extra bucks by taming my caterpillars.

I’m so on edge when I’m in there that it gets to a point where I can’t even think straight even when someone is talking to me in English. When I was pregnant with Gwen I went for a manicure and the customer sitting next to me looked over and said, "Is this your first?" Now I think partly my addled pregnant brain might have been a factor in this as well, but I was so on edge and tuned in to the manicure, trying to anticipate the next step to avoid having another game of charades, that I turned to her and said, "No, I’ve had one before but that was a long time ago." Only when she gave me a weird look, hesitated and then said, "Yeah me too, my firstborn is 14 and my second is 3." Did I realize that she was asking me if this was my first baby, rather than, if this was my first manicure. I was so embarrassed by being so completely stupid. All I could do was hope that she blamed my odd comment on the nail polish fumes.

So mani-pedis are pretty much out until I either learn to speak Vietnamese or scrounge up enough money to go to a spa or salon that doesn’t have something like this on the strip mall window.

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