If you recall from our very first blog post here in Inkwell Alley, a stubbed toe qualifies as a dramatic occurence--one that elicits "Oh My Goshes!" and "What?! What the hecks?"--in the lives of me and sbass. In other words, it takes very little to get us riled up. Last night, sbass stubbed her toe during her somnambulistic adventures throughout her house--a house, might I add, that features a staircase with no railing; an accident waiting to happen, especially if you’re sbass. I digress....
Anyway, based on my recent traumatic experience with acrylic nails, I am writing today to champion the very real danger of abused nails, to justify their placement in the dramatic occurrence category…Let me give you a little background; it might be unrelated, but I’m going for dramatic effect.
First: I am not a girly girl: I barely wore make-up on my wedding day; I never apply it as part of my morning routine (although I will use concealer on blemishes); I’ve never had my hair dyed or styled (I’m finally growing my bangs out after 23 years and just that decision alone liberates me, makes me feel like I’m walkin’ on the wild side), and I have never, up until two months ago, had anything done to my nails. To be quite honest, nothing has changed much since that day my mom took me to the beauty salon to have my hair done for a wedding that I served in as flower girl (It was a black/white, avant garde wedding…I’ll have to post a picture…). Even at 7-years of age I was more concerned about being late for T-ball practice.
I held back tears as the beautician curled my hair, fat lock falling upon fat lock. I looked like a pig, especially with the way I was scrunching up my face.
“You have gorgeous hair, Monica,” she said as she worked.
My mother beamed while I just continued to scowl. I didn’t want to be gorgeous because I didn’t want to attract attention. I just wanted a simple, maintenance free life of running around outside on the ball field, in the yard, the honeysuckle-infested woods, around the neighborhood with the other street urchins.
We got home just in time for me to change for T-ball practice. I ran upstairs, grabbed a brush and vigorously pulled it through my hair until was as straight as I could get it. I put on my cap and sauntered up to the dinner table as if I hadn’t done a thing. “You combed out your hair didn’t you?” my mom asked. I sheepishly nodded; she couldn’t even get mad.
Now fast forward to two months ago, when my husband Robert was driving me to my “surprise destination” for Valentine’s Day.
“Are we going sky diving?”
“Romantic hot air balloon ride?”
We pull up to the mall and go inside.
“I can buy a really nice outfit for work?”
And then he stops in front of the place. A nail salon crawling with females of all ages running around with foam between their toes. Asian women in surgical masks were hunched over at tables and recliners.
“Oh no you don’t. You know I don’t want this! What are you doing?!”
“Come on,” he grabbed me by the wrist and got right in my face. “Every girl who has ever had this says how relaxing it is. It will feel great. You’ll look really pretty with it. Just trust me on this one.”
“No one touches my feet, let alone with fungal infested dremels.”
“You’ll get a manicure, not a pedicure.”
“That’s not as bad—but I still just want my natural plain nails.”
I mindlessly let him lead me inside.
“She’d like to get a French manicure,” Robert said.
I nervously looked around.
“See honey,” Robert pointing to a bunch of tools that were floating in jars of blue, foamy liquid. “They keep everything clean. They also nuke them in that microwave thing.”
So I got the nails. And after two weeks, I’d had it. I couldn’t type, grip my tennis racquet properly or open soda cans. I was eating dinner at my parents’ house and abruptly proclaimed that I was leaving for the nearest salon to have “those things professionally removed.”
“Right now?” my mom asked.
“Yes, they’ll be open. It shouldn’t be a problem.”
I left my half-eaten steak and all the rest of my food that my dad had made, and fled the premises. They had to come off—NOW.
I rushed into the empty salon in a tizzy and the three Asian workers looked at me as if I was an escape convict trying to find a hiding place. One walked up to the front desk.
“Wha woul you like?”
“Can you take these nails off?”
“Yes, off. I don’t want them anymore.”
“Okay, sit right here.”
The guy pulled out some pliers and some thin, flat edged metal thing.
“Is this going to hurt??”
He looked up at me, nervously smiled and shrugged.
“Oh my God.”
“We can soak them first; tha might help.”
I sat with my fingers dipped in a bowl of cold solution for 20 minutes—only to have the guy come back and tell me that he had me soak my hands in regular alcohol instead of nail remover solution. I’m dead serious. So I sat for 15 more minutes with my fingers in a different bowl.
The next 30 minutes were agony as he tried to pry the acrylic nails off, sliding a thin piece of plastic between the fake and the real and pushing down towards my cuticle.
“Ooops. I sorry.” The guy had accidentally shoved that thin piece of plastic way under my real nail.
Pardon my French, but after all was done, my nails looked like pure hell—heavily trimmed, thin, and caked with dust-like residue. And one didn’t look quite right—and continued to not look quite right to this day.
“Fungus! Oh my God I have fungus! Robert! I am going to kill you!!!”
I noticed that the yellowish, white circle was expanding further and further to the top of the nail on my left index finger.
Fortunately, when I went to the dermatologist the other day, I found out that it wasn’t fungus but simply separation from the nail from the nail bed, the process of which started when that guy at the nail salon shoved the plastic under my real nail. Although, my derm still wants to monitor because it could lead to the dreaded Fungus.
The bottom line:
-Don’t get acrylic nails
-Don’t cause any trauma to the nail; eg, stub your toe
-Toe stubbing IS a big deal
As I wave my hand, Grendel finger and all, Tata for now…
Two cubicle neighbors with pizzazz and their own personal, but highly similar, set of of innate complexities find refuge in this alley of creative musings. So pull up a chair, join in, as we--artist and writer--share our spin on the world, art, literary pursuits and the seemingly miniscule, daily occurrences that become larger than life.
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