i only wear white when it rains

because blogging is cheaper than therapy

shiny buff and other lessons

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photo-5Because my hands and feet are direct descendants of woolly mammoths and the bearded Vikings who discovered America (my Pop just fist bumped me from the grave), I’m forced to participate in bimonthly mani-pedis to avoid archaeologists suspending me from the ceiling of the Natural History Museum.

If it comes down to fleecing my daughter’s 529 to finance my grooming or going without, the choice is quite clear. You’re welcome.

Luxecares a lot about your fi dulla

So after an equally necessary caffeine infusion yesterday morning, I headed to the new nail salon Luxecares on 4th Street next to Einsteins and the hollowed out corpse of Blockbuster.

Increasingly frustrated with being told to “wait fi minute, pick culla” I have less and less patience for the fi minute queue that’s really twenty-fi, or the waterboarding of worthless add-ons that catapult my $12 mani into something I will have to whip out my Visa for despite the handwritten signs everywhere begging me not to (apparently the tangerines and plastic flower offerings for Buddha are the only taxes many salon owners want to pay — no judgment).

Luxecares was still so new it smelled of fresh paint, and one of the employees was wiping down the headrests with disinfectant. So, yes, it immediately became my favorite nail salon in St. Pete. I even was able to overlook the fact that their manicures ranged from “The Express” at $15 all the way up to a $35 manicure that I’m guessing was the “If you’re dumb enough to pay this” special.

I sat down with my nail tech Fonda who is most likely married to McLovin and explained that I needed extensive cuticle work, but don’t use nail polish since it just makes me look like a tranny. I can say things like that without consequence to ESL people. That’s probably why I am so attracted to foreign men.

Looking around the empty salon it was obvious Luxecares was trying to offer an upgraded spa-like experience with their empty, but sealed bottles of Moet & Chandon displayed everywhere and real orchids in vases in lieu of spray-painted carnations or the dusty silk flowers at Hong Kong nails in Tampa (only go there if you like the smell of microwaved Cha Cá Thang Long wafting in from the back room and don’t mind nail techs with cataracts so thick, you just simply pay and leave five minutes into your pedicure because it feels somewhat abusive to have a blind grandmother pressing her face against your big toe trying not to file your ankles).

As Fonda made sashimi out of my cuticles, I was forced to either consider how they resealed the rows of bottles after drinking the champagne (and why wasn’t I taught this technique in high school?) or look at time-lapsed videos of daffodils blooming in a sunny country meadow on the flatscreen TV. The blooming flowers had a tranquil LSD-like effect until the lovely nature scene cut to lions ravenously feeding off the intestines of an elephant.

Sit back, relax. Enjoy the show.

Sit back, relax. Enjoy the show.

I looked around. Um, is anybody seeing this? My acid trip just turned ugly.

And so did Fonda.

Because although I made it abundantly clear in the beginning of our express 15-minute mani that I did not want shiny buff, somewhere between a coyote snatching a groundhog out of its hole with its mouth and a shark stalking baby seals, there she was hovering the buffer over my nails like a threat.

“I do shiny buff instead of polish. Fi dulla extra. I do for you!”

For those who do not know, shiny buff is the nemesis of every nail salon client. Because while there is nothing wrong with a shiny, natural, unpolished nail, there is something immoral about every nail tech on earth colluding to extort 40% of the cost of a manicure on buffing your nails when you are actually foregoing four coats of nail polish and a good five minutes for them to do so. Shiny buff uses little to no resources as there is no base coat, polish, second coat of polish and top coat, yet they want $5 more for it? I’m so baffled by this rationale I actually get angry when they try to sell me on it.

“No means no!” I thought, feeling suddenly betrayed by Fonda.

And I was just starting to like her too, because save for the mandatory “You work today?” (they must learn this at cosmetology school) she politely left me alone to vacantly stare at those champagne bottles.

I wink at Buddha on my out as I fork over a $20 bill for my $15 express and a generous tip since it seems silly to ask for a dollar or two back. The owner asks me if I’m going to leave a gratuity. I look down at the $20 and tell him to keep it.

“Yeah, but $15 for manicure, $5 extra for shiny buff.”

No. No. No.

So insistent they were on shiny buff, they were going to charge me for it anywhere, putting them dangerously close to making it on my terror watch list.

But overall Fonda did a good job grooming my ham hocks and the bathroom mirror there made me look skinny, so I’ll forgive Luxecares their high pressure sales techniques or total cluelessness about appropriate relaxation DVDs. Besides, bloody elephant carcasses are preferable to the endless loop of Yanni concerts Poshe plays anyway.

Venus makes the no-fly list

Several weeks ago in a bit of a time pinch, I dropped into Venus nail salon next to Gigi’s for a mani to primarily clean up my dried and cracked cuticles that seem to grow over my nails at the speed of a menopausal woman’s chin hairs. Amazing to me how much time and effort I dedicate to removing skin and hair from my body. See above: woolly mammoth.

I knew within minutes my nail tech was too apathetic to trim my cuticles properly and instead was only making sideways cuts in them in an effort to render them even less presentable. I told her several times she needed to remove more cuticle, not just make origami pigeons out of the ones I have.

“I take off more, I cut you!”

Usually when I tell someone I’m going to cut them, I’m pretty fucking mad.

So I decided to chalk this up as a shitty manicure and sulk instead of complain.

After zig-zag slicing and forgetting to file, it was time for the massage.

Here’s a tip: it’s actually beneficial to piss off your nail tech because you get a really deep tissue massage as a result. Although in fairness, I’m pretty sure she was trying to dislocate my wrists but didn’t realize my Norwegian bone structure made ballet, skinny jeans and this an impossibility.

When she finished giving me an Indian Arm Burn, I noticed whole pieces of cuticles dangling off my nail beds and asked that she please at least remove them or let me borrow her clippers so that I could just do it myself. Equipped with her medieval torture device and a really evil glare, she violently grabbed my hand. Within seconds, a searing pain sliced through my ring finger, affirmed by a burst of bright red blood that wasn’t coagulating thanks to excessive caffeine use or some sort of incurable blood disease.

To make this gruesome scene worse, she continued to cut me three more times! Not since I sat next to an airline passenger who ate his lamb curry right after removing his boots for the first time in what I can only imagine was his entire adult life have I experienced such torture.

I finally mustered my shiny buff strength (“No means No!”) and told her that I’ve had enough.

I left to pay with a paper towel (that I had to get myself since her goal was to make me bleed out) wrapped around my bloody finger.

“Everything okay?” the manager asked.

I held up my filleted open fingers, incredulous.

“Okay, $12.” she said, not at all apologetic.

And then by some strange result of Stockholm Syndrome or something, I threw $15 at her. I tipped $3 for mutilating me? Who does that? I didn’t know who to hate more. Venus finger slicer or myself.

Venus is now officially on my no-fly list, which is another reason I celebrated the opening of Luxecares this week despite its awkward compound word name and shark feeding DVDs.

In fact, when I left Luxecares I asked Brian if he wanted me to make an appointment for us to get pedicures. He likes to go with me presumably so they don’t think he’s gay.

“I would, but I already got one yesterday at that place next to GiGis.”

“What?” I gasped. “How could you do that? How could your cross the picket line? Venus is on my no-fly list for turning me into Edward Scissorhands.”

Solidarity, man.

There are many lessons in life that I will teach my daughter.

The most important, of course, is opening doors with her elbows.

But in the not-so-distant future, I will teach her that “No means No!”

And if she doesn’t want to get cut?

Best not cross mommy’s picket line.

Written by I only Wear White When it Rains

June 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

One Response

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  1. You never cease to amaze me. Another great one!

    Jeanne Siversen

    June 8, 2013 at 2:26 pm


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