Starting From Scratch: The Angry Nail Lady Version


Something frightening always occurs after I've taken a few weeks to move across the country, unpack boxes and set-up a new home. Once the chaos of the move dies down, one day I will finally look in the mirror and let out a scream that can be heard for several miles. You see, I've been too busy to pay any attention to personal care. My nails are broken (or too long) and chipped, my toenails could easily be confused for fingernails and my roots are so bad that they really should prevent me from going anywhere in public.

If the mere sight of myself isn't scary enough, the process of finding someone to fix me is almost unbearable. Where do I go? Who will fix me the way I want to be fixed? Who can I trust? When I set about to answer those very questions for the first time at a new duty station, it doesn't tend to go very well. This time was no exception.

I wear my nails very, very short. I can't function with long nails (for those of you who can, God Bless You). My nails are very thin, so I have acrylic put on top of them. At our last duty station, Mr. Lee, who I miss very much, understood this after only one explanation. When I walked into his salon, he went right to work and each time I left, I loved the results. And he was quick, too. Bonus points for speed. A trip to the nail salon is not like a spa visit for me. Just hurry up and cut my nails off, replace the acrylic and let me get on my way. I am not interested in lingering.

Recently, I picked a nail salon at random and prayed for the best. I tell the nail technician assigned to me that I want my nails cut all the way down, acrylic on top and the shape is oval. Unfortunately, she would have none of it. At every turn, she had the uncanny ability to know what is best for me, despite my input.

Gel nails are stronger and last longer

No, I've tried them before and I prefer acrylic

Acrylic is old-style. Gel nails are better

Thanks, but I'll stick with my acrylic

Not starting off well, eh?

I'll put tips on for you

No, I don't want tips. Just a layer of acrylic over my nails

We should put tips on, it'll be better for your nails

Please just put the acrylic on top of my nail

Your nails will crack faster

Acrylic, please

At this point, it's pretty clear that we're both unhappy with each other, and it only got worse from there. When the angry nail lady cut my nails, they were still quite long (it had been six or seven weeks since I had had them cut down). I proceeded to tell her that my nails need to go shorter. Seriously, how difficult is this to understand? The angry nail lady cuts my nails down once more, and they are still too long.

I need to have them cut down shorter. I wear them very, very short.

Once I file and shape they will be short, she blares at me.

Somehow, I doubt this, but she did possess sharp instruments and she looked perfectly ready to use them on me. Eager, in fact.

The process goes on and then it's time to shape the nails.


No, I like the oval

Square-round looks more fashionable and lasts longer

Thanks, but I prefer the natural shape of the nail

She's really had it with me at this point. Really had it. Well, I've had it with her, too. I'm paying for a service and she keeps trying to push her preferences on me. It's no use at this point, so I just go back to reading my book while she works. When I look up, damned if she hadn't shaped my nails square-round! Sigh. I make a mental note never to come back and wonder if I should stage a protest at some point outside the salon.

Finally, we're all done. And I do mean all done. I leave with nails that are short by most people's standards, but long by mine. Nails that aren't shaped the way I wanted them shaped, and I suspect that the angry nail lady put gel on my nails rather than acrylic. I'm sure she laughed internally the whole time she was doing it, too.


The hairstylist is next. If the trend continues, this brunette will probably come out a blonde. And I really don't want to be a blonde. I've had about all the fun I can take for a bit....   

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