27 Bottles of Nail Polish


Suffering from writer's block, I sat at my desk tapping my pencil in my hand. Anyone who has seen my desk knows there are a number of different nail polishes that generally grace its surface. The reasons for it are simple. My eyesight sucks and my desk lamp provides the best light in the house and I am the queen of multitasking, so I will paint a coat, type for a while and follow up with another coat soon after.

Looking at the 27 bottles of nail polish, it's not the first time I've wondered why I have so many. Best guess, I can't remember which one is getting lumpy until I start to use it and instead of immediately tossing it, I close it up and grab the next one. Not the most efficient process, I would agree.

Then I started thinking about the female obsession with manicures and pedicures. Last summer I spent some time with a girlfriend in La Jolla, California, and I was catapulted into a world I never knew existed. Just for the record, prior to that trip, the closest I have come to a "nail spa" is watching the two nail ladies do their work through my hairdresser's mirror.

Back to California. Always up for a good time, I agree to accompany my always effervescent friend to her mani-pedi. Outside the obviously popular nail salon that I later dubbed "the fishbowl" because of the circular nature of the interior, we meet another friend of hers. (I really think Anne knows everyone in the world. And to be honest there were three people we met standing outside of the salon that she knew!) I agree to go purchase wine at the store next door why her and her friend check in. After pouring a little of the bubbly and taking a genial whipping from them for being 50 and never having had a manicure or pedicure I settle in to do what I think I do best: people watch.

Certainly the owner and workers of "the fishbowl" take themselves seriously, as do most if not all of La Jolla's upscale clientele who frequent the place. But honestly, after a couple glasses of wine I could hardly contain myself. What's worse, I was rubbing off on my friends because they were finding it difficult to contain themselves. I would like to think that I am that funny but I'm 99.99% sure it was the wine! But let me set the stage and tell you what I saw while sitting in "the fishbowl" drinking wine out of a plastic cup.

Lining the walls were great big recliners with giant tubs of water at their bases filled with layers of what appears to be giant shower caps that get changed with each client, and technicians straddling each tub. Sometimes the client was tag teamed with a tech at the foot bucket and one standing working on their finger nails.

My friend, honest and fun, tells her nail concierge to have fun with her feet, stating that she is barefoot all the time. She knows it's not great for them but oh well. "I’ll tip you extra" she says with a flip of her hand.

Her friend, a yoga guru (who also has one of the best bodies I have ever seen "hate her!") sits next to her chatting up the nail tech. As the time goes on each seat fills up.

There is the quintessential California girl sporting white shorty shorts, crop top, long blond hair, aviator glasses and long beautifully tanned legs. With her is her annoying little puppy, its heading poking out of a Gucci purse. She is engrossed in her phone touching the screen with carefully orchestrated movements so she doesn't mess up her newly painted nails.

Next to her are two women in workout clothes and Birkenstock sandals animatedly talking about something, one of them waving her hand as she speaks, making the technician's job that much tougher.

A young man in his twenties, dressed for work, with his tie tucked into his shirt, has his phone on his shoulder and is talking loudly. He checked his watch four times in the time I sat and watched him.

Next to him was everyone's nightmare. A mom with two bratty children. I give the tech credit; she got her in and out of there quickly but not before the children rearranged the contents of the nail bar and dropped a bottle of polish on the tile floor.

And last but not least, I was continually drawn to the woman who sat next to the woman with the children. I didn't want to mind you, but it was like a train wreck. I didn't want to look but I couldn't help myself! At first glance I thought she was a young woman. Second glance I realized I could not distinguish how old she was. She had an awesome body which she showed off with tight zebra print full-length yoga pants and a black scooped neck, sleeveless top that revealed WAY too perky and more than ample breasts and cleavage. Platinum blond hair surrounded a face that was wrongly ageless. I couldn't tell you what was wrong with it, but something wasn't right. She was going for 30 I think, but she didn't look it, nor did she look 40 or 50. She was ageless in a way I cannot describe. Obviously a fan of plastic surgery, she had high cheek bones decorated with pink blush, her lips were huge and puffy and resembled fish lips - and not in a good way. Like Botox gone bad fish lips! Her eyes were heavily outlined and fitted with false lashes. I remember thinking I don't look anything like that when I work out. In fact, I don't think I ever look like that!

The trip to Anne's nail salon was a trip indeed. I enjoyed myself immensely and was thrilled with the life teeming along inside "the fishbowl". All of these people, from varying aspects of life, were all engaged and enjoying themselves in the connected yet unconnected game of life and all of it in the name of something uniquely human - manicures and pedicures!

Ursula Neal

Ursula is a grief coach for mothers who have lost children helping them to move from crappy to happy again. She is also a personal growth strategist helping individuals reach their goals. She may be reached at 602-400-4423 or ursula@CompassReset.com. Facebook Google+

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: