We're All Damaged

Friday, September 11, 2009

Manicure Guy

Over the last few months, I’ve learned that there is a ten-minute window of time during which I can be in a maternity shop. Once that window closes, depending on how much caffeine I’ve had, I typically descend into a full-blown emotional breakdown.

The other night, my wife and I were in a store at the mall called Destination Maternity. I was standing quietly, holding her bags, while she looked at some T-shirts. I noticed a pink one that read “The Baby Makes the Belly Go ‘Round.” That’s when I leapt to my feet, burst into tears and made a break for the exit.

It’s hard to say for sure where I was going. The food court? Perhaps the Foot Locker? Either way, I didn’t make it very far. Arms flailing, my vision blurry from crying, I was stopped suddenly when a small girl in black jumped out from behind one of those mall kiosks.

“Can I show you something?” she asked. She was foreign, very pretty and bored-looking, the way girls at mall kiosks usually are. There was a half-eaten pretzel on a little paper plate atop her cash register.

“OK,” I said.

“Let me see your thumb.” It seemed like an odd request. I was emotionally vulnerable, though, and so I did as I was told. She held my wrist and looked down at my thumb as if trying to read my fortune. “You must have a difficult job,” she said. “Your nails are very rough.”

I’ve had some jobs in my life, none, though, that any reasonable person would call difficult. “No,” I said. “I . . . I do very little.”

She smiled. “I will take care of you regardless.” A thick file appeared from nowhere, like a magic trick, and suddenly she was buffing my right thumbnail. After about thirty seconds of work, she squirted a small drop of oil on my cuticle and then continued buffing. “This is going to be amazing,” she said. “Are you ready?”

“I think so,” I said.

She stepped back, pocketing her file, and smiled again. That’s when I saw that I now had one smooth, perfect fingernail. It looked wet, but it wasn’t. I fought the urge to put it in my mouth. “You like it?” she asked.

“Ummm,” I said.

she told me that for just $50 I could purchase my very own nail kit, and with that kit I could give myself manicures for a fraction of the cost of going to the salon. It was, far and away, their best-selling product.

“But . . . um . . . I really don’t think I’m a manicure guy,” I said.

She looked at me then, furrowing her brow a little. I have a feeling that she’s heard this line before. “Hmmmm," she said. "You definitely look like one to me.”


  1. "I fought the urge to put it in my mouth."

    Pretty sure that was a line from one of Gash's early tunes.

  2. LOL!! No, you don't seem to be a 'Metro' kinda guy- glad she could take the attention away from your freak out tho. :-)

    Those nail kits are rubbish. The lotion is nice but not worth $47 and the buffer and emery board and such can be purchased at Walgreens for $3. You got off lightly if you were considering gifting it to your missus.

    Good luck with the baby fun. You crack us all up with your little snap shots of real life domestic bliss.