The Pretty Nail

Every six months or so, when I manage to get four minutes of free time by bribing my husband with Budweiser and my children with non-stop SpongeBob, I stop by the Pretty Nail Salon. I never manage to orchestrate free time far enough ahead  to make an actual appointment, but somehow you can always just walk right into the Pretty Nail. Despite this, the owner will thoroughly berate walk-in customers for not calling ahead, before admitting that yes, the salon is empty, and she could perhaps fit you in, just this once.

I get an eyebrow wax first, and then follow with up with a pedicure – nice, right? Except not really. Not at the Pretty Nail. When I lie down for my eyebrow wax, which ends up looking fantastic, but usually involves ripping half the skin off my forehead, the Pretty Nailette (Nailer?) stares down critically and says, with a perfectly raised eyebrow of her own, “No lip today? You need lip. And cheek. You have hairy cheek. I do whole face?”

“Um, no. just my brows today, please.”

Imagine, I went thirty-something years completely unaware that I had a facial hair problem and that there was such a painfully obvious solution. I will quite likely talk to people for the rest of my life looking over my shoulder, but I’m just not willing to lose the skin from the lower half of my face.

After this chastening treatment, I’m led to the massage chair (forget the glider – every mom-to-be should register for one of these) where I select a pale summery pink for my toes, straight out of the Glamour Magazine I stole last time I was here.

“No.” says my Pretty Nailette.

“Um, no…?” I say, hesitant to cross her with all her hot wax and metal tools.

“No. Your toes too yellow. Dark color better for yellow feet.”

“Oh,” say I, and sadly but obediently select a somber plum color more appropriate for those of us with unacceptably yellow feet.

I leave the Pretty Nail with impeccable toenails and exquisite eyebrows, and slightly lower self-esteem. And yet I will be back. Is it that the Pretty Nailette fulfills some need I have to be mildly insulted on a regular basis? Do I consider her a motherly stand in, someone to nurture me while telling me very clearly what and what not to do? (Why I associate insults with mothering is a question probably best discussed with my therapist.)

Or is it just that, including a generous tip, the total for my visit comes to under thirty dollars?

(Photo credit: By Kenjonbro)

About Peryl Manning

Peryl Manning is somewhat (and pleasantly) surprised to find herself the mother of two almost freakishly dimpled little boys. She isn’t sure she should be the one in charge though; at thirty-something she still manages to somehow end up sitting in her own gum, and last week she found her credit card in the fridge with the leftover pizza. She loves mellow moms and Ayelet Waldman; she hates judgy moms and truffle oil. She juggles kids, contributing to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Momtastic and Mamazina Magazines, and other parenting publications, with whatever grace she can summon.


  1. Pam Dillon says:

    I have met this woman — at Lovely Nails. And her brother and her sister. There much be some kind of training for this.
    Maybe they attend the Beauty Institute of Advanced Passive Aggression. You think?

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  2. Dusty says:

    Yellow feet and hairy cheeks. I can’t stop laughing at this. Sorry. :-)

  3. Naomi says:

    BWHAHAHAAHAHAA!!! Why is it that our beauty professionals feel the need to degrade us so? Reminds me of the time a doctor told me that based on the wild abundance of hair on my legs, I was probably half-man. Or possibly half ape. GAH.

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  4. Heather says:

    A full face wax? Well, I think I’ve heard everything now.

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  5. Wow! I can’t imagine having my full face waxed. Do people really do that? Yikes! I am so thankful that my nail tech is pretty quiet. Now if I could find someplace where it would only cost me $30 with a generous tip for a pedi and an eyebrow wax I may have to change.

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  6. Megan says:

    I’m sorry to laugh at your pain, but this is awesome.

    I always defer to my nail tech if he/she quesstions my choice of pedi color. You know what? They’re usually right.

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  7. Paul Sandy says:

    What’s wrong with yellow feet? And hairy cheeks? We are primates, after all!!

  8. Jennifer says:

    It’s the $30 thing. It has to be.

  9. The insults, don’t take personally they are taught this path in cosmetology school plus…hello, the more they wax, the more they charge. Mine always ends up waxing my whole face off, but then I am a hairy Mexican Monkey. Thanks dad! But when I leave, with my sculptured eyebrows and my missing sideburns and Pedro mustache…I am much happier. WHo cares if it costs me $50, I need the confidence boost. No woman can be confident with a Pedro mustache:)LOL
    But you’re blonde, so I’m sure your pedro is invisible to the naked eye…unless its the robo eye of the crazy nailette sado masochist!

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  10. Ms. G/Motpg says:

    Hee hee, she’s a pro! I’m pretty cheap though so I just berate myself for the price of a bottle of red Milani and some decent tweezers.Oh and get your hair out of your eyes! ..that was free..; )

  11. Sandy says:

    Very funny Peryl and so true!! I think it’s the 30 bucks. I know I go through my own personal hell each time I go, but I keep going back.

  12. Jannicke says:

    Thanks for making me laugh Peryl! Awesome reading and I totally relate to the somewhat mildly insulting comments at the nail salon but keep going back as well……

  13. blueviolet says:

    If you’re getting both for under $30, the insults are welcome! Let her rip you apart!

  14. Amy says:

    The place I go they are SO nice and complimentary. Then again they all speak Vietnamese so who knows what they are saying to each other AND they charge a heck of a lot more than $30 ;)

  15. Alexandra says:

    Yeah, I”ve been told I have the longest skinniest toes she’s ever seen, and she even waves her friends over to point and laugh.

    Yeah, so, still no bargain at 30 bucks.

    I now just do it at home.

    WHere they love my feet.

    FUNNY POST! Congrats on being here!

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  16. Meg Butteworth says:

    I’m just impressed that you got yourself to a nail salon. I can’t imagine what she would say if she saw my feet! Keep indulging, and keep writing about your experiences at the salon!

  17. tamara says:

    agree, i would love to have more time to be insulted!:) and my nails need some help too.

  18. Jen Bandy-Phillips says:

    I love everything you write! I think Pretty Nails may become quite popular now, thanks to your glowing article. Why is it when I read your articles, I want to share my most embarrassing moments??? I don’t know, but keep them coming Peryl!

  19. Peryl,

    I love you, hairy cheeks, yellow feet, and all. You just made my morning. I have PCOS and am a rather hairy gal myself. It sucks. Waxing, bleaching and electrolysis have beeb BFFS of mine for years…now looking into lazer. OY!

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    • Peryl says:

      Erin!! It feels good to be accepted, yellow feet and all. Let me know how the laser goes – my husband is getting annoyed at his abundance of back hair. (don’t tell him I told you.) Mwahh!

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  20. Jim says:

    I believe it’s spelled BUDWEISER.

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  21. HeatherS says:

    It’s definitely the $30. Why does their eyebrow wax seem so savage? Last time I went for just a pedi, I took a 10-year-old friend with me, for a special birthday gift. I knew I could use a brow wax but didn’t want to leave my friend on her first visit and it was a total bonding experience for us..until my nail tech said, “You get eyebrow wax today? You NEEEED.” Thank you. And I did. And it hurt like hell but it did look good.

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  22. Aimee says:

    Hahaha! Great post! Miss you much, Peryl! And thanks for reminding me to get to the salon asap. Must add that to my list. :)

  23. Mandy says:

    A friend actually caved to the face wax and now has to have it waxed on a regular basis to keep control of the newly sprouted hairs.

    You should have gone for the pink. :)

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  24. ROTFL!I’ve always said women love paying to be abused. LOL

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  25. This must be a universal experience because my best friend, who happens to be practically hairless on her body, was insulted into waxing her lip. Because, God forbid, she have a female mustache. She left with an inflamed, rashy upper lip and came home feeling like a chump.

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  26. amanda says:

    Peryl, this is such a great article and so very true. What we will go through for 30 bucks is crazy. But we keep coming back don’t we. Miss you my friend!

  27. Sue Jackson says:

    I have never gone into a nail salon…and now I don’t think I ever will!! I think the last time I wore nail polish was for my wedding, but I have been thinking I should give it another try, in my spare time – ha!

    I know I’m a hairy person – no way I am setting foot in there! I’d rather live with the pleasant illusion that no one else notices the hair but me…


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