It was like something out of a movie. The heavy, Russian woman walked me to the back room and shut the door. It was the size of a large, walk-in closet. Each wall was painted a dark red – a poster of Zac Ephron hung on my right side. To my left, Marilyn Monroe.
The Macarena played over the loud speakers while she leaned over me. “Lay down,” she demanded. “And shut your eyes.”
I obliged. The paper-covered bed crinkled beneath me. I clutched my purse. She ran the hot oil against my left eyebrow. Then my right. Without words, she placed a small piece of paper over the oil, patting it down. And then: RIPPP! Ouch, that hurt. The Macarena soon changed to “Play that Funky Music, White Boy.”
I emerged from the room – unscathed and perfectly arched. I asked my girlfriend how they looked. “Fabulous,” she replied.
The Hawaiian Nail Bar had a thatch roof and a margarita machine. Rows of candy-colored nail polish and herbal foot creams lined the walls. It smelled like polish remover and pina coladas. And the short, Korean woman that owned it danced through manicure tables and pedicure tubs, assigning customers and taking orders. “You want color change or pedicure?” she abruptly asked. I paused and she handed me a menu.
I looked around the room. Women of all shapes, sizes, ages and occupations sat with their hands propped and feet soaking. They gabbed about their jobs, talked on their cell phones and thumbed through celebrity magazines.
And I thought: what a strange little land. Where humans gather and wax their hairs and paint colors on their nails and re-enter the world feeling more beautiful.
I am still wearing the rubber flip flops from my lunch break. Don’t want to chip a nail, after all.