Once, while my mom and sister were getting their nails done, I wandered through the Circuit City (RIP) next-door. After exhausting my entertainment options–a Donkey Konga demo, a table tennis game for the Xbox 360, and gazing at plasma TV screens–I ambled back to the salon hoping they were nearly done with whatever was happening. I crossed the threshold and a wall of stench bombarded me, as did stares from the nail salon employees. It was kind of like when Mad-Eye Moody walks into the great hall in Goblet of Fire. I walked slowly to my mom and sister, and normal activities resumed when the employees realized why I was there.
That was my first time in a nail salon.
My second time came years later. Very recently, Dylan, Erin, Christina, and I visited a salon near my apartment for mani-pedis. We checked in and the three of them were rapidly ushered to chairs in the back. I waited patiently and gave a hearty thumbs up to Dylan.
Some time passed, and I was finally invited to sit in a chair that promptly annihilated my back with robotic death spikes. Seeing my pain, an employee showed me how to adjust the settings. I randomly stabbed at the buttons only to slightly alleviate the pain. Eventually, after I couldn’t take any more of the sharp robot, I turned the chair off. Seemingly in a mechanical act of revenge, the back leaned forward, leaving me nearly doubled over. Minutes–possibly hours–of fumbling with the remote led me to a tolerable massage setting, freeing my mind to think about the temperature of the water in which my feet were submerged and how it would probably make me have to pee. Luckily, I fought it off as a lady came to my chair to begin the pedicure.
She whipped out an amalgam of sorcerous artifacts and a Phillip’s head screwdriver (looked like one, anyway). She scraped the top of my toenails and fiddled with the crevice where nail meets skin. She rubbed some sort of potion on my calves and clipped my nails–the only normal part of the mystical process. After applying a coat of clear polish, she placed my feet in paper shoes, which she said were made to stop the sorcery from spreading to my legs.
Careful not to damage my magic shoes, I walked to the manicure station, lifting my legs way too high to look sane or normal. A different lady sat across from me and performed the same incantations on my hands that had just been done on my feet. Directly following, though, she set each of my hands in a bag of hot liquid. I could only assume this was some sort of test of will engineered by the employee, so I clenched my teeth and took the pain as the wax slowly hardened.
The trial of the wax ended, and I traded in my magical paper shoes for flip flops I’d borrowed from my roommate. As a matter of comfort (and maybe a little bit of principle), I never wear flip flops, and the toe-thong hurt like hell between my toes. I limped home, whining about it all the way.
Despite the sorcery, the violent robot chair, the molten wax, and the torturous toe thong, I felt rejuvenated and shiny. It was no fish massage, but my first mani-pedi was well worth the time.