There are some things I am NOT willing to do for beauty. I watched my mother in her 80’s still going to an electrologist to remove persistent upper lip hair. Although my mother had an attractive, soft, billowy moustache, she finally saw an electrologist. Mom believed the ads that claimed “Electrolysis is permanent.” Since Mom saw the same electrologist for 40 years, that was clearly true.
As Mom described it, she sat in a chair with her hand in water so she could conduct electricity while the electrologist zapped her with an electric needle. Now I know electrolysis serves a valuable function, especially when it's used to obtain prisoner confessions. But I’d rather use bleaching cream or Nair or a Lady Gillette Shaver or a curling iron on my upper lip hair than sit passively getting electrocuted for beauty.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. But I get upset when I think how much torture women go through to be attractive. For example, you and I know how women have been sold a bill of goods about getting frequent manicures and pedicures. I am proud to be known among my friends as the person whose broken nails and shredded cuticles reflect a worthy life of typing, dishwashing, hand washing, laundry, pet care, hand washing, child care, hand washing, car care, grocery shopping, and hand washing. In a pinch I can slap on some polish or perform a quick manicure such as carefully tearing off a partially torn nail or biting off the remainder of a bitten cuticle. But these didn’t require paying tuition to a cosmetology school!
Would you believe that in this weak U.S. economy, the Nail Industry is booming? Women are spending more money on their nails, using more daring shades and experimenting with nail art. There’s a Nailympics every June where nail professionals from all over the world compete in events such as “Sculpture Acrylic,” “Fantasy Nail Art Competition,” “Stiletto Nails,” and “Neon Glitter Shellac Ingrown Toenails.”
I’m disturbed that even athletes are succumbing to this nail art trend. New York Yankees pitcher Russell Martin has posed for photos with his two-toned red and white or bright yellow nails. Holley Mangold, who at 350 pounds competed as a super heavyweight in weightlifting at the London games, doesn‘t wear makeup while competing but does wear nails adorned with tiny barbells. Olympic swimming stars Bronte and Cate Campbell of Australia, the first swimming sisters in 40 years, wear 3-D nail art that shows Olympic rings, a Qantas kangaroo, a British flag, and Mel Gibson attending Yom Kippur services in Sydney.
Even President Obama’s campaign offered a nail polish set of red (“Red-y to Win”), white (Victory White) and Blue (Bo Blue). Mitt Romney, who enjoyed telling about his prank at a wedding—secretly painting the word “Help” in pink nail polish on the bottom of a groom’s shoe—released through his campaign five new OPI colors: “I’m Really Not a Weenie,” “WolfsBane Capital,” “This Item is No Longer Available,” “I’m Spartacus,” and “Famous Seamus Anus.”
O.k., sometimes even I have to break down and get a manicure or pedicure. There are so many nail salons, it’s hard to choose. Fortunately, most can handle a simple manicure. I do prepare, however. I have in mind the color choice for my nails, I remember to leave behind any jewelry, and at least a week before the appointment, I begin practicing with my Rosetta Stone language learning CD. I memorize a few simple Vietnamese phrases that anyone can learn to make the nail appointment go smoothly:
Bạn có thể loại bỏ các thanh lớp biểu bì? Nó sẽ không đi thêm nữa dưới móng tay của tôi.
(You can remove the cuticle stick. It will not go any further under my fingernail.)
Bạn có thể tắt ghế massage? Nó cảm thấy giống như một con sâu khổng lồ bò trên lưng tôi.
(Can you turn off the massage chair? It feels like a giant worm crawling on my back.)
Xin vui lòng đi dễ dàng với massage tay. Tôi dường như không thể cảm thấy ngón tay của tôi bây giờ.
(Please go easy with the hand massage. I cannot seem to feel my fingers now.)
And finally: Bạn đã sử dụng trong các spa chân, diệt khuẩn, diệt nấm và virucidal disinfectatnt? Tôi không muốn rời khỏi thẩm mỹ viện với một căn bệnh ăn thịt. Cảm ơn bạn.
(Have you used in the foot spa a bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal disinfectant? I do not wish to leave the salon with a flesh eating disease.)