Sunday, June 18, 2006

Express Nails

Okay, maybe the sign on the door "Express Nails" should have been my first clue that this place was an assembly line for feet and fingers, but this was my first venture away from my regular beauty shop - and I ventured away only because my regular place is closed for vacation this week. 

And yes, I did use the old-fashioned term "beauty shop" because "Sandy's Beauty Shop" is written on the door of my favorite place in the world to go. Sandy's isn't a "salon," you see. Sandy's is a typical catch-up-on-all-the-local gossip, eat cookies or brownies or whatever else anyone brought by that day, and your feet are in one of those "Dr. Shoals" Wal-mart blue light special foot baths while Sandy does your nails first, then your toenails.

Not so at Express Nails.

The second I walked through the door and said I wanted a manicure and a pedicure, Ung Lee (according to her name tag) grabbed my hands and grimaced. "Nails too short. Need gel nails," she said with authority. "Do feet first."
The next thing I knew, I was being ushered to a line of chairs against the wall and seated among several other women whose feet were soaking in mini whirlpools of bubbling blue hot water.

"Sit back in chair. Feet in water," instructed Ung Lee, which sounded like a reasonable request except for the fact that when I sat my short self back in the chair, my short legs stuck straight out and my feet didn't even come close to touching the swirling blue water.

"Feet in water!" a rather impatient Ung Lee demanded, causing everyone to immediately look in my direction.

Soooo, (thoroughly embarrassed) I scooted my butt down to the edge of the chair (practically lying down now) put my feet in the water, and a now smiling-at-my-creativity Ung Lee reached over and punched a button on the arm of my chair and said, "Soak four minute," before she quickly moved on to the next person.

It only took once for something as hard as a brick to hit me in the back of the head before I realized this was one of those dang "massage" chairs. Now I admit the massage thingy might have felt rather good running up my back - if I could have sat back in the chair. But four minutes of being whacked in the back of the head? Are you kidding me? We're talking a freaking concussion here! 

I glanced to my left, searching for Ung Lee, but she was now whittling away at some poor woman's foot with a (yikes!) razor. Rather than break Ung Lee's concentration while she was wielding such a deadly-looking device, I reached up and started feeling for the button to turn the dang thing off myself. Crap! It speeded up instead. And to make matters even worse, in all my thrashing around to turn off the chair, my pants legs had now slid down and were soaking right along with my feet in the swirling blue water.

I finally gave up, slid down out of the chair, pulled my wet pants legs back up to my knees, and sat on the edge of the whirlpool until an again-frowning Ung Lee came back to stand above me with her hands on her hips. I have no idea what she said in Vietnamese to her other two co-workers, but they all had a really good laugh.

Yeah, ha, ha, ha, and all that!

But the good news is, Ung Lee didn't use her scary razor on my feet, which means Sandy must do a pretty good job. I now have gel-not-too-short nails. And the heat from the toenail dryer helped a little with my wet pants.

But you'd better believe as soon as I was done, I paid my bill and expressed myself and my still-flaming cheeks right the heck out of there!

Candy Halliday


MaryF said...

OMG - what an experience! LOL!

Elizabeth Hoyt said...

See, now, this is why I do my nails at home . . . when they get done at all. I've seen those razor thingies in catalogues and nobody's coming near my tootsies with one of those.

Candy Halliday said...


I can laugh about it now, but I was mortified with all those strangers staring at idiot me.


Candy Halliday said...

I'm with you, Elizabeth.

If Ung Lee had even reached for the razor, me and my wet pants would have bolted for the door!


Kelley St. John said...

Oh, Lord, did I laugh at this, Candy! Too funny :)

Have to give you my own Ung Lee experience now. My first time to one of those "express salons" was in Atlanta. The woman started the nail drill, something I hadn't seen before, and went to removing my not-so-tamed cuticles at a frantic pace. So frantic, in fact, that she brought blood. She had the courtesy to wince when the brilliant red spurted out of the area she'd thoroughly sanded (going for bone, I think). Then she gives a tight little smile and asks, "That hurt?" I, being the good little victim, nodded. Smiling a little broader, she sings, "O-kay," then kept right on sanding. Needless to say, I expressed myself right out of that place too!


Lori Wilde said...

Um ... what are gel nails?
Lori, the uninitiated.

Paula Quinn said...

Candy, I just had my nails done on Saturday. I have a love/ hate relationship with the little man who does them. (Don't ask me his name. It's a bunch of letters that make no sense at all.) I HATE the nail drill and cringe the second I hear that evil buzzing. And the power of that thing! Twice it's veered off my nails and my shaky hand has flown right out of noname's fingers let a jet propelled rocket. Blood? Oh yes, there's been blood. Noname smiles and says "not bad". Oh, well then you won't think me kicking you in the shin is bad either, huh? But then, it's over and my nails look pretty and little noname is forgiven. He just better stay away from my feet.

Desperate Writer said...

Oh, man. As a cosmetologist of nearly 23 years, hearing stories like this makes me cringe.

Now, about the razor thing. In Texas, those are against the law to use in a salon. But I use one on my own feet at home (I don't do peds for clients)and it is absolutely wonderful for corns and calluses. They aren't hard to use, because the tool is built to work with the shape of the foot. As long as one doesn't really dig in, and instead gently guide the razor across the offending part of a well-soaked foot, it works like a dream to gradually remove the offending dry, thick skin of the feet (Don't remove all at once, it'll make your feet sore to lose all of its protection.)Followed up with a pumice stone, a foot file and cream, your feet are like new.

As for using the mechanical file, I personally NEVER use one on the natural nail bed. It can cause permanent damage. I use a white buffer block, and that's it. I only use the machine to shape and clean out beneath the artificial nail.