17 June 2014


image via anomie, ft. Young Frankk 
Step 1. Arrive at the nail salon, confident in a choice long having been made. You want a classic, classy, tomato-y red: not too red and not too bright but also not too muted – you know? Maybe even sort of a light, brick-ish red? That red you saw that one time on that woman who was your District-level boss back when you worked retail, the one with all the gold jewelry who always just looked so TOGETHER despite her steadfast commitment to a vintage bellbottom. THAT color. It will soon be YOUR color. The color that will transform your week; the color that will lend respectability to your vibe; the color that will partner with a light, Summer blazer and perhaps some eyeliner to transform your slept-on hair and Metallica t-shirt into a COFFEE MEETING-APPROPRIATE situation. Today is your day. You got this. Stand tall.

Step 2. Scan the polish wall. Do your best to manage anxiety levels after eyeballing the OPI shelves twice and not having found your red. It should be there. It does exist, right? You didn't make it up? Didn't you find it that one time for that wedding you went to in like 2010? Why didn't you write the name down? It's here somewhere. Vow to put the name in your phone when you find it. Vow to order it off of Amazon the second you get home and BRING IT WITH YOU next time, because now you're making the lady wait and two people walked in after you and you might be starting to sweat. So just grab that bright pink one because fuck it, you're flexible. You're not MARRIED to that perfect, tomato-y red. And it's JUNE! Pink is great for June. But is it too pink? It's too, like, happy, right? Maybe that mint color instead? That's a cool color. You're a cool person. Yeah, let's do the mint but NO, dude, mint is not RESPECTABLE it is FUN and you wanted a classy, tomato-y red and you can see the mint going terribly wrong between your arm tattoos and that Metallica shirt so just grab the one that's almost it but a little too red NO NO NO grab the one that's pretty close but a little too dark, because darker is better, right? Is that technically maroon? Just grab SOMETHING. Sit down.

Step 3. Spend the next 15 minutes attempting to relax; try to look casual when RELAXED becomes out of the question. Start frantically eyeballing the other nail stations and pedicure carts for the color (because WHY ISN'T IT ANYWHERE). Enjoy the massage portion not at all because you know once she tells you to get up and wash your hands you're going to have to head to the wall instead of back to your chair (or God forbid she doesn't request that you wash your hands, because then you're just going to have to tell her that you need to get up to swap colors, and you're just not mentally in a place to be able to do that). Regardless of your journey, you WILL end up staring, once again, at the polish wall, possibly standing close enough to it for it to appear strange to the other customers, and then it'll be no less than ninety seconds before you'll inevitably turn to her, eyes wild and scared, making literal W E I G H I N G movements with your hands, the left one holding that JUNE PINK and in your right, a strange, sandy, brown-tan color. This is the moment at which you should commit to overtipping.

Step 4. Even as you're handing her the bottle, fight or flight will tell you to maybe just ask her to buff them because that looks great, right? Maybe it's even better than polish. Briefly consider clear polish. Briefly consider white polish. Briefly consider black. Or navy. Navy! God, that navy Chanel polish really peaked during your formative years, huh? But it's JUNE and not NOVEMBER so the navy is a no and where the fuck is that elegant, tomato-y red because that was THE PLAN and it was such a simple plan? And the topcoat is on and now she's opening that sandy brown color? THAT was your choice? You might have blacked out.

Step 5. Your panic levels drop from eleven to none, as it becomes more apparent with each brushstroke that you did not, in fact, choose the sandy brown color. No, my friend, the sandy brown chose you. Visions of Southwestern ceramics studios will enter your mind and soothe it; almonds and chai tea and lazy, Laurel Canyon mud; the memory of that older woman with the long silver hair + bangs you saw on the Metro that one time who you thought for one second might be Joyce Maynard but was far too tan and wearing way too much turquoise jewelry for that to be the case. You will wait a full fifteen minutes for your nails to dry before leaving, and on your walk home you will find yourself smiling, tilting your hands to reflect the sunlight, squinting your eyes slightly so that each nail resembles a calm, copper penny, priceless in their combined effect. Respectable in vibe. You have conquered. Stand tall.


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Blogger Nest said...


10:33 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

How did you get in my head during my last visit to the nail salon???? Even with the retail DM (though mine was regional visual merchandiser, that woman is still my style icon)! However I made the unwise choice of the pink. Still searching for that tomato red...

12:27 PM  
Blogger Panda Head said...

you guys. SO glad i'm not alone in my insanity.

2:03 PM  
Blogger grace said...

Yep, that's me. And I always make the bad choice, too.

--The Girl with the Mango Nails

2:26 PM  
Blogger Panda Head said...


11:24 PM  
Anonymous lacey said...

OPI Cajun Shrimp FTW.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous lizanne said...

brb searching for perfect copper nail color

10:29 AM  

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