Just a Mani/Pedi, Please

There is a story I like to tell whenever the subject of manicures comes up. Yes, this is a topic that sometimes happens…what? Just because I wear jeans, t-shirts and Converse 99% of the time doesn’t mean I don’t like to get my primp on from time to time. Psh.

Anyway, here is the story:

nailsI was sitting by the front window at First Nails in Healdsburg with my fingers in the heater thing, having just received a manicure. My manicurist snuck up all ninja-like and unexpectedly began massaging my shoulders as my nails dried – simultaneously causing me pain and making me melt in gratitude. After a minute or two she gathered my long hair in her hands, moved it to one side, and very quietly and sweetly said “you have nice body, you know?” I blushed a little. “Just don’t get more fat.”


Luckily, I have a sense of humor. Also, regardless of the fact that I am not fat, I have been called fat by enough Asian women to know that it’s just their thing. But still.

Despite this surely well-intended but not-appreciated bit of advice (?), I still get my manicures at First Nails any chance I get. These days they are few and far between, much to the clucking annoyance and pitying looks of the women who eventually work on my neglected nails.

I can’t help it – I am drawn to this place. Something about the shy smile on one older manicurist as she cuts the cuticles of a woman talking loudly on her cell phone, or the bored detachment of another as she files down the fake nails of a teenager while they each gossip with a friend, in different languages.

Any time I get a pedicure, I am offered a hot stone massage for my legs for an additional fee, which I politely decline. They always give me the hot stone massage anyway. Best of all, every time I’m sitting there in that front window, watching passers-by and worrying about my posture, trapped by the drying machine and unable to read, text, or check my email, someone comes over and begins massaging my shoulders.

There is never any warning, no “would you like a massage?” There is only ‘oh, uh, someone is massaging me all of a sudden and, oh, OW, ah, ohhhhh…..yep, that’s good stuff.’

My nails look halfway decent when I leave, too – as evidenced in this blurry picture of me petting (aka lovingly mashing the face of) my shop cat, Macy.


She loves to be smooshed.

I’d take a better picture of the nails themselves, but I kind of have man hands, and manicures just accentuate that in photographs. Just take my word for it that they look great, and go get yourself a mani, a pedi, a hot stone massage, a surprise attack massage, and maybe even some self-esteem crushing advice about your weight, too.

Posted in CA

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