I was in Portland, ME and having a shitty time. My tyre had exploded outside the hotel the night before and I’d had to wait five hours for the repairman plus the hotel restaurant was closed so I couldn’t even get food or, who am I kidding, fall face first into the largest glass of wine available. I woke up the next day in a fouler to see a fouler outside the window, a real pea souper of a day which matched my mood. I stomped into town determined to get some souvenirs from the ‘other Portland’ for the boys and then whilst taking a picture of a sign that said ‘Poop Deck’ because I am a child I had my moment.
There I was like a fatter less well dressed Cher Horowitz from Clueless when she’s bimbling down Rodeo Drive having her existential crisis before it hits her like a Mack truck and she realises she wants to bone her Stepbrother.
OH MY GOD… I NEED A MANICURE!
My nails are fake, pointed, and normally red. I’m frequently told they’re sexy, asked how I don’t poke my own eyes out, and spend an inordinate amount of time lightly scratching people’s arms so they can see they’re not that bad. Aside from the time I was scratching my nose, sneezed, almost poked my own brain and bled for almost an hour of course.
I stumbled into the nearest beauty shop and paid a lady far too many dollar dollar bills y’all for a pretty shitty shellac job. She barely said two words to me and it didn’t give me the warm and fuzzies I normally get. It might have made my nails shiny but my mood was still matte.
Don’t get me wrong, my normal salon is not a tranquil haven of zen relaxation and it is not wall to wall soft furnishings and tinkly music. It is busy; it is noisy, and it is full of a microcosm of society. It’s decorated like your typical 80’s salon with jazzy pictures of nail art on the walls. It has a city skyline frosted onto the glass at the front of the shop with a neon sign advertising ‘NAILZ NAILZ NAILZ’ (I mean it doesn’t actually say that but a) I can’t remember what it does say and b) it gives you an idea of the tone of the place). I walk through the door and Vuet says ‘Hey! Where your friend??’ my friend being the colleague who came with me once compared to my visits every three weeks for the past god knows how many years.
The clientele is a funny bunch too – there’s the rah rah gap yaaaar lot talking about weekends in the country with Mummy and Daddy and discussing whether they should keep shagging Monty or move on to Jonty. Then there’s the nail art mafia who can name any shade of polish from 50 paces and have very exacting ideas about how they want them applied. They sit in silence watching the technician like a hawk and if their favourite tech isn’t available they’re not averse to sitting and waiting until they’re free. There are the ladies who lunch who pop in for a mani pedi before going to the golf club for sundowners and also the Croydon Facelifts who don’t seem to have any filters and also don’t care who can hear their conversations.
Which is why I ended up spending 90 minutes listening to them do a Top of the Pops style chart rundown of the custodial sentences of their various acquaintances and whether or not they thought they were ‘fair’. Apparently serving 8 years for armed robbery falls into the category ‘well unfair’.