*For my mom. I miss you.
I was hours away from the Junior Prom. The dress was laid out on the bed with both pairs of new black pantyhose. (One could snag when putting them on, so mom had purchased a back-up.) I decided that with my black dress, adorned with black plastic jewels along the neckline, and black hose, that red would be the perfect color for my nails. I went to a local salon for the arduous process of fake nail adhesion, sculpting and painting that was so popular in the early 90’s. The nail technician worked for hours to glue and shape those nails, and for what felt like hours she sanded away the surface of those newly applied fake nails along with layers of my own skin.
I sat in that chair and let the woman run the nail file over my fingers again and again. I winced and said “ow.” And she would move more gingerly for a few seconds, then start grinding away again. By the time she was done, I had ten shiny, long red nails and ten bloody fingertips to match. She used nail polish remover to stem the bleeding, all the while never showing any sign that what was going on was the slightest bit unusual. I paid (and tipped her!) for her work, and went home.
My mother was furious. She grabbed my hands and asked what happened. I shrugged and said I needed to get ready. I only had three more hours to get dressed—barely enough time to curl my hair and put makeup on! She was fuming. She called the salon to complain but that was not enough. We were going back. Continue reading