Friday, February 28, 2014

Day 292 - Getting a Manicure

I have never received a manicure. Quite honestly, I had absolutely no intentions of ever getting a manicure before I began my “I have never...” year. The idea of paying someone to beautify my fingernails simply had no appeal to me, and as far as I was concerned the manliest thing about the practice was the first three letters of the word. As a result, a manicure wasn’t something I ever anticipated I would experience, and, frankly, I was absolutely fine with that being the case.

Despite my perspective, getting a manicure and a pedicure was an experience several people insisted I tackle during the course of my “I have never...” year. Like many of the other experiences I had no interest in gaining before it, the recurrence of the idea ultimately caused me to add “getting a manicure” to my “I have never...” list of potential new experiences. Although I intended to keep the experience on reserve for a sort of back-up event should I find myself in need, Rachael recently made me aware of a manicure deal she encountered online. After a bit of persistence and persuasion on her part, I reluctantly committed to the experience several weeks ago. In turn, I found myself walking through the doors of Brio’s Hair Salon on the eastside of Madison after work this evening wondering what my first experience with a manicure would bring.

Here goes nothing...

With the salon door swinging closed behind me, I was relieved to see Rachael had decided to meet me for the experience. After greeting her briefly I turned to a small counter on my right and greeted a woman sitting behind it. She promptly introduced herself as Sarah as she typed a few things into her computer and stood up. Smiling, she welcomed me to the salon. “Well, I understand this is your first experience with a manicure.” I nodded my head in confirmation as she continued, “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of you. I have plenty of experience with this kind of thing.”

The salon


Her confidence was reassuring as we moved toward the center of the salon, which was surprisingly empty with the exception of our presence. “Take a seat,” Sarah said pointing to a small table resting before a rack of nail care supplies. Still a bit hesitant, I slowly sat down at the table opposite of Sarah and did my best to get comfortable. “OK, let’s see those hands!” Sarah said, doing her best to chase off my obvious uncertainty. In response, I lifted my hands and set them face down on the table. Sarah picked them up and gave them a quick glance before moving to prepare a few supplies. “They look pretty good,” she said looking up at me, “This should go really smooth... Now, put your right hand in there.”

Sarah set down a small bowl of water fizzing from the presence of white, marble-like objects resting at the bottom of the container. “In the water?” I asked somewhat put off by the apparent chemical reaction happening in the bowl. Sarah smiled at my question and did her best to quell my obvious confusion. “Yes, the small balls are more or less a cleaner and moisturizer. It helps prepare the hands.” In response, I slowly lifted my hand and placed it into the bowl, where it was immediately enveloped by the effervescence rolling over in the bowl. The feeling was strange and unique at first, but it became somewhat soothing as I familiarized myself with the sensation. All in all, it wasn’t a bad start to the experience.

Buff it!

After letting my hand soak for several minutes, Sarah lifted it from the water, dabbed it dry, and took a close look at my nails. “Yeah, we’re ready,” she said grabbing some more supplies from the table. Then, in a flurry of activity she applied a white cream to the base of each of my nails, rubbed it in, and began working on the surface of each nail with a series of tools. The speed with which she set to work made me wince at the prospect of forthcoming pain, but my fear passed almost immediately as her scraping and clipping action on my nails produced no ill effects. In fact, in a matter of moments she worked over my nails in a series of smooth, deliberate motions, leaving my nails as vibrant and lustrous as I have ever seen them. I didn’t know how I felt about it, but there was no denying they looked better than when I came in to the salon tonight.

The final touches
As Sarah touched up the nails on my right hand she asked me to begin soaking my left. As before, she removed my left hand from the solution and repeated the process she had completed on my right hand moments earlier. Once finished, she worked over my nails with a file and did some final touch up work before leaning back and looking at my hands together. She paused momentarily as she looked closely at some of the details of her work. While she did, I followed her eyes closely wondering what she was looking for on the surface of my hands, but before I could ask she popped her head up and said, “Alright! That’s a manicure!”


After declining on a coat of nail polish, I turned to Rachael and let her give my nails a once over. She nodded her head in approval at the work, which made me look closer at my nails in search of the differences the two of them were noticing. There was no denying my nails looked clean and uniform, but I didn’t necessarily understand the point of having such work completed on a pair on typical man hands like mine. It was an interesting experience, but I can’t say it is one that leaves me feeling I should revisit it in the future. I’m sure if I took better care of my nails to begin with it would be a much different story, but I don’t see that happening anytime in the near future. With that in mind, I can rest knowing I sat through a manicure once. I guess there's something to be gained in the experience, and if all that came from it was a good story, that still makes it worthwhile in my book. 

IHN Bonus: Makin' the news!

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