Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cultural Experiences at the Nail Salon

So for girls like me, who like to get their nails done and don't want to spend an absurd amount of money to do so, we tend to go to the no-appointment needed, "we welcome walk-in" type nail salon. Typically, these are owned and operated by a lot of Asians. The store names are also pretty unoriginal: i.e. LA Nails, California Nails, Sun Nails, etc. Well this past week, I visited my very first, Asian-operated nail salon in Sioux Falls. After doing some brief research, I decided to go to Ann Nails (who's Ann? I wondered...) on the east side of town by Dunn Bros Coffee.

I walked in, and of course, there are five workers just waiting for the opportunity to touch my feet and hands. And as usual, I get stuck with the one Asian guy employee. Their super soft hands just creep me out. So I take my seat in the kinda nice massage chair and the pedicure process begins. Now the heels I had been wearing at work that day had left some damage on my big toe, yet the guy couldn't seem to avoid this area. I think he poured nail polish remover (aka pure acid) on the wound five times. I bit my tongue. After he mentioned that I have nice feet (thanks, guy?), he proceeded to massage my foot. Typically, this is my favorite part of the pedicure process. This dude, however, squeezed my foot so hard that he gave me a charlie horse. Of course, he didn't notice, even though my foot was stuck in some odd position and I couldn't move it. I wanted to kick him.

The rest of the pedicure was pretty uneventful. Except at one point he was basically punching my leg. Must be some new massage technique. Whatevs.

On to the manicure. So for those who don't know, I wear a sapphire ring on my right hand. It's nothing too incredibly special and it's not worth $5000. But this dude was FASCINATED by my ring. He nudge the neighboring Asian worker and said something like "She likes your ring." Ummm okay guy. Then they proceeded to converse about my ring in a language I clearly couldn't understand. The Asian woman than proceeded to stand up, walk over to me, pick up my hand and stare at my ring. It might not sound that bizarre to you, but trust me, it was awkward.

The manicure proceeded as normal...until Asian guy started singing along to Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"....except he definitely didn't know the lyrics. I should've started singing along. Dang. Opportunity = missed. And then...we all got Rick Rolled. Clearly this wasn't an experience I could enjoy with others, considering the cultural barriers surrounding me. But I did giggle to myself.

All in all, it was quite the experience. And no matter what Asian nail salon you visit, you will notice the following:
1. The owner/manager lady is always wearing crazy/uncomfortable looking shoes
2. The TV is either turned to TNT/TBS or the radio is tuned to the "lite hits" station
3. There is only ONE male worker.
4. You will never have a good conversation with your manicurist.

Anybody else have nail salon stories to share?

1 comment:

Abby Lange said...

I never know what my manicurists are saying... i employ the smile-and-nod technique more than 75% of the time. They do a great job though! Some kind of dominant Asian nail-painting gene, I think.