I’ve spent the majority of the year in tracksuit and windcheater covered in paint. I’ve also hit the last year of my thirties and have to not smile in photos to avoid the disappearance of eyes and the appearance of crows’ STOMP MARKS on my eye corners. I haven’t seen a hairdresser in a year and as for hair elsewhere, there’s every chance the RSPCA could step in on grounds of neglect.

I have noticed a steady increase in my use of makeup, I hate my clothes and I am getting snappy when my children intrude on my getting ready time. These are all positive “I feel like shit” indicators.

So with the promise of a few social occasions coming up I decided bugger it I’m getting some shit done. (No not botox, I still haven’t been brave enough to try that, not after feeling sort of morbidly fascinated by the shiny, mask-like faces of a few of my peers. These days parties seem to have a Frozen theme, and I’m not talking about kids’ birthdays).

Hair was first. Half of my boob length hair was so dead it could sit comfortably next to the Mummies at MONA. It had to go. With time at a premium this year, I called a brilliant girl from up the road and within half an hour she and her glamour kit were in my kitchen and before too long there was a pitiful pile of hair on the floor and me in the mirror thinking I looked pretty much like Heidi Klum but without the bone structure or the beauty. This is great, thinks I, what next?

I performed a face scrub followed by a youth-promise mask, which worked brilliantly because the next day I got a pimple.

Then I visited a beauty salon for some waxing, some eyebrow fixing and hell why not, eyelash extensions. I was – I thought – fast entering the world of the glamorous. I bought myself some high heels that weren’t from Target – my first EVER – and a matching patent nude bag (tho thophithticated).

Then I decided to damn well get my nails done BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT. By this stage the reinvention budget was looking a little stretched so I opted for one of those quick nail bars – “a full set of gel nails for $20 in 20 minutes”. Can’t go wrong.

I was bossed into a chair and had my hands taken and stroked at before anyone had even looked at my face. I could have had no head for all these small bossy women knew. I was asked what I wanted and said, “I don’t know, gel nails – a full set? Maybe? Not too long”.

“White tips?” Snapped small bossy woman. No thank you. “Colour?” No thank you, just natural. She looked at me like I was wasting her time (her own nails had palm trees painted on them) but got down to business.

Business was pretty rough actually. There were loud sanding machine things and a lot of loud bossy talk between the nail artists – all of it is another language with bursts of laughter which made me feel slightly paranoid and a bit left out frankly. I felt like a school girl – were they talking about my pimple? Laughing at my ridiculous eyelashes? The red patches around my eyebrows? I wanted to go home.

I tried to get into it though. There were plenty of other patrons looking at ease. Some of them had clearly been there numerous times and were being treated like one of the gang. I tried to join in, pictured myself joking around with these deft, confident women, maybe learning a bit of their language. I admired the small bossy woman’s ring and then realised it was actually my own, on my own finger, entangled with hers. I stopped trying to be cool.

Then the small bossy woman was replaced by a slighter larger bossy woman who got a file out and starting pummeling my nail beds like some sort of dirty sock. It hurt. It really hurt. Then she stuck things on that looked a lot like talons and clipped them down slightly.

“They’re a bit long”, I said. Larger bossy woman paused and for the first time looked at me.

“You should say to me before”, she snapped.

“I did say earlier, to -” I indicated the small bossy woman but my hand was pushed back into pummel position and I was ignored.

Out came the scary sanding machine again and my talons were reduced, getting very hot in the process. I was starting to wonder if this nail thing was such a good idea after all. Or legal. They were still too long but I feared having the hot sanding thingy shoved up my clacker and god knows that was already smarting from it’s own reduction-by-wax. I shut up.

Forty minutes and $35 later (whatever happened to the 20/20 thing?) I had new, squared off, long nails that looked like they belong in a bordello.

Four hours later and my fingertips are throbbing like someone’s dropped logs of wood on them. I’m expecting to wake tomorrow to purple nails. Just this typing is painful. I had to take panadol before getting the washing out of the machine. I can no longer remove contact lenses, do up buttons pick up egg shell, play guitar or pick my nose. All essentials of life really. God knows how I’ll go wiping my bottom.

Social engagement number one is coming soon and I haven’t yet had a chance to get used to my new shoes. I can sense a day of sore feet, falling over and fumbling finger food coming on.

Why can’t I just learn that vanity gets you nowhere? This is up there with the time I got a spray tan and took ‘pat dry with towel’ to mean ‘wipe dry with towel’, had to get a double spray to cover the smearing and finished up looking like a cross between an orangutan and Mr Tickle.

Oh well, if you were to look at my fingers and took my head off you could mistake me for Heidi Klum. But without the class.



Categories: Navelgazery

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5 replies

  1. Funny! Shellac nail polish next time. It’s nail polish that’s stays on till you soak the nails in remover and scrape off. No ‘club hands’ 🙂
    I go to a lovely small salon with a delightful owner in North Hobart.

  2. God you make me laugh. Thanks Meg.

  3. Love it Meg – thanks for the laugh – I REALLY needed it this morning ….. am currently sporting my own set of ‘gel’ nails and could so relate to your experience in the salon – click click clickety click – def overrated, although bit more grown up looking than my short bitten off real ones!!! Cat xxx

  4. LOVE it – you just made my day! xx

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