My vacation began on Wednesday, so Tuesday before work I checked out of the motel and then had a few hours to kill before work (which is 6PM to 4AM). I decided to get a manicure.
Driving around aimlessly, in the general direction of work, I left Gallipolis and drove to Middleport. Saw a salon there (Nails - walk-ins welcome) and walked in, but they were not able to manicure me unless I was willing to return in "a couple of hours," as their manicurist had just left for lunch. They recommended another place nearby (to which I should have gone) and added, "then there's the guy across the bridge; he does nails there too ...mostly acrylic, but I think you can get a manicure there too."
So I went to "the guy across the bridge," which was a franchise of Pretty Nails, in a strip mall in front of the Wal~Mart in Mason, WV.
Instead of the "gay" guy I was expecting --okay, I was hoping to find a gay-run salon, which stereotypically I believe would be the highest quality-- instead it was an empty little salon, oriental guy lounging in a chair in front, "He'p you?" and when I said I'd like a manicure he yelled something in another language and a petite young oriental woman came out of the back room. She wanted to give me acrylic nails, but I said, "just a manicure, my own nails," and she sat me down.
Then everything happened too fast.
She put my hands in a bowl of warm water, the guy got up and walked to the front door, SHE snatched up a piece of paper and raced halfway to the door (as if she was chasing him), wadded up the paper and tossed it in a trashcan, all the while craning her neck to see where he'd gone. He came back in.
She snatched up clippers and chopped off my fingernails, almost to the quick (too fast for me to react - I sat there in shock), ran a file across them (missing most of the snags), he walked into the back room, she raced to the back of the salon, again looking to see where he'd gone, came back to see me picking at a snag on my thumbnail and said to me, "don't worry, I clean later!" ...which she didn't.
Got some lotion and rubbed my forearms with that (felt nice, but I didn't come here for a massage, I came to have my nails shaped). She trimmed the cuticles with scissors (I had no idea anyone still did that - aren't you supposed to just push them back?), gave a perfunctory swipe at a little dirt under what was left of my forefinger's nail, snatched up a buffing stone & ran it over the nails (which are still rough-edged, still dirty, and much much shorter than when I came in), then said, "you pay me now?" with a big smile.
Speechlessly I handed over $15, somehow still supposing this PROFESSIONAL was going to repair the damage done... she swiped on a layer of clear polish and I was done.
I had been growing my nails carefully for weeks. I carried an emery board. I applied nail hardener every night. They were --all but one-- long enough to see over the edge of my fingertips. I wish I had "before" pictures. Here are the "afters:"
What was she thinking?
Did she misunderstand what I wanted?
Was this done maliciously?
Was it a cry for help; is she being held against her will?
Why didn't I stop her? (I know the answer to this: I thought, "she's a professional; she knows what she's doing" AND it all happened too fast)
I do not recommend Pretty Nails in Mason, West Virginia!
I'm just so thankful it was my fingernails and not my hair!