It was an awfully sweet moment. I was getting my nails done ten minutes after purchasing a couple of Essie nail colors at CVS. I had my hands in the soapy water when a woman came in and asked if anyone had time to do her nails. She sat down next to me and I heard her story. She’d traveled with her boyfriend from New York City to Sonoma for an extended weekend in the wine country. Just a day before he had pulled out a diamond ring and proposed to her. He had friends and family in the Sonoma area but before she showed off her ring to anybody, she wanted to have her nails looking their best. How sweet is that? Her fiance came to pick her up thirty minutes later and he had the ring in his pocket. She asked him to pull it out. She put it on her finger and came back to show us. I’m not sure what beamed more brightly–her diamond or her smile.
Before I turned forty, I had had a manicure only once in my life. It was on my wedding day. You might think I’d have paid more attention to my nails. I grew up with a mother who was always filing her nails and keeping them well-shaped. We’d be sitting in the car waiting for my dad and she’d pull out a nail file and with such focus, she’d file one direction and then another. It looked like she was transported to some other place, like it was a form of meditation. I remember her really great friend, Marion, who lived on the farm closest to ours in North Dakota. She always had her nails polished. It was a trademark of hers. They were bright red and nearly matched her dyed red hair.
While I admired my mother’s girlieness (her nickname growing up was Girlie and she’s still Girlie to lots of family and friends), I was a tomboy running around the pastures, following cow paths to see where they led, imagining faraway places like California where a couple of my aunts lived. I didn’t have an interest in polish. I probably had dirt under my nails from climbing trees and playing in the barn and didn’t even know it.
I can look back and see that I inherited my mother’s love of fashion but not her patience when it comes to nail care. I love the results of a good manicure but still struggle with making time for upkeep. I almost have to block it out in my calendar in order to get done. If I have free time I prefer to be out on paths climbing the hills around Sonoma.
But I do love how polished a manicure makes me feel. (I can’t avoid the pun.) It really does! It’s like manicured nails are an accessory that makes a whole outfit look better.
Do you get regular manicures? Do you have a favorite color? What is it?