10 Things I HATE About The Nail Salon

1. People think it’s a social hour

I don’t know who decided that nail salons were going to be the female version of that barber shop on the block, but for some reason, many of them are. Set the scene: Old women are sitting next to you (or even sitting across the salon) trying to tell you about how their 35 year-old single sons need to meet a girl like you (gee lady, you think maybe the over-bearing mother part could have anything to do with why he can’t lock a lady down?). A couple of divas and their gay bestie are making a huge scene as they come in and have to say hello to EVERYONE, and two little brats are over in the corner with their dolls fighting over who gets to sit in the pink chair. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been getting manis and pedis since I was a little girl, and there is nothing wrong with taking a child who is well-behaved. If your daughter is going to sit politely and enjoy the luxury provided to her by the day-laborer before her like the rest of us, then I see no harm in a little pampering…if she’s going to be a brat, I want her OUT of what is supposed to be a “spa.” Also, if you allow your children to bring their toys out in public, you’re tacky – I can’t think of a single thing more classless, in fact. I wish I had time to go to an actual spa every week, but I’ve got social events to attend and sorority girls to entertain.

2. Bad Massages

Some nail salons do an amaaaaazing job with your hand and foot treatments. Others do not. Nothing is worse than watching the girl next to you get the works, while you are sitting there wondering if the girl at your feet is arthritic. Put some muscle into it, limp wrists. I feel like a bitch saying it, but honestly, that is what you are there for. Unless you’re me, you are perfectly capable of doing your own toenails, and even if you are me, you have someone living with you who could do it for you really quickly. Beware of the salon owner. They give the worst massages. The managers are highly inattentive, and don’t spend much time on the actual massage part because they are busy not giving a shit, and having no one to answer to. Plus, I think there is some Asian leader-of-the-pack attitude where they think they are above this menial labor. Unfortunately they have that other thing where they don’t want to pay another person for a job they think they can do themselves. Newsflash old-timer, you can’t do it yourself, so find me someone who can.

3. Chatty Manicurists

Maybe if I were actually from the south, I’d be more accustomed to feigning interest in conversations with people I don’t actually want to be talking to. You people call it “friendly,” I call it “an invasion of my right to be left the fuck alone.” Tomato, to-mah-to. Don’t get me wrong, a smile never hurt anyone, but I don’t really want to hear your whole life story in the check-out line of the grocery store, and when I said “how are you” it was just a formality; I don’t actually care. Above all the other random people who think they’ve earned speaking privilidges that day, I especially don’t want to maintain a conversation in broken English with my manicurist for an hour. I don’t understand you, it’s awkward for me to keep asking you to repeat yourself, and I am really not interested in your husband’s favorite kind of mu-shoo. Or something. Just let me enjoy my manicure in peace.

4. Talking in Korean/Vietnamese/Japanese/Chinese/Something-I-Can’t-Understand

I know this is a tired point, but I really hate when they speak in front of you so you don’t understand. Are they really talking about me? Probably not, I’m probably just incredibly self-important. Who knows, maybe they’re discussing how much harder it was to blow a white guy that one time because they’re used to…working with a little bit less…and they don’t want you to think they’re unprofessional. Either way, it’s just rude and it makes me paranoid. It’s like you when you spell something out in front of small children…of course you’re not trying to insult the child’s intelligence, but in a way…it’s like “haha, I outsmarted you and can discuss any subject matter I please and you’ll be none the wiser.” Maybe they really are just more comfortable talking in their native tongue, but I hate it anyway.

5. When They Try To Sell You Stuff

I get that this is a business like any other and they are trying to promote their products and services, (by the way, you should totally check out some of the super sweet merch at if you’re in a party tank-buying mood. Some of it is hilar. Just saying.) but your services are about making people more beautiful…implying they are currently not beautiful enough. I made the wretched mistake one time of going to the nail salon without my eyebrows done and was greeted with an “Ohhhhh, you need eyebrow. Messy. I do good job.” Thanks a lot, bitch, but you are not my eyebrow girl and now you’re not my nail girl. It’s seriously a pain to have to shave your legs (and arms if you do that), and have perfect eyebrows to prepare to see someone you’re definitely not interested in having sex with. Judgey bitches. That’s only okay when I do it.

6. Shellac is hard to match

I’d say the advent of shellac is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but as we all know, sliced bread is not only loaded with carbs, but also the reason for mundane and unoriginal sandwich jokes. Shellac is much better than that, clearly. It’s a way to maintain your manicure for weeks without a single chip and it dries 100% by the time you leave the salon. If you’re not using shellac in the salon, you’re an idiot. Regular polish is totes NS. But for some reason, they won’t put it on your toes. I really don’t get it. Unless you have like some serious case of fat foot, you should be able to fit your foot easily into those little UV contraptions. Maybe it makes them nervous to keep the electricity by the water but…they drain….the water. So, like WHY not. They never have the same exact polish colors as they have shellac colors. I feel all mismatchy and uncute if I’m not coordinated, and I just won’t stand for it. Except I will until they start putting it on your toes.

7. Separation Anxiety From Your Phone

As you’re getting your toes done, you can tweet, text, read TSM, whatever you want to do, but there’s that nagging thought in the back of your mind Don’t drop your phone in the water. Daddy isn’t interested in buying you another iPhone 5 especially if you have a princess excuse for needing it. “It was so heavy, in my state of relaxation I dropped it into the sudsy pedicure water. Lin-Lin fished it out for me but it was too late” isn’t going to help. You might be a risk-taker, anyway, I usually am…because in a mere 30 minutes you will stare at your phone buzzing away, as love-of-your-life Billy texts you, and you can’t respond, because your hands are being occupied by Xia-Han (Annie). Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s a problem with society, but this gives me an uncomfortable amount of anxiety, and I’m just like….GET ON WITH IT, I HAVE TO ATTEND TO MR. PERFECT. I ALSO NEED TO FIGURE OUT WHAT I’M WEARING TONIGHT, WHICH I SIMPLY CAN NOT DO WITHOUT CONSULTING FOURTEEN OF MY CLOSEST GIRLFRIENDS. PUH-LEASE.

8. It’s Not Always Perfect

If I am paying $100 plus tip (but secretly only $50 since I moved to Texas from the North East, which I can’t even wrap my beautiful head around) for a service that I can do by myself, I’m expecting perfection. All my nails should be the exact same length, not too round, perfect cuticles (WITHOUT making me wince in pain as you cut them), and nothing on my actual skin when I’m done. However, sometimes they fuck up. Or you know what, sometimes I do. If I bang my nail, don’t make me feel guilty for asking you to fix it. I am the one who has to walk around staring at my hands until two Sundays from now, and I don’t want to be staring at a chip. They make it like it’s some huge production if they have to fix a nail, or if you tell them you are displeased with the shape or something. This is your job, girlfriend! Do I love it when TFM trolls creep me on Facebook, talk shit, and pretend like they know me? No. But it’s part of my job, and repainting the occasional chipped nail is part of yours. Get over it, and don’t give me a hard time, and you’ll get your 20-25% at the end.

9. They’re Weird About Tipping

Speaking of that 20-25%, I need to mention that I’ve always commended those who work for tips. I mean, I wouldn’t marry someone who did…wouldn’t even date someone who did, but I have respect for people who do, nonetheless. I was 17 once. I was the cutest little waitress of all-time for a few months and was grossly underpaid as a camp counselor at another time. All because my parents wanted me to learn the value of a dollar (which is so stupid. I know the value of a dollar – it’s one dollar). Anyway, I think it’s a really great thing to work hard for your money (or marry someone who does), and I like to show my appreciation for the people working for me. And I mean, it’s so rare I get to tip because all my food and beverages are paid for by men, obviously. The people working in nail salons, unfortunately, are rude about it. They always ask you to tip them, or try to imply that you’re not paying them enough. Once I paid for my mani-pedi on a card and was about to go into my purse to get cash and the associate literally said “no tip?!” before I got a chance. I was absolutely bewildered. I wish I could make some sort of penis joke about giving them my tip, but I don’t have one of those, so I’ll just stick with “fuck off.”

10. It’s Awkward

I’m not the kind of girl to mind people doing things for her, nor am I the type of girl to mind that there is a social and economic hierarchy, but when someone is literally kneeling at my feet with a scrub brush, I can’t help but feel, if only for a brief moment, incredibly fucking weird about what is happening. It’s like serious domestic servitude and it makes me feel a little bit guilty. What can I say, I was practically philanthropy chair…except for that I never ran for philanthrophy chair and dreaded volunteer hours that didn’t involve with playing with children or crafting. To quote Charlotte Yorke (in a nail salon in fact) “you’re pretending we live in a classless society” *eyebrows at the nail people* “and we don’t.” Someone literally cleaning my feet and toenails just makes me painfully aware that I am more privileged than some, but in a weird twilight zoney way, where I feel like it’s a bad thing. Dislike.

Still, with all of these in effect, I still feel I’d really rather pay someone to do my nails for me than ever do them myself. Why? Because men have golf, and we have pedicures. I just decided I need to make the switch from a venti skinny caramel to champagne on salon days. Crises averted.


Email this to a friend

Veronica Ruckh

Veronica (@VeronicaRuckh) is the Director of Total Sorority Move for Grandex, Inc. After having spent her undergraduate years drinking $4 double LITs on a patio and drunk texting away potential suitors, she managed to graduate with an impressive GPA and an unimpressive engagement ring -- so unimpressive, in fact, some might say it's not there at all. Veronica has since been fulfilling her duties as "America's big," a title she gave to herself with the help of her giant ego. She has recently switched from vodka to wine on weekdays. Email her at

For More Photos and Videos

Latest podcasts

New Stories

Load More