Feeling feminine can be a difficult task when you live in the desert. There are certain clothing requirements, (which we will discuss later) the atmosphere has a tendency to dry out your skin and hair, not to mention all of the beauty/grooming products that you are accustomed to using may not be available. All of those things combined can leave a girl feeling “less than beautiful.”
For example: Ever since I can remember my nails have been paper thin and split really easily. This little reality often leaves me with throbbing fingers. So, for the past 12 years I’ve had acrylic overlays to keep them from doing that. For those of you who are not up to date on the latest salon trends, an acrylic overlay is simply having acrylic powder painted over your real fingernails. A layer of acrylic on top makes them almost unbreakable.
Now, in moving to the middle of the east I knew finding an acrylic nail salon would be a task so you can imagine my excitement when my language teacher said she knew the exact place we should go. I explained to her in detail what I needed and based on my limited Arabic and her limited English we seemed to be on the same page. I was ecstatic at the thought of a relaxing manicure and acrylic overlays after a couple of months without either.
After language class one evening my teacher and I hopped in a cab and headed to the “salon.” I was a bit confused when we showed up at what looked to be someone’s home. We walked inside and sure enough, it was someone’s home…with a salon inside.
You think I’m kidding?
The nail “technician” greeted us and my friend explained to her in Arabic what I wanted done. The “technician” sat me down in her salon chair, laid a bath towel in my lap and handed me a plastic Tupperware bowl of warm water for me to soak my hands in. Not exactly like a manicure in the states but, hey, we aren’t in the states any more and this girl never turns down a good massage.
She cleaned my hands really well and massaged them until I almost fell asleep in the chair. Things were going great until the technician brought me several different nail designs to choose from.
For those who do not get acrylic nails you just read that sentence and did not even think twice about it. For those of you who are acrylic nail connoisseurs, you just did a double take.
What??? Nail designs….something isn’t right!
In a moment of panic with Arabic words whizzing around me I looked at the designs and tried to make sense of what was happening. I soon realized this lady was about to super glue plastic fingernails to my hands. Nooooooooooooooo!
Not wanting to offend the nail technician and desperate to not hurt the feelings of my friend who was so gracious to help me I sat quietly as the nail tech carefully twisted the cap off the super glue.
I looked on helplessly as one after another the plastic finger nails were glued to my hands. By the time it was all over I looked like Edward Scissorhands. I did manage to talk the nail tech into cutting them down a tiny bit by telling her the safety of my children was at stake.
Fortunately, the super glue was pretty low quality so by the time I got home I was already down to three nails.