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The color of miscommunication

August 3, 2011

Last week, when I got a mani/pedi, I was feeling adventurous and chose a dark purple color. After they put both coats on, it started to look more black than purple, but it was a really nice paint job. I kind of liked it.

Jonathan, on the other hand, thought I looked like a death rocker. I kept trying under different types of light to prove that it was in fact purple, but eventually I couldn’t even convince myself. My nails were black.

Yesterday, I decided to get rid of the color, and after taking the polish off my nails, I realized it was too much of a chore. The color wasn’t in any hurry to leave. Remembering where I live, I decided to let a professional do it.

Tanya and I went to a spa where you can get a pedicure for $3 and color for another $4. Since I’d already taken my nail polish off, I figured I’d just get my toes done. They took Tanya away to wash her feet, and while I was waiting, I changed my mind. I’d rather just get them to change the paint on my fingers and toes – them being freshly groomed and all. I told the lady in charge my decision.

When we went to the room, they didn’t ask me to choose a color. Instead, we were instructed to lie on tables where they put warm, scented covers on our eyes. It was relaxing, and Tanya and I started chatting. She just came back from Bali, and I had just returned from the States. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on except to occasionally think how thorough the lady was buffing and scrubbing. My fingers, even though they didn’t have any color on them, got the same amount of attention. Eventually, I could tell that Tanya was almost finished, and was a little concerned because I still didn’t have any color on my nails.

A few minutes later she sat me up and started rubbing my shoulders. As I looked at my bare nails, wondering what was going on, she said she was finished.


This is not the first time I’ve been confused in a spa.

My nails looked really nice though. Very clean and very shiny.



Before we paid our bill, we sat drinking hot tea, puzzling over what had just happened – or not happened. I didn’t want to complain because my nails looked great, but I had to know why they weren’t painted. When the lady in charge came over, I showed her my nails. When she nodded at them, agreeing with the nice job, I said, “I don’t understand why there isn’t any color.”

She said, “You ask for nail polishing.”

“Yes, I wanted nail polish.” *Hand motion for painting nails.*

“No, you say polish-ING.”

Hmmm…. My nails are polished. Polished like a cadet’s dress shoes. I can nearly see my fuzzy head in them.

I tried to explain that in America we call nail color “nail polish”, but then realized there wasn’t any point in arguing those over those three service-changing letters. I threw in the white flag of misunderstanding yet again. The lady in charge didn’t care, and I wasn’t going to ask the other lady to paint over her last hour’s work.

So, next time you’re in a spa, if you want color be sure to specify that you want nail color – not nail polish or polish-ING.

On the up side, my friend Kari, who does not like to put chemicals on her nails, is very excited that she can now get her nails looking so nice without a drop of polish.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Holby permalink
    August 3, 2011 00:50

    This story reminds me of a grooming tool my mother had when we were young. She may have gotten it from her mom. It was a 5 inch long flat oval with a T shaped handle sticking up at a right angle from the middle of it. The oval was cushioned with chamois stretched over it. The T went between your first and second fingers and the chamois oval was used to buff the nails on your opposite hand. It was the last stage in polish-ING your nails. Your story is funny! Keep telling them.

  2. August 3, 2011 01:01

    They look pretty impressive. I wonder how long it will last for?

  3. Frank Holby permalink
    August 3, 2011 15:36

    I think your nails look very nice just polished. Grandpa

    • August 3, 2011 23:31

      Thank you, Grandpa. I really like them, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.


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