Of all the things I wished I'd gotten into as a girl, learning how to do my nails is right up there with doing long division in my head. It just never took. When all my friends were into pouring over Sassy, Seventeen and YM to see what was the latest haps on fingertip fashion, I was still into biting off my nails in one perfect sliver, positioning it just so between my incisors and then flicking across a room. Actually, I'm still into that.
Whenever I try to paint my nails myself, it always ends up looking like I did the job with my left foot while defensively driving through a herd of Walkers. It must be a mixture of impatience, shaky hands and lack of respect for the process. I'll never be good at it.
This is, of course, where the professionals come in. But I've never been able to justify a $20-dollar a week habit that I know will almost immediately be ruined by my inability to not pick at things that shouldn't be picked at (see: mosquito bites, permanent marks). And this is where Walgreens comes in. Yes, Walgreens.
We just got a flagship Walgreens in DC. It's a sure sign of aging when you excitedly text your best friend, "They've got a juice bar! This shit is fancy!" upon entering a trumped-up convenience store for the first time. Besides delicious juices, all the Walgreens flagship stores have a Nail Bar where you can get your nails did in under 30 minutes for $12 bucks. There was no way I wasn't going.
"Um, do not get your nails done down at the Walgreens," warned a friend of mine whose way fancier than I am.
"Why not?" I asked.
"I don't know. Doesn't it just seem weird?"
Weird? Maybe. But no weirder than buying baked chicken at Target or sexy salad at a gas station. It's like those blind taste test commercials for Wal-Mart steak in which all the meat eaters are flabbergasted when the cameraman tells them they've been eating steak from -- gasp -- Wal-Mart. Come on, what did you expect Wal-Mart steak to taste like? It's Wal-Mart, not Sal's Back Alley Dumpster Store.
Now no one would ever accuse me of being a brand loyalist. Whether it's high end or bargain bin my money's on whatever's convenient and cute. So the idea of hitting up my local Walgreens, grabbing a green smoothie, a six-pack, maybe some toilet paper and getting my gnarly nails taken care of was right up my alley.
The Nail Bar was tucked away on the second floor, all white and clean looking. They had rows on rows on rows of Essie and OPI colors and I immediately gravitated toward the nudes, as I do. My nail tech (Is that the right word? That's what my grandma calls them. Maybe nail artist?) Latrice was the bubbliest and friendliest stranger I've met in a long time.
She assured me that my calculated choice of no color didn't make me "boring," and proceeded to chat away as she turned my monster nails into something befitting a woman my age and station.
The whole process took about 30 minutes (there's no fancy lubed-up hand massage) from start to dry and before I left, Latrice brushed on some last minute "nail food," aka cuticle oil.
"Now go out into the world gently," she giggles. It was the sweetest accidentally philosophical piece of advice I've ever received.
So yeah, Walgreens manicures are my steez from now until something more awesomely random and convenient takes their place. A tall order if there ever was one.
I want to know what other trap door services are out there. Walgreens manicures can't be the only best kept beauty secret since $6 dollar threading. Tell me everything.