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As a veteran in the nail industry, I think I’ve seen and heard it all. In the last 32 years, I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told, “You should write a book.” Well, I’m not sure I could fill an entire book, but I am excited to share some of my crazier stories as well as a few from our NAILPRO readers.
Walk With the Animals
As a nail artist, I’m always asked to paint unusual things, but one time in particular really stands out. A client asked if she could bring in a live model for me to paint. I didn’t think twice; I simply said yes. Well, she brought a live model all right: A 300-pound, full-grown mountain lion on a dog leash! It was orphaned soon after birth, and she had raised him like a house pet. Needless to say, I’ve never painted so fast in my life! Speaking of animals, I was once asked to polish a ferret’s toes. Clearly, I said yes again--then promptly discarded the bottle of polish!
Nothing Like a Little Nudity
Modesty is sometimes forgotten in salons, and Tami Toft-Hobson, a nail tech and instructor from Manning, South Carolina, is no stranger to this. She recalls a time when an elderly woman came into the salon for an appointment, and was openly discussing her recent surgery. When asked for details by her stylist, she dropped her drawers in front of everyone, showing off her scar! The daughter had to help her exhibitionist mother get dressed again so that the tech could finish her job--once she stopped laughing, that is.
I once worked with a nail tech that kept before-and-after photos of her breast augmentation surgery at her station. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she wasn’t the least bit shy about lifting her shirt if you were interested in a first-hand peek of the finished product!
Kids These Days
I have been in salons where men come in dressed as women and women come dressed as men. However, that didn’t bother me nearly as much as the teenager who came in one day looking for a receptionist job … in her pajamas and slippers. Are you kidding me? I wonder what she would have worn if we’d actually hired her. A few days later, another young girl walked in while texting to inquire about the job--and she never put her phone down! Am I so old fashioned that I think it’s important to actually get dressed up and act professional when looking for a job?
I had a client come in and bring her five year old. He asked to use the restroom and decided to unroll about five rolls of toilet paper into the commode. THEN FLUSH! It’s funny now, but his mom and he weren’t laughing when they had to dig it out and mop our floor. I tried to get rid of that client for five years after that--she followed me everywhere!
Nails or Bust
Money for nails was always a priority to my college-aged clients. All they needed was money for nails and beer and they were happy. I had another client want her nails done so badly that she paid me in spare change. Yes, $30 worth of coins. But as long as she had beautiful nails she was happy!
It’s always interesting when you do several girls who are friends, until they start to feud. I had two gals who turned into archenemies, each telling drastically different stories of their falling out. The hardest part was making sure one was creeping out the back door while the other was walking in the front.
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
For a while I had a client who seemed to grow grouchier and mouthier during her two-hour nail appointments. It wasn’t until I’d been doing her nails for a couple of years that I realized the 2-liter tumbler she carried in with her was loaded with vodka! She’d even go out to the trunk of her car on occasion for refills.
Eyes Wide Open
Pedicure stories could fill a page but Stephanie Fuller of St. Petersburg, Florida, learned the hard way that talking while clipping nails should not be done at the same time. Someone’s toenail flipped right into her mouth.
Unbeknownst to LisaMarie Santos from Crestview, Florida, the owner of her salon added a small boutique area with several mannequins. When LisaMarie came to work one morning, she walked into the dark salon and thought there was an intruder. She yelled and drew her hands into fists to fight off the bad guy. It would have made a great You Tube video!
These are just some of the memories I have. I know all of you have great ones of your own. We’d love to hear them. If you care to share some, please leave them in the comments section of this post or email firstname.lastname@example.org. And who knows? NAILPRO might print your incredible tale!