I found myself suddenly an owner of a nail salon. My mother had bought it a few years ago, and managed to build it up to quite a profitable business. She offered many amenities to her customers, hiring some of the best manicurists in this part of the country to work there. I came into the picture when Mom was killed in a traffic accident a few weeks ago. I took the news pretty hard, withdrawing into myself and secluding myself at home. I knew she had the business, but what would happen to it never crossed my mind. At the reading of the will I found out it belonged to me now, a most unlikely candidate to become an owner of a nail salon. A male owning and operating a nail salon, how ridiculous.
I was twenty five, and dabbled in a lot of things, but no one thing stood out. I somehow managed to keep a roof over my head, but for more than a few months it was touch and go. I was relatively masculine, although no broad shoulders or a prominent jaw line. I kept my hair shoulder length and in a ponytail when necessary, otherwise just loose and kind of messy. I knew Mom was upset at that part of my grooming, but she said little other that suggest a trim at her salon might make me look more attractive to the opposite sex. I was five inches under six foot tall and quite skinny. I did manage a couple years of college, but have done nothing with that education so far. As far as females go I was batting a big fat zero. No one interested me and even they did one look at me and they would wander away. Too messy and lacking any drive or interest in bettering themselves was the conclusion they all came to.
One of the lawyers involved in her estate wanted to take me to the salon, so that I could see what is involved and find out what I wanted to do with the business. Vivian picked me the next morning, driving me to the salon and introduced me to the manager that ran it for my Mother. It was early and there were no other people in the salon. We talked for awhile, discussing how profitable it was and what was involved in running the salon. The manager, Daisy ran the day to day affairs of the salon handling customers, complaints and managing the appointments, making sure she had enough help to take care of everybody. She also handled ordering supplies and making sure the salon looked clean and neat all the time.
Mom’s part in all of this was to act as a receptionist, talking with the customers, booking appointments and helping things run smoothly in the salon. I could see Mom doing this, she liked to talk to people often talking for hours about essentially nothing subject wise. She never told the customers she owned the salon, just interacting with them as friends. Daisy suggested I take that role too, the salon was known for being friendly, a great place to spend a few hours and get a fantastic set of nails or a change of polish at a fair price. I listened but never said anything in response to her suggestion. I was returned home later promising Vivian I would think it over and call her late tomorrow with what I wanted to do with the salon. I couldn’t see myself, a male, owning the salon, but the almost four thousand dollars a month clear profit was certainly a positive advantage to keeping the salon.
That night I managed some sleep but it was a restless sleep, often waking for a short time, then back to sleep. I know a few of my dreams were about the nail salon, even one with me sporting long polished nails in a bright pink polish. For some reason that one stuck in my memory, quite vivid and troubling to me. I kept busy around the apartment as soon as I dressed, stopping every once in a while to try and figure out what to do about Mom’s business. I was reluctant to sell it, since Mom loved it so dearly. Getting rid of her business seemed so wrong and disrespectful of her efforts for all those years.
I got a call from Daisy just before lunch wanting me to come in and spend a couple of hours watching what was going on and talking with a few of the customers and the employees. She asked twice, almost pleading with me, so I gave in telling her I would be there in an hour. I didn’t think it would help make up my mind, but Daisy seemed nice and caring, so I ventured forth. When I got to the salon it was busy nearly all of the manicure stations full with a couple of ladies checking in at reception. Daisy and one of the other manicurists were filling in since Mom was gone. Even that brief thought made me sad, she was gone now, never to come back. I wiped a tear from my eye and waited for Daisy to finish with the lady she was talking to.
The lady was escorted to one of the empty stations and quickly greeted by Heather who started in on her nails. Daisy tapped me on the shoulder, causing me to blush, since I had been watching intently what Heather was doing not seeing Daisy waiting for me. We walked back to the small office and she had me sit on the sofa provided. She sat right next to me, holding one of my hands in hers.
“I may be out of line in proposing this but I think you need to experience what your Mother did at the salon for a while, before you make a decision. She loved her job here, arriving early and leaving late. She did mention you often, her apparent love for you quite strong. Her frustration at your go nowhere lifestyle and your messy hair quite often talked about. Never in disgust just frustration. I would like to give you a set of nails, polish them and then one of our smocks over your clothing. Mingle with the customers, talk with them and if you feel you want to help learn a little about what she did here at the salon. Your voice is androgynous, neither male or extremely female. Then later in the day when things slow down we can talk about your experiences here today. So do you want to get your feet wet or just withdraw into your shell missing out on a lot of life’s delights?”
I nodded my head in the affirmative, squeaked out a barely audible yes then was whisked away to one of the manicure stations after she slipped a smock over my clothing. I looked down at my clothing, the male part now in doubt. Once seated at Daisy’s station she removed a brush from her purse and attacked my hair. A few strokes of the brush and a cute barrette added to my hairdo and the female me was now the image I saw in the mirror. She gathered her things then started working on my nails.
My fingers were immersed in bowls of liquid, according to Daisy to soften the cuticles so she could remove them. I watched her work, curious to what she was doing. After removing any excess cuticles she started filing my nails. Already my nails were looking quite different, but since I did nothing at home with regards to my nails, anything done to them would be an improvement. Once the filing was completed I had ten oval nails, each a little longer than the end of my fingers.
She picked out some extensions from her box of goodies, as she laid them next to the finger they would be glued on I swallowed hard. Each was a half inch inch longer than my natural nail, way longer than I thought I could handle. Daisy saw the look on my face, then explained it is hard to convince ladies to get long polished nails if the one doing the nails has short stubby fingernails to start with. By the time my mind had considered her argument she already had three of the extensions glued to my natural nails. Another swallow, trying to get what was stuck in my throat to move somewhere, either up or down. As she started on my other hand I closed my eyes, what I can’t see can not be happening.
I managed to ask her a question as she moved my hands under a purple light. I asked how long the nails stayed on, her response not what I wanted to hear. According to Daisy they bonded with my own nails, so to remove them I had to wait until my own nail grew out. That was usually four to five months. Another huge sigh on my part, that damn obstruction in my throat getting larger and still wedged securely in place. A few minutes later Daisy smiled and told me they could be removed before that time, but I would have to give her idea a full chance before she would consider removing them.
After the purple light she started with the polishes, a clear coat to seal the nail to keep any color from bleeding into the nail. Then three coats of polish, in my case a peach red color that had tiny bits of glitter in it to make the nail sparkle when dry. I felt each coat as she applied it, the wet cool polish gliding on easily. Each coat of polish received a purple light treatment to harden the polish. Then finally another clear polish, this one designed to seal the polish off, and add extra shine to the nails. All during her application of the polishes I was mesmerized by what she was doing, my eyes never wandering far from my gorgeous nails. Yes, to me they were gorgeous making my hand look so delicate and feminine.
I was taken to the back of the shop, then she asked me to remove my pants, the nails making undoing the zipper and button very difficult. As they slid down my legs she helped me step out of them then quickly took an electric shaver to the hair on my legs. Since I had very little to start with in short order I was hairless from my thighs to my feet. I was expecting something to replace the pants, but her large smile told me there would not be anything forthcoming. She added some lipstick to my lips and I was pushed out into the salon. I was taken around and introduced to each manicurist, then the customer they were working on. Daisy referred to me as Catherine, a daughter of my Mother Cathy. After all of the introductions I was left alone, wondering around the salon and straightening things up some. I stopped to talk to a couple of customers who were seated next to the purple lights, their hands under the lights baking the polish on, asking them if this was their first set and if they enjoyed the experience.
I noticed a couple of new customers come in and headed to reception. I had seen what Daisy did earlier, so tried to emulate what she did. Daisy finally came to my rescue, helping me check them in and find their manicurist. Right after that a couple of ladies were ready to check out so I learned the correct procedure for that. It turns out it was a Mother and her daughter, out for some afternoon shopping and getting a beauty treatment to make them feel better. I thought of my recent experience, I did feel better since I was given the nails. A feel good feeling that they were now pretty, and something to be proud of.
The afternoon passed quickly, with me talking to the customers and helping check in new customers and helping others to check out. Later in the afternoon during a lull in appointments one of the gals did my toes, the massage and rubbing in of the softening lotion on my feet turned my whole body to mush. Now I was torn whether to admire my fingernails or my feet, both options looking pretty and dainty. It was late in the day when I became aware of how short my smock was, my smooth legs and polished toes clearly obvious for all to see. Why it took me that long to be aware of the bare legs and the short smock I will never know. According to Daisy I managed to handle myself in a ladylike manner not showing anything that should not be seen through the day.
The salon closed at seven, as I was amazed at the number of hours I had been there and how fast the time seemed to pass. I had left my cell phone at home so a little after seven Vivian showed up at the salon, trying to see if I had made a decision. She smiled when she recognized me and gave me such a hug. I was complimented on my nails and my mode of dress for the day. I blushed since I was essentially wearing a form of dress and looking quite feminine. She set her briefcase down and opened it removing a letter from it. As she handed it to me she told me it was from my Mother hoping I might surprise her and do what I had done today. I received another huge hug and she left. Daisy left me alone in the small office so that I could read what Mom wrote. I could see Daisy off in the distance watching me, knowing full well she knew what was in the letter. As I opened it with shaking hands, and a tear running down my cheek I read her words to me.
I so hoped you would experience what my life at the salon was like, and with this letter in your hands you have apparently dipped your toes in the water. I saw in you a long time ago a side of you that you stubbornly resisted for all of these years. Let go of the past, enjoy what is left of life as it should be. The salon is a mix of people and desires and has always been so. Embrace everything for that is how you can learn and grow in life. If you will open up your life I am sure you will find a life partner at the salon, someone who you can love and will love you in return. One that appreciates you for who you are, not for what you could be.
There is more than just the salon for you in my inheritance. That information was withheld from you until it could be determined what you would do with the salon. Since you seemed to have embraced it in the proper way, Vivian will make you aware of the extra things that will be yours. Please lose the do nothing attitude of years past, and look forward to each and every day with hope and determination. Oh, one more thing please see that you go to my hair salon and do something with your hair. A sure way to make your mom happy with you. Love you always as I have for these many years.
I did make an appointment at her hair salon to get my messy hair cut and styled. Something for Mom from her loving daughter. When I got there her regular stylist recognized me from a picture Mom had shown her and gathered me up and took me to her station. I was never consulted as she washed and conditioned my hair then cut it into a feminine style. When she was done and the curlers had come out, I almost broke down in years, I looked at the image in the mirror, seeing a younger female that looked so much like my mother. I hugged the girl thanking her for her help and tipped her well. I walked out of the hair salon my head held high and proud to be a female.
Back at the nail salon I was hugged by everybody, all complimenting me on my new hair style. I even got called Cathy from a few of Mom’s older customers, I presume the resemblance quite striking with their less than perfect eyesight. I did not correct them just hugged them and continued my conversation with them.
My nails never were allowed to look less than perfect, the best advertisement for the salon. Changes of polish often, as the boss had to try the new colors to see if they looked as good on nails as they did in the bottle. My nails are now almost an inch past my fingertips, the extra length making my hands look even more delicate than normal. I have so got used to them, that without them I can’t do anything. Once every two months the old nails are removed, my natural nails allowed a day to recoup, then the extensions reapplied to my fingers. I feel so lost during that long day, the lack of my long elegant nails almost debilitating.
I did find my true love, she was right under my nose all the time. Daisy had to make the first overture, but I soon woke up and met her half way. We plan on getting married soon, loving each other and taking care of the salon our main goals in life. I really could not ask for anything more in life, a lover I can share life with and a nail salon that is so important to us, a gift from Mom to me her loving daughter.
Story Complete For Now
© 2016 thru 2021 Fran Cesca Walker