Manicure is the New Shower

I had my first manicure when I was twelve years old. It was the day before my Bat Mitzvah, and I went to the nail salon on a special outing with my mother. It was a big deal. I’m pretty sure that the next time I got a manicure was right after I got engaged so that when people asked to see my engagement ring, my nails would look extra nice — polished, manicured as it were.

I’ve been 19 years since I got engaged, and since then I’ve hit the nail salon prior to many special occasions — weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, big trips, big weekends, parties and the like. But I must admit that I am not a regular manicure person. I am not opposed to being one. I am just not one. I admire other people’s beautifully manicured hands as I catch a glimpse of their every day polish wondering what obscure name Essie assigned to their fingertips because clearly it’s not old school Ballet Slippers or Fiji. I’m also wondering how these admirable nails stay so perfectly polished. Mine chip.

I’m not a welder nor do I work in a coal mine, but I do vigorously type away at my laptop keyboard — a lot. I also bake my sort of famous chocolate chip cookies, wash dishes, pots and pans and get caught up in hands on messy art projects with my daughter as well as hands on messy home improvement projects which are almost always way above my pay grade.

That, plus the fact that I don’t have the patience to sit there while a stranger picks and cuts away at my cuticles and nails as I suspect she is talking about me to her co-workers a la Elaine Benes in Seinfeld, prevent me from becoming a regular manicure person. Regular manicures are for sure an added expense, but I can’t go there because I probably drink the cost of a couple manicures in a week with my out of control latte habit.

I’m well kept. I clean my nails. I cut them and file them too. I don’t walk around looking like I’m a witch or have a cocaine habit or anything like that, but then I see everyone’s manicured nails, and I feel so much less than. And I do mean everyone. It seems these days that everyone from little girls to teenage girls, to old lady girls have their nails perfectly manicured. Some have designs, fancy nail bling and some have their ring finger painted in a different color than the rest of their nails, which I’m sorry but I don’t get.

This brings me to my bigger question. And yes I know this is not life changing stuff. This is clearly first world problem stuff, or elite bubble stuff so please go ahead and make fun of me. I bet I can make fun of me more than you can. Okay — here’s the big non life-changing question.

When did the bar get raised? When did high maintenance become just maintenance? When did the baseline become perfectly manicured nails, perfectly coiffed hair and the perfect airbrushed makeup look? When did the manicure become the new shampoo? The new shower?

I’m also wondering what’s next? Botox bars? Tattoo eyeliner parlors? (I think that might already be a thing.) And also, can someone please tell me when this happens. Because here I am thinking I’m all that with my Moroccan oil in my hair and my new organic light pink lip-gloss on my lips. Thanks, friends. I appreciate it.