Tails from the Nail Salon



Today, I dropped $210 at the nail salon. I got a manicure, a pedicure and some waxing; nothing out of the ordinary. So why did I spend so much money? Well, it went something like this.

I have been going to the same nail salon for quite some time. The salon is located in the Marina, literally feet away from yachts and expensive sail boats. The clientele there is high-end, generally consisting of rich, bored housewives, or power women in business, sporting huge diamond rings, Prada bags, designer clothes and, well, you get the picture.

I usually deal with the same girls. There is Tammy, a sweet 25-year old girl, who’s twin sister, Michele, also works there, and Mary, a woman my age, but who looks as if she is in her 20s. These girls are always super nice, sweet and upbeat; and of course, they do an amazing job, to the point that most people think my nails are fake. But, I digress.

So today, a third girl, Amanda, did my pedicure. Being a super curious woman, I always strike up conversations with them. I know that Mary’s husband doesn’t work and that Mary is supporting him and her two kids on her nail salon salary. I know that Tammy is 25, gay, and recently got her heart broken by another girl, who decided she wanted to be with guys after all. But what I didn’t know were the things, these girls casually told me, after I asked a few questions. I could write a long article about that alone, but I am going to get to the gist of it.

It turns out that Tammy’s twin is married to a man who lives in Vietnam. She can’t bring him here, because it costs $18,000 per person to get into the States and she doesn’t make that. It also turns out that she has blood cancer and will have to return to Vietnam when things get bad, because she can’t afford being treated here. This girl is 25! Tammy told me that this is the reason her sister can’t work as fast as other girls, because sometimes she doesn’t feel too well and needs to take breaks.

So I gently probed a little more and asked if they are getting paid at the salon. In my foolish naivety I thought they’d make an hourly wage. It turns out that they make commission; namely 50%. The average manicure is $15. Tammy had made $35 today. When I arrived she had been there for 10 hours. Yes, these girls sometimes make $3 to $4 an hour! And you know what, there was no complaining, no whining, no sadness, she merely spoke matter-of-factly in her sweet voice. I just sat there and listened.

I then asked if she doesn’t make tips. And the girls told me that a lot of returning customers never bother to tip them. These rich, affluent, wealthy women cannot be bothered to leave a tip for a girl who just spent 2 hours doing a fancy nail job on them. This disgusted me deeply. Yes, I have met my fair share of people who do extremely well and who are the biggest misers you’d ever meet. But when you start putting it in relations to something like this, it just made my jaw drop. Yes, these women will walk out, thank them and tell them that they’ll see them next time.

I felt like getting up in the midst of the salon and screaming “you better tip these girls, because they don’t make any money and you have it!” I mean, I have spent more in a day then some of these girls make in a week. It made me feel ashamed. I get whiny over stupid things sometimes. There is stuff I just take for granted; and here are girls, catering to my every whim, while not being able to afford proper health care for cancer, and working 12 hour days for less money than I can spend at a dinner.

Oh, and Tammy told me that she cried last night, because she went out for dinner and realized that her money was gone. She had lost the wages for an entire day, which was $75. She thinks it was her younger brother who stole it, but she didn’t want to say anything, because she didn’t want to cause waves with her family and spoil the family dinner.

I had nothing to say after that, but just stared in awe. I walked out, gave each of them a $20 tip and I’m now contemplating starting a fund raiser for Tammy’s sister, for her cancer treatment. I think I’m going to keep my mouth shut for a while and not complain, because I just realized how good I have it. When I am rich, these are the places where I will just randomly drop my money. For the time being, they’ll get $20 tips from now on!
*hangs head in shame*

Walk the Walk or Shut Up


Yep, it’s that time again where I’m shaking my head, not sure if I should laugh, or grind my teeth. These days, I’m choosing to laugh, but oh boy… And of course, if you are easily offended, better turn around now!

Today, I had a conversation with two women about dating. We talked about online dating and I laughingly declared that I’d rather be single. I am basing my opinion on our lovely social media sites, where people are often observed on their best behavior. Their profiles read like wonderful resumes of, what often appears to be, smart, funny, successful, compassionate, loving and wonderful people, which some of them are not…AT ALL!

Look, I get it. It’s not fun to declare one’s true douchiness at times. But if you consistently state how you are out there trying to make the world better and how all we need is more kindness and understanding, while you are a self-absorbed, unkind, judgmental, cynical jerk who really doesn’t care too much about others, unless they are like you, then you maybe shouldn’t talk at all. Don’t tell me about the virtues of silence and close relationships, while you use and abuse others and pimp yourself out every day.

Why does it even get on my nerves? Maybe because I simply despise people who are dishonest and pretentious and sell the world on a farce. I am so passionate against liars that I devoted my life to it and became a fraud prevention professional! Yep, it runs deep with me. There is something about these people who are so big on appearances and yet all it takes is a tiny glimpse under the rug upon which they stand, to realize “wow, this foundation is built on quicksand.”

I remember my dad, who was regarded as a charming, funny, entertaining comedian. A guy who loved animals and would rescue a bird with a broken wing, while being a monster to his family. Since I was a child, I have tugged on people’s coat tails, whispering, or sometimes loudly stating “I know who you really are.” I have such strong emotions about hypocrites, because I know how much they hurt others who buy into their stories of greatness. There is nothing better like a sociopath to learn from when it comes to recognizing disingenuous compassion and fake kindness, motivated by selfish agendas and narcissism.

I so badly want the world to be a better place. I have visions of kind people who help each other out, honor the planet, help the sick, poor and less fortunate and go out of their way to love and be happy. I believe in utopia. I reserve the right to be radically loud, to vomit my, not always organized, but nevertheless raw and honest emotions into the world, while fully understanding that I might rub some people the wrong way or make them feel uncomfortable. I stand firmly in my childish, stubborn, lower-lip-pushed-forward warrior girl mode, who sometimes judges too harshly, can be overly dramatic, but would give her last dollar to a homeless person and loves completely, with the fierce loyalty of a stick of gum. I’m not perfect, greatly flawed, but I am real and what you see is what you get.

I want to be overwhelmed by awesomness, instead of feeling disgust when I read another article of a seemingly superior and well held together individual, who talks about the importance of love, after they just slashed the hell out of me or others, for being imperfect, or god forbid, having said the wrong thing.

I know, I know, I cannot change others. I know that my rants can be off-putting, but today, I simply must tip my hat to those who genuinely, honestly, whole-heartedly love, share and give. I am grateful for having quite a few such individuals on my Facebook friends’ list and understand that I can’t get discouraged, angered or disappointed by the fact that we do at times live in a rather cynical, self-absorbed and crazy world. I must hold my head slightly tilted, smile and make sure that I don’t become like them.

I only have the power to change myself – this has to remain my mantra…

Black and White – It’s a Killer (Whale)

EyeI have many flaws and shortcomings, but my judgmental, all-or-nothing nature is the single most destructive trait.

Yes, over the years being rigid, almost compulsive, has served me well in certain situations. The pragmatic, logical “Vulcan” approach has been both, a blessing and a curse. For example, at work my way of being works really well most of the time. Being super analytical and having a mind that can get stuck for hours on small details works well in fraud prevention, investigations and analysis.

Over the past few years, though, being unable to exist in the gray has hurt me more than helped me in my personal life. Yes, I can see another person’s point of view, but only when I am not emotionally involved – which I am a lot. My feelings are very complex and run deep on both ends of the spectrum. This makes it sometimes difficult to have constructive and “neutral” conversations with people I care about.

Black and white runs me. I will either let a person in completely, or not at all. I fly high, then drop super low. These behavioral patterns are hurtful to me and others and one of the worst parts about it is that I project them onto other people all the time. This makes it very hard for me to listen to criticism, even if it isn’t all that bad. Fighting devastates me and turns into an emotional identity crisis. Yet frequently, when I have fun, or am happy, I keep getting distracted, wondering when it will be over and waiting for the proverbial hammer to drop.

As I mentioned before, black and white is sometimes my savior, and even in this very predicament it works well for me. I either do, or I don’t and I am either done, or I am not done. I can happily report that I am done. I am done with talking too much and listening too little, because I am stuck in my past disappointments and trauma. I am done viewing people in black and whites, often misjudging them. I am done with being sad, angry, isolated, indecisive and scared. And when I am done, I have no other choice but to change it; and luckily, I can be quite happy when I choose to be so.

Starting today, I shall attempt to sail the waters of gray and stop talking too much; starting with this very post being less than 500 words. 🙂