I have never been much of a nail person. In fact, I’m probably about the furthest thing from a nail person – I’ve always been a horrible nail biter. It’s a habit I want to quit, so that’s why “get a manicure” made it onto my 24 list. It was there to represent the fact that I’d stopped biting my nails, at least long enough for them to grow out to an acceptable manicure length. I also wanted to see what it would be like to have a manicure in Korea, the land of perfect nails.
Turns out, getting a manicure in Korea is not as simple as back home. Nail shops are regularly staffed with two or more ladies who tend to sit around on their phones when the shops are empty, as they often are. But if you walk in during one such time, as my friends and I did at a half dozen (empty) places one Sunday morning, they frown and say that you need an appointment. Or if only one of them is doing nails and the other two are just sitting around – still, you need an appointment. Many places seem to only take one customer at a time, one per hour regardless of their number of employees, so it’s really a wonder there are as many studios in business as there are. This is one of the things I don’t quite understand about Korea.
However! After learning my lesson, I dropped by a nail studio in the lobby of my old apartment building on my way to work the other afternoon and made an appointment for a few hours later. Happily, the girl at the place I chose was friendly and welcoming and when I went back I had no idea I’d be in for such a treat. I asked my good friend and fashionista Adrienne for nail colour advice (I believe I said “what nail trend is really hot right now?!”) and she gracefully acquiesced. For my $15, I got the whole shebang – cuticle care, a hand massage, nail colour, and then free star decals! I don’t love them, but my nail artist liked me and wanted to give them to me for free and who was I to say no!?
We actually had a lot of fun, despite the language barrier. She and I listened to some Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift on my phone (after I found out she liked them), and spoke some broken English to each other; she also gave me a plate of noodles to eat and started following me on Instagram. For a nail newbie, it was pretty much the best manicure ever.
And I’m very happy with the results! I love the colour, could do without the decals, and am really pleased that I managed to grow out my nails to the point where they look nice. I never thought I was capable of having nails that looked pretty – I thought they just didn’t grow properly. Luckily I was wrong, and I’m looking forward to treating myself to manicures in the future. I might just be a nail person after all!