Do What I Want You to Do, Not What I Tell You to Do!

Years ago, when my nail salon experience consisted of sitting on the other side of the table for an hour or so every other week, my nail tech often scolded me to stop “helping” her. I was one of those clients who would try to anticipate where she would need my hand and turn my fingers as I figured she wanted them, or, once she had repositioned my hand, I would attempt to lock in place and hold it there until she turned it again.


Since she was constantly laughing at me and imploring me to stop doing this, I finally asked what would be the best thing I could do. She told me to “relax.” Just let my hands go limp and let her do the work.


Well that just sounded crazy! How could that possibly help?


Nearly 20 years later I find myself sitting on Leanne’s side of the table, telling clients daily to “relax ... let your hands go limp and let me do the work.” And sometimes they do.


Sometimes this can lead to just one more example of “be careful what you wish for.” Some people relax to the point that their hands are dead weight. It amazes me how a 3-pound hand can suddenly weigh about 60 tons, until I realize that just because their hand is relaxed doesn’t mean squat, since they have managed to reposition the entire upper portion of their body onto the top of my table and proceeded to firmly lock their hands in place by resting their entire body weight on their elbows.


And why is it that people feel compelled to pull their elbows in, close to their bodies so that their hands refuse to rest in a position parallel to the desk top, as opposed to perpendicular to the desktop? I need those hands to lie flat, so that I can see the nails and access both sides. But people are always trying to rest their hands in a manner that leaves their pinkies resting against the table and then, of course, they complain when I miss polishing the very edge of the nail — because I couldn’t get to it, because you’re hiding it from me!


The other day during one of my regular wrestling matches with someone’s hands, it struck me that it would be so beneficial to me if they would just do what I want them to do with their hands, instead of what I tell them to do. After all, all I say is, “relax!” When what I really mean is: “Sit up straight. Stop slouching — it puts weight on your elbows and locks your hands down so I can’t move them around. Don’t lean back against the back of the chair; I need your hands right here, in the center of my desk, not hanging off the far edge of your side where I have to lean across my table and yank them toward me. No. You can’t sleep with your head down on my table, it shoves your hands way across the table and puts them in my lap! Let your elbows relax! Turn them outward to the edge of the armrest so that your hands naturally fall into the middle of the table — right where I told you I need them — and they will automatically lie flat against the tabletop so I can reach the nail from every angle. Yes, I know that means you can’t lean on your elbows, but I don’t want you do that anyway, besides, it’s not good for you ... I told you to stop putting your head down on my desk! HEY! Do you want your nails to rock or not?! Do you want your nails to represent my best work? Or do you just want them to look like crap? Cuz it’s all the same to me. I charge the same no matter how they come out. Stop your whining — you have to sit there for an hour, an hour and a half tops, I have to sit here all day and, dang it, my hands hurt!”


I just don’t get it. It seems so simple to just sit up straight, facing front, with your feet on the floor and your hands on the table without resting on your elbows. Well, at least it seems simple now, 20 years later, after I’ve spent 16 years telling people what Leanne used to tell me every other week.

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