Maggie Rants [and Raves]

I Love Prom

by Maggie Franklin | May 1, 2009

I mean, I didn't love my proms. They were abominable. Both of them. Junior and senior. Just horrid. I blame my dates on both accounts.


However, since being freed from the horrors of high school and going on to find out that real life doesn't totally suck, I have discovered that prom totally rocks. Or rather, doing nails for prom totally rocks.


I remember my first prom as a nail tech not only vividly, but fondly. I was a booth renter in a very small (150-square-foot) nail closet — er, salon — located upstairs in an office building on our town's main boulevard. There were three of us working in that tiny salon; pretty much, three is all you could fit. That was back before the walk-in shops came to town, so prom season meant every nail tech in town could be assured of having enough spending cash in her pocket on prom weekend to afford to get out of town and avoid the hoards of giddy teenagers — and our little salon was no exception.


A group of three friends booked their appointments with us that year on the Friday right before the big dance. I had only been doing nails for a few months, the owner had a year and a half on me, and our newest tech had only been in business for a few weeks. We all chatted and laughed and had a great time telling stories of our own proms and doing our best to make sure each girl walked out with nails that would make her prom experience fabulous. (Because, of course, it's all about your nails.)


Shortly after the girls were picked up by their parents and my coworkers had escaped for the night, I got a call from one of the girls. She was devastated. She was not happy with her nails. They had been done by the newest tech and upon getting in the car to compare with her friends, it was unanimously agreed by friends and parents that her nails were not worth the price she paid. I was very impressed with the fact that not only did she call to take care of the issue herself, instead of relying on her mom or dad, but she was also very fair about it. She wanted her nails redone, but she didn't want her money back from the tech who'd done them. She said she understood that it had taken time to do them and she didn't think it was fair for that tech to not get paid for her time. Wow.


So I agreed to come in early the next morning and redo them myself for her before she had to start worrying about hair appointments, pictures, and dinner reservations.


For one thing — OMG! — when I saw her nails I almost cried. They were, quite possibly even to this day, the worst set of nails I have ever seen. But we didn't have time to soak them off and start from scratch, so I did the best I could.


I will never forget her face when I put the topcoat over the last miniature tuxedo'd pinkie. She was ecstatic. Her mom was ecstatic. And that was the start of my addiction to prom.


I love working late the week before our local prom. (We have one prom each year that includes all five high schools and is open to juniors and seniors.) I love having gaggles of giggling teens crowding around my desk watching as I whip out set after set of stunning nails that perfectly coordinate with the dresses I always insist they bring with them and hang from the ceiling fans and polish racks around the salon. Love it. I love matching nails to those dresses and I love presenting each girl with her finished nails and watching her facial expressions as she is awed by her newly acquired works of wearable art. How thrilled they are to discover that their nails do not have to be just another set of white tips with a rhinestone and a stripe — that their nails will be absolutely unique and one-of-a-kind.


I love being able to be a part of making their prom everything they hope it will be.


It's prom week here. I'm a little sad that I don't have a lot of teenage clients this year, but I'm still getting my prom fix.


I've said it a million times, and once more, just for the record: I cannot imagine my colleagues who eschew those teenage clients. Send 'em to me! I'll rock their prom nails and they'll still be coming to me when it's time to book a nail appointment for their daughters' nails.

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