Maggie Rants [and Raves]

Then What Did She Want to Hear?

by Maggie Franklin | June 22, 2010

On Fridays, the BF's family does "pizza and beer" at a local pizza joint. It's an open invite occasion for family and close friends and I think it's the BF's mom's way of bribing her kids into hanging out at least once a week. The BF also has an 11-year-old niece — and an 11-year-old girl is quite a handy thing to have on hand when you're looking for someone to pawn off all your old nail polishes on.

Of course, pawning off nail polishes on an 11-year-old girl means that said 11-year-old girl now has a tackle box containing more professional polishes than some nail salons have! Which, naturally, she totes to the pizza place every week so that I can paint her nails.

This last week we went to a different pizza place than usual, so after dinner we sat at the tables on the patio and I painted the 11-year-old niece's nails and the 2-year-old niece's nails, while several spectators looked on from a distance — trying not to look like they were watching.

Just as I was putting the top coat on the red, white, and blue design, two teenage girls who had been watching us approached and asked if I painted nails a lot. So I kinda chuckled and said that, yes, I do paint nails "a lot." One girl proudly held her hands out to show off the handpainted nail art that her friend — the other girl — had done for her. She nodded toward her friend who was standing next to her and proceeded to brag about how talented the other girl was, then insisted that the other girl show me her toenails, which were painted like ladybugs. Very cute.

So I asked the quiet artist how old she was. 15. I told her she's almost old enough to get her manicurist license here in California. Gave her a little pep talk about how it's totally worth giving up a summer vacation to go to nail school and that nails is a great job — and even if you don't want to do it forever, it makes a great job for working your way through college.

The girls stared at me blankly (Are you noticing a pattern here? I get stared at a lot.) and wandered off without any further comment.

I am so sad. I just feel like they were looking for a different response from me. But what? I complimented the nail art. I think I made an effort to convey that I was impressed with the girl's work. What else was I supposed to say?

Oh well. Maybe we'll see a new young talent coming out of the Central Valley in the next few years who attributes her career to some random lady who was painting a young girl's nails in front of the pizza place.


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