Lesson #1: Why Not to Drink at Trade Shows (if you care about your career).

Happy 2017! With show season starting soon, this particular story came to mind.

My first (& last) foray into working for a corporation was back in the 90’s when I was hired by a major East Coast beauty supply distributor to work in their showroom. Each year they held a small trade show about an hour from corporate headquarters. Since I was low man on the totem pole that year, I had to stay behind to work the store over that weekend.

When the rest of my coworkers returned, they had all kinds of good stories to tell me, but 1 in particular stuck with me. I’m happy to say that I’m the type of person who learns from other peoples mistakes. Maybe by telling this story it will help some of you learn, too.

For those who aren’t in the beauty business, it’s customary for every show to hold a big party the night before the show floor opens for business. At this particular party one of the women who worked in the corporate office (can’t recall which division) had too much to drink. She began hanging all over 1 of the distributorships owners & was telling him how hot he was (very untrue) & how she wanted him (I’m sure she did at the time). to make matters even worse, the man’s wife (who also worked at the corporation) was present at this party, too.

It was evident that she was 3 sheets to the wind, so they called security to come escort (basically carry) the woman back to her hotel room. The hotel was connected to the ballroom where the party & the show were being held. The guards dumped her into her room & left her there, but later they found her crawling down the hallway trying to find her way back to the party!

All I can say is that it was a damn good thing for her that cell phones & social media hadn’t been invented yet. Nowadays, several people would’ve snapped a photo of her drunkenly crawling down the hallway, then hash tagged it “#hotdrunkenmess” & people across the world would’ve known about it before the party even ended. It probably would’ve been made into a scandalous meme & gone viral, too.

Believe me, it was THE talk of the whole corporation because you know how word spreads when people make fools of themselves in public. A few weeks later we heard that woman’s name being called over the loudspeaker to report to the owner’s office. All of us in the showroom looked at each other & went “Uh-oh”! She was only with the company a few more weeks after that. We figured that she was told to find a new job & they graciously allowed her to leave quietly with whatever dignity she still had intact. We never heard or saw her again.

Since then I’ve been to several show parties & have only encountered 1 educator that was way too tipsy. When you’re slurring your words, you are WAY too tipsy. I made a mental note to avoid this man in the future because he obviously does not use good judgement.

The moral of the story: never drink alcohol at a business function, even if it’s free. The price of your reputation being ruined is just way too high.

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“The Egg Rolls”

     Judy was a client of mine who as best I can describe was a stocky, weathered, no-nonsense country grandma. She was as nice as can be, but unless she was smiling she always seemed to have a perpetual “I’ll beat you down if you look at me sideways” scowl on her face. Plus she had gotten to that age when some women just don’t give a flip anymore. They’ve put up with enough B.S. over the years & they just say whatever is on their minds (regardless of the Southern manners their Momma’s taught them), if you know what I mean?

     As I was doing her nails one day, she recounted this story to me about how she loved this certain brand of egg rolls, but her local grocery store had stopped carrying them. She hunted around town until she found another store that carried them & as luck would have it, she also found some coupons for the egg rolls in the local paper, too.

     So one day on her lunch break she drove over to the poorer section of town where this other store was located, just to get her favorite egg rolls. As she’s standing in this very long line, she notices that there’s only 1 register open. As the line slowly moves along, she can hear the young clerk apologizing to the customers while ringing up their products. Apparently the other employees were all on their lunch breaks, leaving her as the sole line open.

     Judy said that the line grew even longer behind her & she could hear people sighing with frustration. One white dude was talking on his cell phone, a Mexican man was just standing in line looking around, some other random white woman was behind the Mexican man, while 2 black girls at the back of the line were talking loudly about how this was bullshit, why was this taking so long & how the store needed to open up another register, etc. etc.

    Finally it was Judy’s turn & the young clerk apologized for the delay as she hurriedly rang up all of Judy’s many egg roll boxes. The poor girl was sweating & moving as fast as she could because she knew the people in line were getting annoyed. When Judy was told her final grocery bill, that’s when she realized she had forgotten to give her the coupons!

     So Judy apologized & quickly was digging the coupons out of her purse as the clerk was probing buttons on the register to re-ring her order, when one of the black chicks from the back of the line said VERY loudly “Oh, sure…. NOW miss WHITE ass is using COUPONS”!

    Judy looked up at the clerk & said “No she just did not just say that, did she?” & the clerk darted her eyes away as she rang up the coupons. Everybody in line got quiet, as if all the air was sucked out of the room. Judy turned around to face the people in line, looked straight at the 2 girls at the back of the line & said equally loudly “Oh sure….and MISS black ass is probably using FOOD STAMPS!”

     Someone let out a gasp & the one black girl turned to her friend & busted out laughing saying “Giiirrrllll…YOU got TOLD!” And with that nobody said another word as Judy paid for her egg rolls & left the store.

get over it

“To feed or not to feed?”

My client Melanie had been with me for about 2 years & had recently given birth to her 2nd baby. Melanie was fanatical about keeping her nail appointments & would bring her newborn with her, which then always made me run late because inevitably the baby would need tending to.

On this particular day while I was doing her manicure, the baby started to get fussy & needed to be fed. I was still trying to build my clientele & needed every warm body in my chair, therefore I tried to accommodate her when she wanted to breast feed the baby in the middle of her nail service. Yes, you read it right…IN THE MIDDLE OF HER MANICURE!

We draped the lightweight baby’s blanket over the head of the feeding baby & positioned it over Melanie’s shoulder so that nothing improper was showing. She cradled the baby with one hand while I tried to work one her other hand. Can you imagine how difficult it was to keep her from smearing her wet nail polish as she balanced the baby that was attached to her boob AND tried to keep the blanket in place? This was the first, last & only time we ever attempted this.

It was at that precise moment the UPS man came to deliver a package & at the same time another employee must’ve had the back door open to take out the trash. As the UPS man pulled open the salon’s front door, it created a vacuum suction effect, which caused interior doors to suddenly slam shut. At the same time a huge gust of wind blew forth from the open front door, snatching the baby blanket completely off Melanie & blowing it up into the air!

The blanket landed about 3 feet across the room, leaving Melanie’s naked breast fully exposed, complete with the attached baby who proceeded to happily keep on feeding. The UPS man was MOR-TI-FIED, along with the receptionist, me & Melanie herself!

I jumped up from the nail table, grabbed the blanket from off the floor & positioned it to cover the baby’s head/Melanie’s boob again. She took this opportunity to stop feeding & got herself together so that I could finish the manicure. The UPS man left the package with the receptionist & promptly fled the building. Melanie couldn’t leave fast enough either.

After they’d all cleared out, the receptionist & I tried so hard not to crack up, but after closing time we laughed hysterically. For about a week, every time we made eye contact we’d bust out laughing!

The moral of the story: I support your right to breast feed in public as long as it’s not done at my nail table!

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“The Acrylic Nail Biter”

Daria was a good client of mine when I lived in Chicago & for years I’d see her weekly for her acrylic nails. For those of you who aren’t aware, typically you only see the client once every 2-3 weeks when they have acrylic nails. Somehow Daria would manage to bite off the top layer of acrylic, but her own nails underneath were still in great shape. They were long & strong, but she still insisted that I coat them with acrylic, which meant I’d see her for an hour appointment each week.

Secretly I was frustrated with her! She was a thirty-something year old, beautiful, professional woman of Greek heritage. Both of her parents came over from Greece & they wanted her to date only Greek men. This was long before the movie “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” ever was conceived. I kept thinking to myself “how could she ruin all my fabulous work by biting off her acrylic”? Yet each week I kept those thoughts to myself, thankfully never showing her how frustrated I was.

    

One night we were the last two people in the nail salon & as I was working on her nails, she slowly revealed to me the reason why she was such a nervous wreck that she continued to bite off her acrylic nails. A few years back she’d gone out dancing with some girlfriends when she became overheated. Needing fresh air, she went outside the club & suddenly she was grabbed by a man who pulled her into an alley. He made her take off her boots & jeans, then he raped her up against the brick wall.

Afterwards when she called the police, the officer questioned her as to why she was wearing her pants inside out. Talk about needing sensitivity training. She was in shock, horrified by what she’d just experienced & then he asked her something so stupid. Duh, the alley was dark when she threw on her jeans as she quickly tried to get away! She suffered all kinds of humiliating questions from the detectives over the course of the investigation, not to mention having to submit to the invasive exam to gather evidence of the rape.

She’d lived with this experience for years, only telling her parents that she’d been mugged. In their traditional Greek culture, the women are expected to marry as virgins (at least all the elderly Greeks believe in that). She didn’t ever want her parents to know what had really happened to her that night. The police caught her attacker, who happened to be black, which explained her extreme dislike for black people. Who knows, I might’ve felt the same way if that had happened to me, so I tried not to judge her racism.

Anyway, the case was going to trial soon & she’d have to take the stand in front of a room full of people, describing in great detail what her rapist had done to her. Her parents, still thinking that she’d been mugged, wanted to be in court to support her. She was franticly trying to figure out how to NOT let that happen. What do you say when someone tells you something like that? Words just aren’t enough.

  

Unfortunately, I moved away & I never found out how her story ended. That experience taught me a valuable lesson…… don’t assume you know what motivates clients to bite their nails. Your perception of reality is only based on the information your clients willingly give to you, so you may never know the real reason on why they do the things they do. I really liked Daria & wonder from time to time how things turned out. I hope she’s had a better, happier life since then because she deserved it, but more importantly, I hope she’s found peace.

when you can't forgive someone

“The Trail of Bread Crumbs”

One night I was pedicuring a client when it came time to put her flip flops on. She apologized for using old flip flops that she’d dug out of the depths of her closet & said I should please excuse their look. No problem. I’d seen worse. We finished up, removed the toe separators & I was preparing to walk her out to her car since it was after dark.

As she started walking across the tile salon floor, there came a squeaky sort of noise that continued with each step. It sounded like she was sticking to the floor or something & we both commented that the floor must’ve just been waxed. I was walking ahead of her to unlock the front door & as I held the door open for her to pass by, I noticed some bread crumbs on the floor behind her.

Nothing too out of the ordinary for the reception area, since clients were always snacking on something while waiting for their appointments. Then I noticed that my client was having difficulty walking across the parking lot. It looked as though her flip flops were sticking to the sidewalk & she was struggling to lift each leg up, as if her legs were too heavy. It sort of looked like she was walking on the moon in slow motion & I thought “WTH?”!

I noticed with each step, the trail of bread crumbs behind her got longer & pieces were appearing everywhere around her! As she got next to her vehicle, she leaned onto it for support. It was dark outside, so all I could really see was her standing in a large mess of white bread crumbs. Crumbs were scattered all over the ground. Big pieces, little pieces……it was a huge mess! I noticed the heel (the crusty end piece) of the bread was lying next to her foot & my 1st thought was “What the heck was someone doing with a loaf of bread in the parking lot?”

Then I heard my client ask for help! I came over to where she was leaning against the vehicle & that’s when it became evident that these were not bread crumbs. These white crumbly things were the remnants of her old flip flops! With every step she took they disintegrated further into pieces!

By now all that pretty much remained of the flip flops was the rubber strap part that went across her foot & between the toes, plus a very thin layer of sole. What I thought was the heel of a loaf of bread was actually the instep to one of the flip flops! We were both shocked & amazed, to say the least. My client opened her car door & sat on the seat with her legs hanging out of the car so that I could gently slip the remains of her flip flops off her feet without messing up her freshly polished toes. It was crazy!

Needless to say, she had to drive home barefoot (so much for keeping her feet soft & smooth). We both had such a big laugh over it tho! After several days of contemplating, I finally figured out what had happened. The flip flops were old & dry rotted. When she placed her foot onto my knee so that I could polish her toes, the sole of the flip flop bent backwards & that just did them in. It would be kind of like bending the binding of a book backwards (say that 5 times fast), so the hard, old foam/rubber just broke apart.

She actually made it home without messing up her polish, which was another amazing thing unto itself. She was a good sport & we joked for months about her “Heels of Time”!  So far this was the ONLY instance when a clients foot wear disintegrated before my very eyes!

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An Apple a Day Does Not Keep the Doctor Away!

While I was working on my nurse anesthetist client’s nails one day, I happened to ask her if she’d had any unusual cases lately. She replied “Well, there was one”. Then she told me about the time a prominant business man in our community (she did NOT name names & I didn’t ask, but I’d have LOVED to known who he was) came into the hospital with an apple up his butt!

Of course, at this point I am cracking up & asking all kinds of questions, like “What kind of apple was it?”, “How big of an apple was it?” & the #1 question everyone reading this is asking themselves………..”How on earth did it get up there?”. I can’t recall if it was a Red Delicious apple or what, but I do remember that she said he gave no excuse as to how it got in there, but it was your average sized apple. She said most people make up some kind of lame excuse to explain away the fact that this is bizarre behavior, but this particular man offered up no explanation.

They immediately had to do a procedure called an “extraction”, which probably is as unpleasant as it sounds. The man was given some sort of anesthesia or sedative & then just like a woman having a gynecology exam, his feet were placed in stirrups as he laid flat on his back on the O.R. table. The doctor then used various tools to widen the anus & removed the apple.

As I’ve learned from my client, this is not a totally uncommon occurrence. Evidently there’s a segment of the population that enjoys putting foreign objects into their rectums. Personally, I cannot imagine why. But that episode of “Jackass the Movie” comes to mind…….the one where Ryan Dunn puts a Hot Wheels car in a condom & inserts it into his own butt, then films the reaction of the clinic staff when the toy car shows up on his x-rays!

Anyway, after the procedure was finished the man left the hospital (without the apple, I believe). She said for days after that  incident, some of the hospital professionals with wry senses of humor began leaving apples on coworkers stations when their backs were turned. Talk about a gag gift (pun intended)! It’s still one of the most hilarious stories I’ve ever heard at the nail table. To this day I cannot fathom:

1) how exactly this man got the apple up there?

2) why an apple was chosen over other fruits (such as a banana, which would seem to insert easier due to it’s phallic shape, for instance)?

3) what the man thought the outcome would be?

All I can figure is that maybe he was into humiliation, otherwise why else didn’t he drive to a different town where nobody knew him so he could avoid the public embarrassment? On second thought, maybe he couldn’t sit in his car for a longer drive with that apple up his butt!

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The Recovering Alcoholic & the Nail Competition

“The Recovering Alcoholic & the Nail Competition”

 

Candy was a good hearted ‘biker chick’ kind of a woman, in her thirties, with a good figure & a short blonde bob when I first started doing her nails. She was the type of person that people, especially men, would take advantage of because she had the need to please everybody & a heart of gold. Alcoholism was unfamiliar to me at that time & I’d never actually thought much about it before then. One night Candy came in to get her nails done & by the way she was slurring her words, it soon was evident that she had been drinking.

 

 

After her nails were finished, she stumbled around the salon looking at polish & other boutique items. By the look in my eyes the 2 owners could tell that I didn’t know how to handle the situation, so they both stepped in & directed her out the door. It was done in a friendly, but forceful, manner & since she wasn’t a mean drunk she happily went out into the night. A short while later I discovered that a bottle of polish was missing from the display case & we all knew where it went. The owners said they’d handle it & that was that.

 

About 2 weeks later when Candy came in (thankfully sober) the owners took her aside after her nails were done & told her what had transpired on her last visit. She was embarrassed & was more than willing to make restitution, so all was good. Many months went by & I didn’t think any more about it. Whenever Candy came in we always talked, laughed & had a good time at her appointments. Then I decided to enter into a nail art competition at the Midwest Beauty Show (now called America’s Beauty Show aka ABS), which would require much practice & the need for a hand model. Candy had great nails so I asked her if she’d like to be my model for that day & she was more than happy to do it.

 

On the day of the competition I picked Candy up in front of the salon & we drove out to where the show was held. It’s a pretty big show, with thousands of licensed beauty attendees & professional hair, skin & nail companies holding classes & demos going on at the hundreds of booths. Every beauty professional who’s worth anything goes to this show at least once in their career. It’s a place to see & be seen, plus make new business contacts, so you want to be at your best.

 

The competition went forward & it took several hours to complete. Models have to sit patiently & quietly while competitors work on their nails….which means, no eating, drinking or smoking, too. This category I’d entered was for flat nail art, which meant I had to paint tiny little scenes with acrylic paint on each of Candy’s 10 fingernails. Our models could only leave when the judges were totalling up the scorecards, so at that point Candy went out into the lobby to have a smoke (yes, they allowed smoking in the lobbies back in early 90’s) while I remained inside the competition room.

 

It took another half hour or so to finish all the judging & I didn’t win or place, which was disappointing. When I walked out into the lobby, the first thing I saw was Candy sitting on the edge of a big easy chair with her feet propped up on the coffee table. Since she was wearing a black leather mini skirt, sitting in this position made it possible for EVERYONE in the room to see her white panties! There was a grouping of 3 other easy chairs surrounding this glass coffee table, the kind of arrangement you’d see in a hotel lobby, & I was MORTIFIED to see all the surrounding chairs were taken by other beauty professionals……all of whom were seemingly enthralled by the scene that was unfolding!

 

Some stylists were even sitting on the arms of the chairs while Candy held court with a cigarette in one hand & a cocktail in the other. Unbeknownst to me, there was a cash bar at the end of the lobby & Candy had been drinking the entire time I was inside for the judging process! Inside my mind was screaming “OH, NOOOO!” as I rushed up to Candy to try to hustle her out of the building, fearful of what she’d already said to my peers.

 

The story she was telling was every bit as trashy as I’d feared. I walked in on the part where she was telling everyone how some guy she knew pulled a gun on her & she was waving her hand around as if she were holding a gun & pointing it at people, while ashes were spilling onto the carpeted floor from her lit cigarette. I can’t recall the rest of the story because my mind blanked out, but she insisted on telling it even though I tried repeatedly to get her to leave. I just wanted the floor to open up & swallow me at that point; I could’ve just died!

 

I still remember the look on the other professionals faces though. One guy looked away, as if to find a quick exit. Some of the other women had looks of “you poor creature” or “thank God I’m not you” on their faces. One girl’s expression was akin to the look you’d have if you just stepped in dog poo while wearing your best shoes. I felt like crawling out of there; I was so beyond embarrassed.

 

I finally managed to get Candy out of the building & back to the car, but then on the drive home she began freaking out about how her boyfriend was going to be mad at her for falling off the wagon. She would not let me drop her off at her car until she had some coffee, so we drove through a fast food place & she slowly started to sober up. Very slowly.  Too slowly for me. We got back to the salon, but she still insisted I drive her around until she was completely sober, so around & around the block we drove for the better part of an hour.

 

Finally I got her out of my car & sped off, not looking back. At the time I was so upset I really didn’t care if her boyfriend beat her butt because that’s what I felt like doing to her myself! I could not get away from her fast enough. The more I thought about it, the more pissed off I was. All I could say at the time was thank heavens none of those beauty professionals knew me! After that incident, I didn’t see her for a long time, which was fine by me. The sooner I forgot the whole sordid mess, the better.

 

Several months passed & Candy finally showed up to get her nails done. I acted as if nothing happened, but knew I’d never go out in public with her again. She had gotten back into AA, gotten rid of her abusive boyfriend & seemed to be doing better. She was trying to keep away from all of her bad influence friends & that was hard on her. Finally she met a decent man who was also in AA recovery & they started seeing each other. She said he treated her really nice & I was genuinely happy for her. We took up doing her nails just like old times where we laughed & had fun conversations.

 

Months later Candy & her boyfriend got into an argument & they didn’t speak for a few days. She was determined that he would make the first phone call to apologize. After about 4 days she got word that the police found him dead in his apartment. He’d died of a massive heart attack on Mother’s Day & laid there until his work reported him missing. Candy was emotionally devastated & fell off the wagon. Some people it seems just never catch a break.

 

A short while later I moved out of state & never saw her again. I think about Candy from time to time, especially around Mother’s Day & I hope that she’s okay. It’s like an ongoing mystery, which could either have a good ending or a bad ending. I prefer not to know for certain, but I like to think in positive terms.

 

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“The Vanishing Stylist”

 

Mina was our newest stylist & we instantly liked her. She was very young, cute, fresh out of beauty school, & full of life. As it turned out, her life was exceedingly different from anything we were ever exposed to. Within a few months of working with us, most of the stylists at the salon decided to go to the Bronner Brothers show (a large mainly African-American beauty show) in Atlanta.

Much planning went into arranging hotel accommodations, transportation, pick up times, packing & most importantly budgeting how much each person owed to cover the hotel/transportation costs. Looking back on it now, I feel blessed that two of us (myself & another stylist) couldn’t go.

According to the plan, Mina would be the last person picked up early in the morning the day before the show. Needless to say, she was not ready when the van pulled up at her apartment bright & early. But not only was she not ready, she hadn’t done her laundry either & had no clean clothes at all. So she put on a dirty old pair of sweat pants & a sweat shirt with a hoodie, then proceeded to stuff all her dirty clothes in a duffle bag instead of using a suitcase like normal people. According to her, she planned on doing her laundry at the hotel once they arrived.

Upon arriving at the very nice Omni hotel, all 5 of the women piled up into the room they were sharing. Mina had family & friends in Atlanta, so she called some of them while the others were unpacking. The more seasoned stylists decided it was best if they all paid their share of the room costs before heading to the show, lest they mistakenly spent it all. Everyone coughed up their fair share while Mina was talking on the phone to her mother.

When she hung up, she started crying, saying that she had counted on her mom to give her the money to pay for her room, but now her mom said she didn’t have any money. At this point, Mina was really bawling & the rest of the women felt sorry for her, so they said “It’s okay Mina, we’re all here to have a good time.”  They all pitched in to pay for her share (which ultimately decreased the money each had to spend at the show on supplies), so Mina stopped crying & everything seemed fine again.

Shortly after this, there was a knock at the door. It was one of Mina’s male friends that she had invited over & he looked really, really thug-like. Both he & Mina proceeded to flounder on the bed, joking & laughing, but never once did Mina ask if it was okay with her roommates to bring him in or if it was okay for them to lay all over the bed. Finally Mina decided she was going out with her thug friend, but she left her purse & duffle bag in the room because she planned to be back in time for the pre-show party later that night.

*Side note: Beauty shows always have a pre-show party, which is on the Saturday night before the show starts that following Sunday morning. It’s a fun chance to wear your most outrageous party attire & dance the night away. The party usually starts around 8pm or thereabouts.

Out the door Mina went with her thug-friend. After that, Mina was not seen or heard from in over 2 days! She did not show up for the pre-show party that Saturday night, nor did she appear at the show on Sunday morning.  In fact, she missed the entire show weekend & all the classes on Monday.

When they tried to call her prepaid cell phone on Sunday morning, it turned out that she hadn’t paid for any minutes, so it wasn’t working. The women were pretty concerned at this point, so they dug through Mina’s purse & located her mothers phone number. They also accidentally found an un-cashed paycheck for over $100, which would’ve more than covered her fair share of the hotel room! When they got her mother on the phone & told her that Mina had not been seen since the  preceding afternoon, she seemed unfazed. She couldn’t venture a guess as to where Mina was, she had not seen or heard from her, nor did she have any of her friends phone numbers. Well……if her own mother wasn’t worried about Mina, then they figured perhaps they were over reacting to the situation.

So the women went about their business at the show, shopping for products & going to classes, etc. Mina was the topic of conversation all weekend & everyone grew more anxious & more concerned as the hours went by. Monday was the last day of the show & they missed their scheduled classes because they decided to finally call the police to report Mina missing. The police showed up at the hotel (which caused all their stylist peers to gawk as the police came through the lobby) & upon arriving at their hotel room, they looked through Mina’s purse. Then they looked through her duffle bag full of dirty laundry (how embarrassing).  They said that it would be best if a family member actually filed the missing persons report, so Mina’s mother was called. Her mother seemed annoyed to be interrupted by the police, but finally went along with filing the report & that was that.

The owner of the salon asked Mina’s mother if she’d like to come down to the hotel to pick up her daughter’s belongings, but she didn’t want to do it. Instead she asked if they would drive them over to her apartment! The women opted not to do that because they had to check out at noon, plus they did not know their way around Atlanta & they had a long drive back home that day. So the mother told them to just take Mina’s stuff back home with them & give them to Mina’s sister.

The women proceeded to check out & the hotel stored their luggage while they finished up shopping at the show. Meanwhile, they’d missed their scheduled classes due to filling out the police report & the women anxiously hung out as long as they could in the hopes that Mina would turn up. Finally, one of them spots Mina coming across the show floor! She was still wearing the same dirty sweatsuit she left town in 2 days prior! Plus, she had her hoodie up over her head & was slinking across the show floor all sneaky-like, which made her look suspiciously like a homeless person instead of a hair stylist!

People all around her were dressed stylishly, so this was particularly mortifying to everyone who saw her coming. It was evident that she hadn’t bathed either because she smelled bad (imagine 3 day old underwear)! The thought of sitting next to her in the van on the 5 hour ride home was distressing to all of them & no one wanted to draw that short straw, for real! The women were sincerely relieved she wasn’t dead, but they deserved & demanded answers. The confrontation scene took place on the sidewalk in front of their hotel. They’d gotten their luggage & were waiting for the valet to bring their van around. Mina’s thug friend was still hanging with her when the women peppered her with questions like “Where were you?”, “Why didn’t you call?” & “How could you do that to us”?

Mina was amused & perplexed. “What’s the big deal? I was just having fun.” she replied. She honestly had no clue as to the worry she put everyone through. Her thug friend started laughing hysterically when they told her that they had even filed a missing persons report with the police, which totally pissed off all the women.

When the valet pulled up with the van, everyone threw their luggage in. Mina asked where her stuff was & that’s when the salon owner told her it was still at the front desk & that she could find her own way home. Then they shut the van doors & sped off, leaving Mina standing on the sidewalk in front of the Omni hotel! The women “discussed” it for the next 5 hours until they got home, whereupon the owner promptly changed the locks on the salon. Mina was officially fired!

We heard through Mina’s sister that she cashed her paycheck & took a Greyhound bus back to town the next day. Her sister & mother were both mad at us for leaving her there & couldn’t understand why we were making such a big deal about the whole thing! Evidently this kind of behavior was considered normal in their family, which is very sad. Since Mina owed the salon owner some booth rent (which went unpaid), the owner wound up keeping Mina’s salon supplies & sold them at a steep discount. Even though we all felt sorry for Mina & her chaotic life, at the same time we supported the salon owners decision to put her out. All of us liked Mina, but she was a lost soul. The last we heard through the grapevine, Mina moved out of state, had given up doing hair, & was going to school to learn auto mechanics!

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OR

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“You Can’t Cancel Christmas”

It was the first week after the New Year when I was manicuring my client Nadine. We were comparing how we spent our time off at Christmas, when she tells me that her two children got more spankings that week than in their entire lives! At the time, her son Nathan was six & daughter Zoe was three. Evidently they did three really bad things in the relatively short amount of holiday time that their parents had off work. The first misbehavior was that they were jumping up & down on their Momma’s bed (knowing full well that they weren’t allowed to do so) & they wound up breaking the cherry bedrail so severely that it could NOT be fixed. Cha-ching for a new one!

The second bad thing the kids did was that they were jacking around near the Christmas tree while their Momma was in another room. Out of the corner of her eye, Nadine sees something large quietly go swishing to the ground in relatively slow motion….that is until it hit the ground, whereupon many loud shattering noises erupted. You guessed it. The kids had knocked the fully decorated Christmas tree to the ground & many family heirloom ornaments were broken! Spanking number two followed shortly thereafter.

The third REALLY bad thing happened when Nadine had gone to the grocery store leaving her husband in charge of watching the two kids (I hear the collective laugh from all the mothers that have made THAT mistake in the past). The children started misbehaving in some way, so their Daddy said he was going to return all the presents they’d bought & cancel Christmas entirely if they did not settle down. After that their Daddy went upstairs to take a shower, thinking that the kids had calmed down sufficiently. Upon exiting the bathroom (& thankfully fully clothed, not wearing a towel or a robe) Nadine’s husband hears knocking at the front door. He can see someone trying to peer in the sidelight window, but cannot make out who it is.

When he answers the door, standing there are two policemen, along with their patrol car parked in front of their house for all the neighbors to see on Christmas Eve! They tell him that they received a 911 call from a young boy reporting that his Daddy was being mean to him & were obligated to check it out. The two policemen enter & they start taking their report. Now Nadine’s husband is silently freaking out! He figured it would be best if the police heard the story from his son who he surmised was the one who called them, lest they think he had something to hide.

So he says to Nathan “Son, you called the police out here, now you need to tell them why you did that”.  Nathan proceeds to tell the policemen that his Daddy is being mean to him by threatening to take away the presents & cancel Christmas, to which Zoe fervently adds “Yeah, you can’t cancel Christmas! My Daddy’s not my boss; Nathan is my boss!” all the while she’s stomping up & down on the floor for emphasis.

The policemen could see the writing on the wall, so they wrapped up the report. Before leaving one of them says to Nathan “Now I’m not saying this should happen or this should not happen, but if I’d have done something like this at your age, I would’ve been spanked”! After they departed, Nadine’s husband called her & says “You won’t believe what just happened!” to which she frantically responds “Do I need to come home right now?” With a big sigh he says “No, the police already left”.

Needless to say, she was done shopping at that point & peeled tires out of the grocery store parking lot. When she had gotten home, they both had a long talk with their children about what calls to 911 were appropriate & what calls were not. I’m not sure if the third spanking came BEFORE or AFTER the talk, though!

 

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“The Happy Hooker with a Twist”

 

While living in Chicago, I worked at a small nail salon that catered to an unusual mix of clientele. There were the

average 25 – 45 year old professional women, but then there was the “after hours crowd”. It was business as usual

to see a parade of drag queens, gay men, transexuals, transvestites, & cross dressers coming in to have their nails

done. The nail salon was owned by a gay man & a transexual woman (who was fooling no one – picture a man

dressed as Mrs. Roper from the old sitcom “Three’s Company”), but that’s another story! Anyway, this being the 80’s

meant that long nails were all the rage, plus lots of fabulous nail art & rhinestones, too.

 

One client in particular had extremely long acrylic nails. Try 5″ long! And they were pointed, not like the typical

square nail that was in fashion. Her name was “Lynnette Yvette ” & she was a transexual. Well, not completely. The

top half was woman, the bottom half was man. Even more bizarre was the fact that she was working her way

through college as a prostitute! Her goal was to one day graduate with a psychology degree & then complete the

surgery that would make her into a legitimate woman.

 

Now Lynnette was a very dark, black skinned  “girl” who always wore her hair in a tight, little pony tail, barely 2″

long. Why she didn’t wear a weave or some tracks or a wig, I’ll never understand. She lived as a woman, wore

makeup & clothes like a woman, plus got her nails done like a woman. She would regale us with stories of her

“johns” while we did her nails & some of the stories were quite shocking. Some involved police getting ‘freebies’ in

exchange for them not arresting her!  Some involved married men! All were very entertaining, though. We found

something else we had in common…… we both loved scary movies. So from time to time we’d meet up for a matinee

of the latest Freddy Krueger or Leatherface movie. I can only imagine what an odd pair we made as we walked

down the street……me being a short, naturally born white woman & Lynnette being the exact opposite!

 

One night friends & I were out at a club that was holding a “white party” (everything is swathed in white fabric &

attendees are supposed to dress in white) to benefit AIDS awareness when I ran into Lynnette, who was there with

her family. She introduced me to her daughter & her daughter’s children. It was so surreal! Everyone shook my

hand & we all talked for awhile, then parted ways. I was struck by how odd this scenario was. I mean, here Lynnette

used to be her daughters’ father, but now she’s her “mother”?  And how do you explain to the grandchildren that

grandpa is now your “grandma”? It was all very, very bizarre….. at least to me it was.

 

Lynnette finally did graduate with her psychology degree & was going to specialize in helping gay, lesbian, &

transgendered people. By chance one night we met again at a party where she introduced me to her older, Jewish

boyfriend, who looked extremely conservative & deceivingly straight. They definitely made another very odd couple,

with him being a short, balding, middle aged white dude who might have worked as either a psychiatrist or a college

professor & Lynnette being…….well……the exact opposite.

 

I don’t know if she ever got her desired surgery or not because I moved away, but judging by what else she

accomplished in life when she set her mind to it, I’m betting that she did make her dreams come true. The last time

I saw her she was riding on top of a float during the “Gay Pride” parade, while giving the pageant wave & flashing

her bright white smile. And her 5″ long gold, bejeweled nails were flashing, too!

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