My wife was not a nail tech when I first met her. She was just a normal, 25-year old girl who liked Starbucks (that's where we first met in-person), belting out Kelly Clarkson, and flirting with some ruggedly handsome guy who hadn't yet gone fat and bald.
Instead, I had the pleasure of watching her transform into a nail tech, like some ravenous werewolf howling at the full moon - one that fed not on the blood of its unfortunate victims, but on nail polish. It overtook her entire life, and by proxy, mine as well.
To prepare you for this magical journey you're about to embark on, I wanted to share with you young bucks out there a few of the things I've learned over the past few years of being co-habitated with a full-blown, purple-haired nail addict.
These are the 7 Things a Guy Should Know Before Dating a Nail Tech
Prepare to have your nails painted.
Let's not stop there. Your pets will have their nails painted. If you have sons, prepare to question your manly side as you watch your son get excited over having the latest OPI collection on his little digits. There will be nail pops (nails on a stick in man language) with every single color of the rainbow on them. To clarify, we're not talking the simple primary man colors here. Not every shade of purple should be called purple. I learned that the hard way. There's literally five thousand different shades of red, and they all have really strange names. Learn them if you intend to have any kind of meaningful conversation with your woman.
Never, EVER drop one of her nail polishes.
This should be grounds for breakup/divorce. If she's nice like my wife, you'll probably just do a week in solitary confinement. Brush up on old episodes of "Oz" on HBO. It'll help you survive.
Back in 2013, I dropped a brand-new OPI from the Wizard of Oz collection that my wife had spent weeks saving up for. Sure, I was trying to be helpful and hand her the things that she needed, but things went completely awry when gravity took over. It was like dropping a live grenade in the room. Instinctively, I dove for the ground, thinking that I could shield the impact with my body, like a fabled war hero saving his buddies from a grenade blast. But the polish had a good head start, and I missed it by inches. It exploded, and my chances at surviving this became very slim.
Although Sherri handled it remarkably well, I could still see the devastation in her eyes, and could hear the mourning cry of a newly-minted nail polish widow under her breath. I had brutally murdered one of her babies, and the blood ran red (and glittery) under our bed.
Boys, if you ever handle her nail polish, treat it like a tactical nuke - as if millions of lives rest in your hands. This is no time for butterfingers.
You will have to choose colors for her toes.
This should be considered a badge of honor. She trusts you enough to make major life decisions like toe color. This is precisely the reason you should get to know all of the names. There's a huge difference between Periwinkle and Purple. If she trusts you with her toes, don't let her down.
I highly suggest taking a few criteria into consideration:
- The season
- Any upcoming holidays or events
- Her favorite colors
- Any new colors she has recently purchased
Take in the situation, become aware of all factors, then make an educated hypothesis on nail color based on these factors. Then stand in awe as she shoots down all of your suggestions and does whatever the heck she wanted to do in the first place.
You will only have input on her fingers.
Pump the brakes, buddy. No woman in the history of humanity has ever fully trusted a man to pick out her nail color. The world has to see these, and they have to be cute. That's why she reserves veto power when you push forward a polish color that doesn't fit her national interests.
In the nail world, democracy is merely an illusion. Her veto power overrules all, and is used indiscriminately. I might add that this is for good reason - as it serves to protect the woman from being embarrassed by our hair-brained ideas on fashion.
You will begin to notice other people's nails
One time at work, a co-worker was picking at his fingers in the break room. Without even realizing it, I told him, "You need cuticle oil. It'll soften those up and keep them healthy."
I should have had my man card revoked on the spot. Luckily, having a significant other that is a nail tech is an accepted form of justification with other men. Still, I had a lot of soul searching to do after that incident.
Some other things you will find yourself doing:
- You will judge manicures that you see on TV
- You will start to notice the tiniest imperfections in application
- You will begin to critique your own nail care
- You will hand your girlfriend/wife's business card to people who are having nail emergencies
- You will know the pros and cons of acrylic and gel nails, and be able to articulate this at parties, reunions and bar mitzvahs
You will begin to critique her nails
Once you get here, you're completely off the map. Here there be dragons.
Eventually, you learn so much by osmosis, that you begin to critique her as she does her nails. You begin questioning why she's using gel instead of acrylic. You'll ask her to clean up the polish application around the cuticle area, because it's one micron off. You'll start asking her if she was going for a symmetrical, or asymmetrical look, and why she chose it.
Now, this may be a very extreme example. Not all guys will get to this point. But as my wife's biggest supporter during her run in Next Top Nail Artist, I needed to know everything about nails so I could be her second set of eyes. When a prize and title are on the line, she doesn't just need support in the form of nice words. She needs honesty. She needs to know if she's turning out her best work from a fresh set of unbiased eyes.
You'll consider making a career change
Now you're the master of nail artistry through osmosis. Now comes a life-shaking revelation; you can do this. In fact, you can go to school, join a competition, destroy everyone and rule the nail world from atop your glittery throne made of nail tips.
Strangely enough, this isn't a bad idea. Some of the greatest nail techs in the world are men. Heck, the talent pool for Next Top Nail Artist 2013 had three guys who just happen to be three of the most influential and popular nail techs in the industry. Robert Nguyen (NailGuyTV) is a rock star. Men historically do very well in the beauty industry, or so I hear.
My wife would support me if I decided to become a nail tech. Truth be told, there are areas of the industry and art that really intrigue me. Now, I wouldn't have been exposed to this if my wonderful wife hadn't transformed herself into an up-and-coming nail tech. I'd probably be driving monster trucks, or lighting things on fire for money.
That being said, in the interest of transparency... I have been notified by powers much higher than myself that I cannot become a rock star nail technician. Unfortunately, the universe has a clause in it that forbids family dynasties in the nail world. Who knew?
Dating, or even marrying a nail technician is truly an adventure into realms you would have never previously imagined you would be a part of. It opens up your world and allows you to see first-hand what a nail tech actually does for people. It's a job that's part artist, therapist, confidant, health guru, and general merrymaker. I've seen how happy clients are when they have gorgeous nails on. I've seen tears when a woman (whose hands are completely thrashed) walks away with beautiful, long, perfect girly nails. I've seen self-conscious become beautiful and confident.
Great nail techs help people feel good about themselves. In my experience, every great nail tech I've met has turned out to be a great person underneath.
While it is a crazy world that doesn't make much sense to us on the surface, it will take you for a wild ride that'll never disappoint. The free pedicures aren't too shabby, either.