Say Thee Nail

Brad, the “dad”

I have a problem. Maybe you can help me nail it down.

Back in my day (at this point, all people under the age of about thirty have already stopped listening), manicures and pedicures were for the very rich and unpleasantly indolent. Nobody – I mean nobody – except grandmothers got their nails done. But today, it’s not just popular, it seems to have become absolutely required for every female over the age of…thirteen? Twelve? Even the Elf, who is not particularly trendy, wants her nails done, and for the college-bound Valkyrie, it’s approaching addiction.

Haircuts I expected. The occasional party dress or entirely unnecessary but oh-so-cute pair of shoes – I get that. And this endless obsession with T-shirts that have “funny” sayings on them – I’ll live with that. But this nails and toes thing? It’s expensive. And they keep coming back for more, more, more. Apparently – hey, nobody told me – these things actually grow back.

So here’s my question: is it completely out of line for me to expect my daughters to start covering the cost of this? At least part of it? The haircuts and basic clothing, that tab I’ll pick up. But just how absolutely essential to life is the French Wrap (actually, I don’t think they do that anymore, but you know what I mean). And, how often is often enough?

If I look back at the checks I’ve written to Naomi’s Nail Oasis, I see I’m dropping a few hundred bucks a year on this, and that doesn’t include cash tips and touch-ups. And I can feel my hands trembling with dread and shame every time I have to write Naomi another one. But am I just being a fuddy-duddy here? Should I scrimp instead on, say, heart medication and just let this go?

Just how out of touch am I?

Rach, the “teen”

I bite my nails, so when I get them done, it’s for a special occasion. That is, I got them done for my first prom, and I’ll get them done every once in a while (that is, once a year, so I can hear the lady tell me that biting my nails is a disgusting habit).

So, “dad”, I don’t think you’re being silly or old fashioned. Getting your nails done is something that should be saved for proms, weddings and other special occasions. Painting nails are frivolous. If your daughters want it to be every month (or week) situation – then they should totally, completely, entirely pay for it themselves. Or, tell them you’ll buy them some nail equipment and let them do it at home.

Nonetheless, I’m against long nails, and I’m against polish. Most of all: I’m anti-paying forty bucks for polish on my fingers and toes that will chip in three days.

Also: nice pun.

Mary, the “mom”

I’m with you Dad, if my daughters want to indulge in this particular little luxury then they can foot (no pun intended) the bill.

A number of years ago, I got caught up in this phenomenon. But after a few years, and a lot of time and money, I realized that it was just too much time and too much money. So, I quit.

So, when my 13-year-old decided she had to have nails, I was sympathetic because she too was a nail biter. But, I made it clear that I wasn’t paying. I give my younger two children an allowance. (The oldest is old enough to work now, so his allowance is history.) If my daughter chose to spend her entire allowance getting her nails done (cause that’s what it would take) that was her decision. She does get a babysitting gig now and again, but really, you can’t count on that. So, at first, she was really into it (when the babysitting jobs were coming), then she decided that she just couldn’t afford it (during a babysitting dry spell). Hallelujah!

I’m not against paying for the special occasion splurge. So, come the big eighth-grade dance, I’ll probably treat her to a manicure and maybe even a pedicure. By prom, I think she should be able to foot (pun intended) the bill herself!

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James Scott is a general news and feature writer of Untitled Magazine. Prior joining the company, he previously worked as a senior writer in different publishing companies in New York.