June 16, 2024
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June 16, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

When I go on Facebook and see pictures of adorable little girls getting manicures, several thoughts go through my head. Many of them cannot be written down, but the one that is “column appropriate” is that my mom never went for manicures (she always does her nails herself), her mom never went for manicures, and her mom…well, it’s not listed in the Ellis Island registry if my great-grand­mother got off the boat from Poland with her nails done in some trendy color, but I am as­suming the answer is no.

Due to the history of the no-manicure pol­icy, my mom never took my sister or myself to have our nails done (unless she did and I just didn’t know about it, adding to all of the material that will be in my “neglected middle child” article). In fact, the first and only mani­cure I ever received was the night before my wedding in the house of some woman, who came “highly recommended.” (How did that information not make the New York Times?) You hear one urban myth about the woman whose fingers got so infected that they fell off and you never want to walk into a nail sa­lon (yet, they are always crowded and yes, my mom actually did develop an infection from the one fateful manicure that we got togeth­er on August 19, 1995). Basically, I am the 1%—the 1% of women who don’t get their nails done on a weekly basis and don’t have a smart phone. I am surprised that I haven’t been kicked off the island.

The fact that I have all boys has not re­ally changed this situation. The fact that I have all boys and I am a terrible mom and don’t make them wash dishes (or do any­thing else, for that matter) just means that I no longer take the time to wear nail pol­ish at all, because it comes off after wash­ing all of the pots and pans and dishes and glasses, milking the cows and getting fresh eggs from our chicken coop (cue theatrical violin music here.) If I had three girls in­stead, would things be different? I doubt it, because I would probably still have the same husband who would ask me why I have to pay someone to do their nails when I could do them myself (again, ma­terial for another article).

Now my paternal grandmother, the one who kindly gave me her penchant for saying almost anything that is on my mind. (Yes, I do hold back a little, but no longer in front of husband #1 and he re­minds me of this fact daily.) She enjoyed taking care of herself. I never remember her nails without polish or ever seeing a gray hair on her beautiful blonde head. My grandma was quite a looker, if I do say so myself. I didn’t even know that she was ever grey; even as she got older her hair re­mained the same perfect shade of blonde. Apparently, she was a brunette when she was younger and all of a sudden, poof, she was blonde. My dad, being a boy, had no idea when the change occurred, nor did he ever realize that his mom received week­ly manicures. But when I learned she nev­er washed her own hair, it just fascinat­ed me. Every week she would go to the beauty parlor, sit and gab with her friends and have her hair done. She would come home with great stories and her hair look­ing picture perfect, as it always did. This, I would think to myself, might be some­thing I could get used to.

For those of you who know me, I am most comfortable in glasses and a TBO sweatshirt, so when I have to go out in public where a dif­ferent uniform is required, one that requires makeup (yuck), stockings (double yuck), and some form of shoe that doesn’t have a Nike symbol on it (yuck, yuck, yuck), oh, and a dress—we must not forget the dress, that would be really bad—basically the whole thing makes me anxious. But about a year ago, someone told me about a magical place called Hans Beauty Salon in Leonia. You can make an appointment, or you can be really obnoxious and walk in and cut the whole line (I have only seen one specific person do this, most of the women are pretty friendly).The women who work at this magical place greet you as if you are a long lost friend and then, the most amazing thing happens. You sit in a chair and 15–20 minutes later, and I don’t know how they do it, they transform you into a princess. You hair looks radiant and per­fect…like you are about to star in a shampoo commercial. Your confidence is at a new high. You rise from the chair taller, smarter, funnier (unfortunately, still the same weight), but feel­ing great…like Cinderella (during the ball). Then, of course, you get to where you are go­ing and someone half your size is wearing the same dress. But it doesn’t matter because you are having one great hair day and that makes you the queen of the castle.

So ladies, or random gentleman, treat yourself to what makes you feel beautiful be­cause you deserve it! (And I have yet to hear the urban legend about the woman who went for a blow out and walked out with only half of her hair…)

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

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