I’m not really the manicure type. Aside from occasional impulse buys of solid-colored nail polish, I’m probably a pretty embarrassing case of a girl. I don’t use top coat. I don’t use base coat. Buffer? What’s that?
While we were in Hong Kong, we ran into a tour guide with bling-blangin’ tips, and on more than one occasion I passed by a magazine rack stocked with Gnail. Eventually I realized that Gnail is not a Chingrish typo’d title for GMail, so I cracked it open and my jaw dropped. Gnail has been, hands-down, the most amazing thing I brought back from Hong Kong. Even better than the 100W lazer pointers I smuggled in for Bill and My Twin. Every person I show it to: amazed. Every time I open it: something new.
Gnail is a magazine devoted to Japanese-inspired nail art. To this girl who had never had so much as a manicure or a pedicure, it was a whole new world. I felt like those kids in the Reading Rainbow intro, opening my mag, rainbow lights streaming across my face – I was absolutely fascinated. Aside from eating like a local, I always like to do one uniquely local thing when I travel. Since no one else would take me up on my offer to bungee jump in Macau, I decided I would do the next best thing. Gnail seemed like a fateful discovery.
I was gonna get my nails did. Photos? Yes there are!
So, again, at this point I had never had my fingers handled by a professional. Thank goodness I had L-Dub in tow to act as my Gaysian Cantonese translator. (My nail artist initially refused to do his nails, but acquiesced over time and spray painted a skull and crossbones onto his thumb. Then she charged him $8 US. Then it faded off the next day.) No other nail artists were at the salon the day after Lunar New Year. Hello Kitty paraphernalia outnumbered us 56 to 3. Who needs a Hello Kitty magazine rack? This place.
I go all-in when I do things, but I was still a little scared when those rotating files and buffers came out. They sound exactly like dentists’ drills. How does that make a woman feel glamorous? I don’t know.
Friends of friends we had met in Hong Kong had gotten their nails done before, and tales of “You have to get them removed with a ‘special machine'” made me commitmentphobic about the procedure. Flipping through Gnail and the nail studio’s photo albums continually tested the limits of how wide my eyes can bug out, though, and I couldn’t put the idea out of my head. We were going to carry on with this hair-brained idea! Who cares if I wouldn’t be able to remove my contacts at the end of the day? I was in Hong Kong!
I requested that the art be directly applied to my natural nails, selected a relatively modest yet delightfully twinkly design, and sat down.
A couple of nights before arriving at “Nails by Eunice,” I read some horror story blog about a girl who got her nails done for supercheap in Beijing. There were multiple mentions of pain and unsanitary practices. The strawberry her friend ended up with was pretty unimpressive, too. Like a Keebler elf just threw up on her pointer. (Of course I can’t find the blog now.)
I’m proud to say I didn’t go through the painful repeated UV baking that that frugal blogger did. Though L-Dub and I left the first place we visited because I wasn’t willing to drop $50 on ten temporary tips, we lucked out in locating a clean spot with a girl who paid thorough attention to detail. The UV bakers were alarming at first, but I only felt slight stings toward the end of my baking sessions. (And there were many.)
So anyway. I got my nails done. The results are fun. But I’ve procrastinated enough on this post and withheld from you readers the most important publication in Hong Kong culture. Really, you should flip through The Best of Gnail Volume 2 Spring. Click through for scans of AMAZING!
Gnail. A scuba diving wedding. Adidas-branded tips and freakish Bichon Frise likenesses.
Why yes, I would like the McDonald’s menu on my fingertips. Hello Zodiac Kitties? Happy Year of the Tiger!