I was getting a long overdue manicure this weekend. I think it's been close to a year since my nails were last buffed by someone other than me. It's hard to tend to your nails with several children climbing on you, wanting to sit next to you, or chew on the file itself. Such is motherhood.
The nice young lady who had my hands in her charge was very quiet. Almost silent, really. I'm not used to that in salons. I like my hairdressers and manicurists to yap at me and engage me in conversation. Perhaps it's because I am not responsible for wiping any of their body parts that I am so eager to dive into conversation, but whatever the case, I like the adult interaction.
After ten torturous minutes, I finally tried to break the ice. She was no older than 24, which ruled out music, pop-culture and politics. I just didn't want to freeze up and blurt out Neil Diamond where I should have casually inserted Fergie. I scanned her for possible conversation pieces. She had four large tattoos (two on her ample and visible cleavage and two on her arms), which while interesting, was a conversational dead-end. I have no tattoos, and something told me she wouldn't think it cute that I "almost" got one on my ankle that read "Alpha Chi Omega" in 1989 because I had too much jungle juice at a frat party.
Her clothes were cute, albeit tiiiight and nothing worth conversing about. Unless I wanted to extol the virtues of mom jeans for her comfort.
I finally settled on her eyebrow piercing. It was big, like a silver rod with blue beads on either end, and it looked like it hurt. Pain? Now that's a topic I am warm and cozy with.
"Gee, that's pretty interesting, the uh, piercing on your eyebrow. I'll bet it hurt!" I hate this about myself. How I lapse into a Marcia Brady-esque vernacular when speaking to Young People.
"No. It didn't hurt."
"Really?? [I am nearly squealing.] Because it just looks so, I don't know, big. And sharp. Like it hurt." Did I mention I get really articulate and shit when I'm nervous?
"No. It was pretty fast. What hurt is when I got my nipples pierced when I was thirteen. I had to take the piercings out after a month."
My jaw unhinged. "What? Your parents let you get a nipple piercing at thirteen?"
"Uh, no. They didn't know."
"How could they not know?"
"It's not like they saw me naked." At this point she's looking at me like I'm a complete imbecile. Or worse, someone who looks at her thirteen year-old children naked.
"Well, obviously not. But how did you get to the place that gave you the piercing and home again without your parents knowing what you were up to?" I'm truly shocked at this point. I've all but installed GPS in my twelve-year old's clothing, and she is so supervised she accuses me of wanting to make her Amish.
She fixed a look on me before going back to filing my nails. After a moment she said, "They didn't care where I was" and with that, she went back to my nails and didn't say much for the remainder of the manicure.
That shut me up.