It’s funny, the first thing that I realized about New York, apart from it’s gigantitude and the noise, is that all the girls have PERFECTLY MANICURED nails.

Pfffff, too easy. There’s a nail spa on every corner, they have all the Essie colors in the world at your disposal and it’s quick, cheap, and so no New Yorker should have ANY EXCUSE  not be perfectly put together up to the cuticle (eww).

Still, it took me  little while to get addicted to it. But I mean c’mon! How was I supposed to know that for the perfect manicure, you need:

#1 To learn a new language.

The first time I walked into a nail spa, I stopped at the desk and I started off at the hostess,

“Hello! I want a manicure, a pedicure, some color, and what’s this paraffin thing? Can you take me right away? How long will it take? Can I bring my own polish? What are all these crazy machines over there and what exactly do you mean by “facial?” And what do you call that thing that, errrr, I forget, do you think I have good skin? What would you recommend for…”

Wait, what did I say? The receptionist looked at me with big round eyes, a little terrified. After a rather embarrassing two minutes of silence, she started at me, repeating:

” Manicure ? Pedicure ? Manicure ? Pedicure ? Manicure ? Pedicure ? Manicure ?”

I looked around, a little lost.

And then a very pretty and very busy looking girl blazed into the salon. She picked out a polish in two seconds, put it right in the receptionist face and with no hello, but with a big smile said, “Manicure! Pedicure! Facial!” This was met with a knowing smile and she was guided into the salon.

And then I finally got it… The receptionist doesn’t speak english.

I picked out a polish and said, “Manicure!” And look at that! It worked!

#2 Buy a pair of flip flops. Even if you hate them, get some flip flops.

The second time I went to a nail spa, it was in the middle of winter. This time, I wanted to try a “Pedicure! Manicure!” The only thing was that my feet were trapped in boots, and I got a little worried about the end of everything when I’d have to get the boots back on without letting the nails dry properly.

With the help of a few huge big gestures and hand signs I signaled the receptionist about my boots, “You have a solution for these?”

No problem, she said with her thumbs up, and showed me their futuristic drying machines.

And I thought, Pfffff they have it all together in NYC. They even have supersonic nail dryers.

Yep, yep yep yep. Of course. New Yorkers have thought of it all.

But then when I got back home and saw my new nails totally ruined, I finally understood why, even in the middle of winter, I had seen New Yorkers walking around the city, with perfectly manicured nails, IN FLIP FLOPS.

#3 Learn to tip fast, and well.

Yeah, so my post is much too long (no but seriously, how do I just get going like this?!) But this whole tipping thing in the States deserves its own post. And especially because the mega-terrible reputation that us Frenchies have, I’ll have to come back to it.

All this just to tell you the three fundamental lessons (talking, flipfloping, and tipping). Soon enough, you’ll feel totally at home at the nail spa and you’ll have always superb nails. You’ll be oh so very classy.

And there you have it. Now I have no excuse, and I mean NONE WHATSOEVER not be perfectly put together up to the cuticle (eww). Too bad!


In the illustration, there’s one of the new Chanel Khaki polishes. When we first got them in at the studio, all the girls (and at the time, we were in the middle of a casting, so there were a few) fell all over themselves they were so beautiful. The khaki rose, aaahhh!!! It just kills me.

Translation : Tim Sullivan