So, I’ve had fake nails now for about six months. The reason I got them is I had this hot job interview and I wanted to get that not-on-the-dole look. My nails are like flakes of peeled house paint at best, but whenever I attempt do my own nail polish it looks like a five-year-old kid with ADD did them in a high-speed car chase with a monkey at the wheel. Plus, they were so soft you only had to touch them and they’d faint off my fingers, like a gay man at Liza Minnelli’s farewell concert. So I thought, fuck it, I’m going to be one of those people with fake nails. So I’d gone into a nail bar and had a Vietnamese woman work my nails away, filing at them like she was some kinda mad violinist from a Chekov play or something. Like this was the concerto she had to play to save the life of her doomed lover. My shit nails turned to white dust almost instantly and floated through the air, landing on her breasts like snow in a Meg Ryan movie. She polished them, buffed them and coated them in a hardening substance that was so strong I could open a can of beer just by looking at it. It was amazing. I had them for about six months and I loved it. I was scratching itches I didn’t even know I had. But underneath the acrylic armour, my real nails got even worse. They were dying a long, slow, painful death, softening to the point that they were about as useful as a vibrator made of processed cheese. The acrylic imposters had to go.
So I get to ‘Harden the Fuck Up’ nail parlour (it’s so not called that, but I so think it should be), I sit down and the woman takes my horrible hands like she’s been presented with two retarded fish. And they’re playing Fleetwood Mac, and I think, well, this won’t be so bad, I’ve got Stevie Nicks to help rock me like a butterfly in a cotton-wool swing through the pain. Fleetwood Mac makes my heart turn to lace curtains flapping gently in a soft breeze, and I’m all calm and sanguine.
But then my ears scream to a halt, eject themselves from my head and yell – this isn’t Fleetwood Mac, this is fucking Glee! And my heart curtains get all tattered and haunted-house. And the girl next to me, who’s getting a French manicure with square tips, says ‘Haha! I’m such a gleek’, and starts singing along, and the portal to pure misery opens up and I’m sucked inside, as Jenny from Vietnam rips off each nail with a metal prong. It’s the most pain I have ever experienced ever, my eyes start watering and getting as pink as Kardashian arseholes and I have trouble breathing and all the other Vietnamese ladies gather round and hold their stomachs, laughing and going ‘Hoo-hoo-hoo, she’s having a baby!’ And I fucking am! Each finger is shooting off a tiny little baby of acrylic pain. My nails, now about as strong as Glad wrap, show through to my fingers underneath – you can see everything inside like a rice-paper roll, and it looks like I’m filled with prawns and freakin’ vermicelli. And while all this is happening, that bowl of fuckslaw that is the cast of Glee dribbles mayonnaise-like out of the speakers. My fake nails peel away as fake-Fleetwood-Mac-arsehole remix pollutes the air like vegan farts.
French Manicure probably doesn’t even know who the real Fleetwood Mac is. When you hear the real Fleetwood Mac it should make you feel like you are riding a goddamned unicorn into a third eye made of rainbows and wolves, the leaves on all the trees should appear like silver tambourine bells, a centaur should show you your dreams, which are made of feathers and purple mist, and your vagina should turn into velvet. But this canned supermarket drivel makes me feel like I’m watching Lindsey Buckingham throw up artificial sweetener naked into a tub of not-butter.
Glee have never strapped on a nose-bag full of cocaine and made hot unbridled love on the mixing board, turning up and down the sound of the drums with every thrust until they’d mixed in their own orgasms. They haven’t done anything wilder than taking a Nurofen with a soluble Panadol and touching hands accidently, while turning up the Autotune. Having sex with a cloud would be more satisfying than this. I hate this fake world full of fake smiles, fake tan, fake hair and fake nails. I belong in this nail bar like Fanta belongs in a martini.
The fact that this unholy, punishing experience of karmic intolerance is wallpapered with my favourite music through a Fake-o-nater rubs the irony salt into every wound I’ve ever had. I look over at French Manicure, humming and dancing. And I think, well, maybe hatin’ her / isn’t the right thing to do… She’s probably gonna go dancing later and have post-work drinks at a bar where everyone is wearing uncomfortable shoes. She’ll kiss Mike from the upstairs office, go home and dream in pink and poppy seeds. Then ‘Glee Your Own Way’ starts up, with its pert polished ponytails… and I think, no, fuck you guys!
There’s real maple syrup, then there’s imitation maple syrup; you can’t take the imitation after you’ve had the genuine beauty of the real thing, and music is the same. Once you’ve had the Mac, you can never go back. Real music stains you, runs through you, helps compose where your wrinkles are gonna go, your laugh lines, your missed lines, pick-up lines, coke lines, and until you’ve written actual song lines you’re never gonna be the real maple syrup. You’re gonna be a bowl of fuckslaw. Jenny rips off the final plastic nugget of pain and my hands look like they have been put through a shedder and then glued back together with Clag by a toddler.
French Manicure skips off into the distance with her head full of Gleekwood Crap and I’m left with my real nails. Shitty, flaky real nails are what I’ve got to scratch out a name for myself. But hey, I’ll go my own way. Do my own ADD-kid-monkey-at-the-wheel nail polish from now on. Naturally, I choose black polish, ’cause black is a screw-you colour, black flips you the bird when you’re just pouring a cup of tea, it’s chipped within an hour and it doesn’t care. And neither do I. ’Cause, in the words of Stevie Nicks, where the fuck am I and what the hell am I doing here?
Fuck you, fake nails, and fuck you, Glee.
© Emilie Zoey Baker 2012
PS: Fuck You, Glee also appears on the latest Going Down Swinging CD as an ear treat, get it!