Approximately every other week I make my way into a foreign and somewhat unknown territory called New Jersey. I am on a mission. I head straight to Horizon Nails to get a manicure, sometimes a pedicure, or a back massage by one of the fifteen Korean women or men that work there.
Actually my preference is for women for the manicure and the men for the massage and pedicure as they are much stronger and far more helpful in relieving my aching and saddened legs and body. This is definitely a peculiarity of mine left over from my childhood, where I’ve described before, my father and hundreds of men in a Al Capone style, would sit in a large room, catered and pampered by women who did manicures and facials. The only men in the room were the clients and the barbers.
So there I sit for an hour in the midst of affluent American suburbia with all the women arriving in their Mercedes, talking about shopping, their next vacation, their children’s school events, etc. This is American wealth. These are the ladies who lunch, who go to the swim club, tennis club, golf club, or any other club they want. And then there is me alone in the midst of all of them.
Depending on the time of day they enter wearing their workout clothes, their after lunch attire, or their pre-visit to the plastic surgeon botox wardrobe. It is all part of the American preoccupation to keep oneself young, vibrant, and for women in particular beautiful. For women, how they go about maintaining their beauty, for me is truly questionable. I’m not sure the process is working. They work very hard on their nails and every other centimeter of their bodies.
Horizon Nails is my insight into American, wealthy, suburban popular culture. Firstly, as I sit in my pedicure chair, I watch the array of colors these women choose for their nails and toes. Women used to look beautiful with a classic red nail but now they have discovered multiplex coloring. It goes from black to blue to pink to green to orange and one more unspeakable look to another.
They all have so much money, but they all are so unattractive, at least to me. The Korean women who work for them wear a simple uniform, which makes them seem quite attractive, and way ahead in the beauty contest.
Their clothes are extremely expensive, filled with every new fashion, but are so full of bangles, missed matched colors and styles. It’s as if they choose their clothes with their eyes closed. What happened to style and taste? Or did we never have it?
Yet, still money may not buy you love but it does seem to buy them some happiness. They are off to Florida or the Hamptons or to the swim club in their violet nails or turquoise toes. They had been plucked and shucked in the desperate attempt to remain youthful.
I applaud them for their energy, commitment and enthusiasm. I just wish I felt they knew where they were going and how to look as they arrived there. There is not a drop of elegance or refinement in the lot, just money. Next stop Palm Beach.