Toe, Mary and Shirley

images It’s pedicure season.  Everyone and their dogs get their feet manicured and painted for the world to see.

It’s a pity Manhattan has only 8 nail salons on every street, packed with women soaking and smoking outside while their polish dries.

I try to go early to avoid the cell phone crowd who yak like crows while their cuticles get pushed around.  How I’d like to push them, right off a cliff.  The price of a few moments of peace is rising alright.  Do I really need to know that porterhouse the night before was a little tough?

When I arrived at Sunny Side Nails right when they opened, two other women had the same idea.

“You too?” one said, the size of an Oldsmobile. “I have so many things cookin…for real, she giggled, “havin guests for lunch.  I’m Shirley.”

“How do you do,” I said, a little less than thrilled.  See, I knew right away, she was a talker.

The other woman was an obvious snoot clutching her Vuitton like one of us would steal it.  For the record, I’m no longer a Louis fan, not since you can buy a copy on the street for 8.99 from a vendor named Ali Abu Baba.

So there we sat with Shirley in the middle holding court like a game show host, while our old polish was scrubbed off by young girls with names like Ling, Sing and Ming.

I decided I liked Mary because she sat in silence…well, till her phone rang that is.  “Yeah,” she said with the charm of a moth.  “I dunno…ask me late-a.”


The owner of the shop, a Miss Lee, comes over and asks, “What cula?”

“Oh, let’s see,” screamed Shirley.  How bout Ebony On Fire this time.” (who, pray tell, comes up with these names?)

How about you have your head examined.  Black nail polish eludes me.  It looks like you got all ten toes smashed in a car door.  But did that stop her?

Shirley then looked at Mary. “How bout you, what color will you be today?”

If looks could kill, Shirley wouldn’t need color, except maybe in her face after Mary punched it.

“I have moy own thank you,” she said, pulling a bottle from Louis.  Did he just hand it to her, or are the fumes getting to me?  Then her phone rang again.  “Yeah?” I dunno, ask me late-a.”

I also brought my own, a smart thing for touch-ups making me wonder why Shirley hadn’t thought of that, but then realized, she’s so overweight she probably can’t reach her toes.

Yes, my heart opened, but just a crack since, as I predicted, SHE DIDN’T SHUT UP.

I started counting men I hate, something I do when I either can’t sleep or want to murder somebody.

Then, like the Supremes in harmony, we were all finished at the same time, so we dried together too, a must, even if you leave barefoot.  No, I do not walk home like a native.  I’m merely making a point.  You must sit for at least 20 minutes or you’ll smear, not a good thing unless a bagel’s involved.

Let’s see, what did I learn while drying.  Shirley and her black toes were serving a cold pasta dish and Waldorf salad for lunch with an upside down orange pound cake with fresh cream.  She can’t decide whether to serve liquor or lemonade.

“Liquor,” I said, probably a little too quickly.

She has new blue L.L. Bean Bermuda shorts and a yellow tank (that gave me a chill unless it was a Sherman tank she could drive everyone home in) she ordered just for the occasion.

She invited a fella she met online who doesn’t know she’s not a size 6.

“Liquor!” I begged this time.

As for Mary, I didn’t learn much about her except, she didn’t know, and was getting quite a few calls…late-a.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in Beauty, dessert, Fashion, humor, New York City, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Toe, Mary and Shirley

  1. Hilarious … I too can’t stand the telephone conversations while trying to relax under the expert hands of my auk tech – Hannah. She’s Veitnamese but her name dis Hannah. Go figga … 😆


  2. micklively says:

    I don’t think you’re being entirely honest: you prefer Mary, because she’s quiet, but you write about Shirley, because she gives you material for your blog. Be careful what you wish for.
    Very funny picture you paint.
    Why can’t you paint your own talons?


  3. Oh the nail salon ……
    I love to talk, but not when I’m trying to relax. I’m convinced there is no safe time to get a pedicure. The work I’ve done to strategically figure out the perfect time could be compared to what goes down in a war room. The over talker is an unpredictable breed!
    I want a piece of that upside cake stat!


  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    My toes are so ugly I paint them myself. I’ve been to two different podiatrists, it’s not a fungus. Probably injured from gymnastics in my younger years. I envy you your pretty toes.


  5. Elle Knowles says:

    Mary sounds as though she’s associated with the mafia. Shirley, on the other hand may be in for a surprise when her online guest arrives. He may not be what she’s expecting either! You always seem to make silk from a sow’s ear Susannah. Such a knack you have! ~Elle

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I do my toes myself. It’s the hair thing. I like peace and quiet when I get my hair cut. I like a nice long massaging wash and I like to be in lala land. I always seem to find chatty stylists. Really I don’t care what your kids are doing. Or your husband. Maybe your dog….maybe. And if I ask you what the new styles are, you should know. Read your those magazines in your waiting area!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know this will probably come as a shock, but I never get to hear any of these conversations because I’ve never had a pedicure. My blog will suffer because of it. 😀


  8. Lynn says:

    This kind of mindless chatter drives me nuts, especially when you just want to enjoy a wee bit of quiet time while indulging yourself. At least Mary had enough common sense cut her calls off quickly or maybe she didn’t want to miss out on Shirley’s banter. Hope your toes are sparkling!


  9. Patricia says:

    I do my own tootsies and pinkies. Too cheap to pay, but maybe I should consider the entertainment factor and go for it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.