By Jerry Zezima
I may not be as tough as nails, but my nails are tough. And colorful. And I owe it all to the talented cosmetologists at Lilly & Chloe’s House of Beauty.
Lilly and Chloe happen to be my granddaughters. And the house where they made me beautiful is the one I live in with my wife, Sue, who also is beautiful but was about to go out when the girls, who were visiting for the day, asked if they could paint their nails.
Sue and our younger daughter, Lauren, the little beauticians’ beautiful mommy, were going shopping. Lauren’s handsome husband, Guillaume, the girls’ daddy, was going out, too.
I was in charge. And I ended up getting my nails painted — at no charge.
Let me tell you, it was worth every penny.
The spa opened in the kitchen, where Lilly, Chloe and yours truly sat at the table with a couple of bottles of nail polish — one pink, the other purple — which Sue got for them from an upstairs bathroom, one of the many spots in the house where beauty products (none belonging to me) are kept.
“Be good for Poppie,” Sue told the girls before she and Lauren left. “And don’t make a mess.”
It was an ominous warning.
As soon as the door closed, Chloe asked me to paint her fingernails purple to match her dress.
“Let me show you how,” said Chloe, who at 8 years old is a veteran of the cosmetological arts. Then she started painting the nails of her left hand.
Lilly, meanwhile, sat at the table with the bottle of pink polish in front of her.
“Don’t do anything until Chloe and I are done,” I said.
“OK, Poppie,” said Lilly, who is 4 and a half but already has a keen interest in beauty. That includes diamonds. Her poor parents.
Anyway, Chloe painted her nails perfectly. Since she is right-handed, she didn’t want to use her left hand to paint the nails of her right hand. So I became her right-hand man. This may be a left-handed compliment, but I did a good job.
I knew it when Chloe said, “Good job, Poppie.”
Suddenly, Lilly shrieked, “I spilled my nail polish!”
Sure enough, she got the pink stuff all over her blue dance outfit, which for some reason she was wearing over her regular clothes. She also was wearing a ton of costume jewelry — including, she informed me, a diamond ring.
I grabbed some paper towels and tried to get the polish off. I refrained, however, from using Windex.
When it was obvious that my efforts were hopeless, Lilly sat back down and said, “Now paint my nails, Poppie.”
I did another good job.
“It’s your turn,” said Lilly, announcing that she was going to paint my fingernails.
She dipped a brush into the bottle of pink polish, or what was left of it, and smeared a gob onto my right thumbnail. I used a paper towel, or what was left of them, to wipe excess polish off the thumb itself.
Then Lilly dipped a brush into the bottle of purple polish and painted the nail on my right index finger.
She alternated colors until I had a pink pinky.
“Now I’m going to do your left hand,” said Lilly, who repeated the process, except that she started with purple on my thumbnail and ended with the same color on my pinky.
“You look beautiful, Poppie!” Lilly gushed.
“Good job, Lilly!” declared Chloe, who went upstairs to give herself a beauty treatment with Sue’s makeup.
When Sue and Lauren got home, they marveled at my colorful nails.
“Oh, my God!” Sue exclaimed.
“I can’t believe this!” Lauren chimed in.
“What’s the matter,” I asked, “are you ladies jealous?”
Aside from failing to notice that Lilly’s chair was covered in nail polish, not all of which came off, I had a wonderful day at the spa.
“Next time, Poppie,” Lilly promised, “I’ll paint your toenails.”
Copyright 2021 by Jerry Zezima