My Manicurist Asked if I was Catholic

And here I thought the flashing neon sign over my head screamed “Protestant!”

It took me off guard. My two friends from college came into town for my birthday and surprised me with a rare trip to the nail salon. The three of us were lined up getting our nails done, gabbing about marriage and children. They were poking fun at me for wanting a large brood, and I was asked by my manicurist how many kids I had and wanted. We all went through the numbers, and I told him I wanted at least four kids, and six would be a nice big number. He (no, he’s not gay!) responded with the “how will you pay for college?” question. I brushed it aside with confidence in my unborn children’s ability to get scholarships. Then we more seriously discussed cutting corners to make ends meet. I think I proceeded with a rather assured air, showing little anxiety in how we would make ends meet. I found this man shared many of our current habits, such as owning a single car and having no cable or home phone.

Then he asks me, “Are you Catholic?”

I just blurted out, “Yes.” I had to correct myself and tell him I was converting and hadn’t joined the Church yet. Then, “Why do you ask, because I want a lot of kids?” He said no. He knows Catholics have the grace of God in these things. He recognizes it because he’s Catholic. He said some other things, which I admit I didn’t understand all of due to his accent (Chinese), but the conversation died out since I was stunned enough the only intelligent thing I had to ask was which parish he attended.

Now here I am, with my freshly donned crucifix, a requested birthday present from Chris. I am becoming Catholic, not in an intellectual or spiritual decision kind of way, but with respect to who I am. My identity, the life I’m living, the decisions I’m making are screaming “Catholic!” Throw birth control out the window, welcome as many children God blesses you with, and live a life within your means whatever those means may be, and there’s not much else people can account for it with other than your Faith.

12 Responses to My Manicurist Asked if I was Catholic

  1. cyurkanin says:

    Post of the year so far for me. It’s wonderful to be recognized as obviously Catholic without even realizing it beforehand. My parents each had 11 and 12 brothers and sisters, I’ve only got 4 siblings, and it dwindles further yet with me, having only 2 children of my own (though not for lack of praying for 10). I hope you get your six, God bless you.

  2. cyurkanin says:

    Happy Birthday by the way!


    Happy Birthday

    Welcome Home

  4. Stacey says:

    Thanks for the birthday wishes, guys πŸ™‚


    It is wonderful to be recognized as Catholic, and surprising for me πŸ™‚ Who knows? Maybe there’s eight more children waiting for you. With the way my son (almost a year) keeps me busy with his death-defying stunts, I’m wondering how I’ll be able to handle six! But like my manicurist said, God will give us grace in these things.

  5. cyurkanin says:

    LOL defintitely not 8 more, we’re already getting old here – we’d be lucky to have one more, we started kind of late. You are so blessed to have a son too, enjoy every broken bone and pet snake and dirt-fight while you can. I think about it all the time, no boys born in my family at all amongst me or my siblings… sigh.

  6. stirenaeus says:

    Ha. I get questions like from people — students and colleagues — and it’s rather uncomfortable. But good for you:)

  7. lenetta says:

    AAHHH the internet ate my comment. I’m sure this one won’t be nearly as witty and amusing.

    I too wondered if I should be breaking out the ticker tape parade yet after reading this post. :>) I think the burning question is, how did it feel when you simply said “yes”?

    And since I’m known for providing all kinds of link love, here’s one I recently stumbled across, a former Evangelical now Catholic. I especially thought of the situation you just went through when I read his comments policy.
    I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around the design of his blog but I think I might just jump in the archives and flop around there a bit.

    Happy belated birthday, and I hope this is the best year yet for you! Mine is coming up next week, and I have some good, hopeful feelings about this year . . .

  8. agellius says:

    A great story and I heartily recommend having as many children as you can. Like someone else here my wife and I started late and were only able to have two. More than likely we could have had at least one more except that we felt at the time like we weren’t “ready” for the second so soon after the first. But now that it’s too late we regret not having as many as we could, and trusting God for the grace to be “ready” for them. So I say this to as many people as I can. : )

  9. Stacey says:

    Yes! Alive, but barely! We got a new beagle puppy two Sundays ago, and I’ve barely been able to check emails since. Who knew that beagles were the neediest of all dogs? Between the younguns, the puppy, and seven birthdays this month, I’m feeling pretty flat out. But things should slow down here soon πŸ™‚ I actually sat down to type out a comment a few days ago, but got whisked away by kids/puppy/dinner/etc. and the computer shut down, losing my comment forever. So here’s another go:

    So how do you respond when people ask you that? An awkward pause and change of subject or some kind of waffley “maybe”?

    It was pretty automatic to respond “yes”. It’s becoming a part of my identity now. I’m actually becoming kind of prejudice against Protestants now, which is a bad thing. I have a hard time recognizing their strengths, and tend to focus on the weaknesses. I don’t want to be like that! So I’m trying to stop. Happy birthday to you too, btw!

    I definitely want to keep having kids as long as God gives us the grace to do so! Not quite “ready” for the third just yet, I’m feeling awfully exhausted right now, but we’re young yet, we have time for many more. I already forsee my empty nest angst twenty five years from now.

  10. stirenaeus says:

    I suppose I fudge a little, talk about nature and grace, throw some gobbedlygook their way I don’t really believe. Which raises the integrity question.

  11. Stacey says:

    Well, there are good reasons to lie, such as if a Nazi asks you during WWII “Are there Jews hiding in your attic?” and you say “No.” You have a difficult situation, with a lot on the line, but that will pass. It’ll be good when you can be open about your beliefs.

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