PyCon 2013: Mani Party Wrap-up!

25 March 2013

It all started off as a joke.

Flush with my new obsession, nail polish, I told everyone on Twitter that I was totally going to bring some polish along so we could all do our nails at PyCon. I wasn't really going to do it. Who would come? It's not like PyCon was a fashion show. We had to give people explicit instructions to take showers. This is not a mani/pedi crowd.

People responded, though. Yes! Please! Bring some polishes! And yes, people. About half of the people on Twitter asking me to go ahead and do it were men. Apparently, more of my guy friends like nail polish than I thought. Hell, I was surprised most of the women liked nail polish. At conferences, I almost always saw bare, stubby nails.

So... I started planning. I took my ever-patient husband's poker set and turned it into a travel case. I picked out colors. I put them back and picked out completely new colors. I got more nail polish in and had to swap again. I got a BOF room reserved. I blogged about it.

I was sure that no one would show up.

I was wrong.


Approximately 20 people seated around a long table, all doing their nails and talking.

I didn't count how many people showed up. My guess is that it was somewhere over twenty, but I was spending most of my time finding bottles and being very, very excited.

A manicurist setting up her station

At the last minute, I got contacted by a sponsor. A sponsor! StyleSeat wanted to bring a professional nail artist so this didn't have to be a completely DIY affair.

Doug Napoleone supplied us with the cutest monkey nail blow dryers I've ever seen. We had a few of these left, so gave them away at the PyLadies booth. A Survey Monkey booth guy was enamored with the last one, so I'm wondering if we'll have those sponsored next year as well.

A woman drying her nails with a tiny monkey nail dryer.

I had planned for the event to last an hour, but I forgot that not everyone is a twitchy freak who does theirs every day (like me). I can do my nails in ten minutes, but most people are going to take way longer. We also had a fairly steady stream of people coming in and out of the room.

We also had a good number of men show up. I had posted a warning, that coming in meant you were getting your nails done, but they all seemed to come in with an idea of exactly what color they were looking for. I don't think I saw a single clear coat leave the room.

A thumb with the Python logo on it.

In fact, I am now insanely jealous of the infamous Gregory P. Smith. He came in and declared that he was going to do the Python logo on his nails. Pfft, I thought, I've been trying to do that for months. Good luck, dude. What did he do? A perfect Python logo. Okay, fine. I'm going to assume skills like that are why he works at Google.

Next year

I would love to do this again next year. Heck, I might already have a sponsor lined up. I will do a few things differently:

  • Have a room with ventilation. I think I have short term memory loss from the fumes
  • Budget more time! We obviously weren't done in an hour.
  • Make sure to warn anyone coming after us that there may be fumes. A BOF was right after us, and I felt horrible about accidentally booting them from their room.
  • Pack a few more quick-dry top coats. We kept running out!
  • Remember to bring labels for people who bring nail polish. I ended up with a few extras in my kit. If they're yours, let me know! I'll Amazon you a replacement!

Other than that, I was shocked at how well it turned out. I'm looking forward to doing this again next year!


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