Sun. Feb 17th, 2019

Meet The TTC Bus Driver Who Loves Nail Art

The Etobicoke-raised father of dual sons loves baseball, beer and U2, and boasts a nail recreation Cardi B herself would admire.

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TTC bus driver-turned-rising Instagram sensation Michael Maguire is at a Tibetan momo store near the Toronto Queensway Bus Division “saaavouring” dinner earlier than a night shift once I name him to arrange our interview. The -16 diploma climate appears to haven’t frozen his spark, and he proclaims he’s simply booked us matching manicure appointments for the next weekend. “Do you like burritos?” he asks me. “There’s a burrito place right down the street. We can make it a girls’ day.”

Last week, OCAD University scholar Brigit O’Neil tweeted concerning the gladdening encounter she’d had boarding a bus pushed by Maguire. “He told me he really liked my nails. He saw I was slightly confused by the compliment so offered his hand,” she wrote. “And let me tell you I did not expect to see a set of glamorous long pointed blue and silver nails encrusted with rhinestones.” Hundreds of retweets later, Maguire’s telephone continues to be buzzing with excited pals and colleagues writing to say they noticed his nails on the web. (Maguire can’t verify his telephone whereas he’s bodily within the driver’s seat, so he tends to every mountain of messages throughout breaks or after work.)

I arrive at Vanity Nail Bar, a busy salon with thrones for chairs and a vibrant pink storefront sign up Toronto’s Bloor West Village. If I hadn’t already scrolled by means of Maguire’s Instagram account, @ttcnails, and identified who I used to be searching for, I’d most likely not have assumed the 56-year-old man wearing routine dad-type denim, a black winter toque and a TTC logo-emblazoned sweater was my topic for the day. And I’ll not have anticipated to see Maguire grandly enter the salon to a refrain of pleasant greetings from the proprietor and technicians, then convivially plunk down in a princess chair and take away a small packet of independently procured nail equipment from his pocket. But days prior, I and Maguire’s 2000 different new Instagram followers, discovered that in reality this Etobicoke-raised father of dual sons, who loves baseball, beer and U2, boasts a nail recreation Cardi B herself would admire.

 

As Maguire and I settle in for our side-by-side nail appointments, I ask the manicurist for a reasonably easy matte black. Maguire’s imaginative and prescient is far more bold. He reveals a gallery of inspiration from inside his telephone, and meticulously discusses inventive course with Jean, the nail technician to whom he’ll relinquish creative management as quickly as they type out the necessities, most significantly: pink glitter on his under-nail. Jean grabs a small pair of plyers and begins clipping off the rhinestones that launched Maguire to fame. For three hours, she information, sands, coats and cures Maguire’s nails, lavishes them in builder gel — a phrase not misplaced on me given the cautious, elaborate building of all of it, plus the truth that Maguire is within the midst of a serious dwelling renovation venture along with his brother — then makes use of a wand and a pot of iridescent mud to remodel them into chrome. Maguire’s eyes fill with tears. (I nearly cry myself when Maguire tenderly particulars the pleasure of seeing his nails dazzle within the reflection of the bus window as he drives.) An extra nail technician assists within the work of reshaping his nails from almond to ballerina, as Maguire often winces resulting from a shoulder harm that makes the method lower than snug. Maguire’s chrome goals now dropped at life, Jean expertly applies dozens of rhinestones, chosen with the assistance of a number of different nail technicians, to his $150 palms.

“When I leave here I feel put together,” says Maguire. “I feel pretty. It’s like glitter exploding inside me.”

In 2013, Maguire suffered a damaged leg. Upon the elimination of his solid, a nurse prompt he get a pedicure to wash up his uncared for ft. He went for what was presupposed to a upkeep appointment — Maguire’s first — and left with the nails on his fingers and toes painted a rainbow of main colors. “Life-changing,” he says. “The pedicure was the gateway.” Maguire’s sons, 15-years-old on the time, have been unperturbed. Now 20, their fundamental nail-related concern is that their dad deserves extra Instagram followers.

When a photograph of Maguire’s nails ended up on Toronto leisure platform 6ixbuzz, he stated he felt like “a teenager being cyber-bullied”. Though Maguire identifies as straight, and as soon as even introduced a girl on a date to the nail salon, a lot of these feedback have been distressingly homophobic. Beyond that, Maguire says he has not skilled any demonstrably harmful confrontations. “You know what it is?”, he says. “It’s the look. If somebody loves my nails, they’ll inform me. If somebody thinks it’s bizarre, or is being judgmental, I get the look. Maybe I’m projecting. But you simply really feel it.”

Toward the top of the three-hour appointment, I understand that there have been no sideways glances or grimaces of denunciation at Maguire’s presence in a nail salon populated by ladies of various ages. As is typical of most nail salons, shoppers change fast pleasantries or don’t discover one another in any respect. When we later get burritos — this women’ day follows a strict itinerary — the millennials working the counter observe the Aurora Borealis on Maguire’s palms however provide no seen response. The different prospects are too centered on their very own plates to care concerning the contents of a stranger’s sleeves. (At the salon, one nail technician leaves her station to come back over and ask if he’s the one who works for the subway. She leaves then promptly returns with a tray of jewels for him to browse.)

 

Most males are detached, says Maguire, however his admirers are gender impartial general. One summer season, a contractor boarded a bus he was driving on Martin Grove Road and complimented Maguire’s French manicure. “From a guy you’d never expect it from”, he remembers. “This guy was covered in drywall. He’d just left the work site.” Maguire does admit that “The dating pool shrinks dramatically”, noting that many ladies assume his penchant for good nails signifies that he’s homosexual. “I think some [women] are a little thrown off by it,” he says. “So I put a picture of my nails on my Plenty of Fish profile. This way it’s not a surprise…But I’ve never quite understood our fascination with other people’s sexuality. Why are we so obsessed with that?” Last evening, he says, a girl on the bus advised him she admired his bravery. “I’m just being myself,” he says. “I’m not on a crusade. But if it puts a smile on anyone’s face, my job is done. At the same time, I don’t do this to be shy and reserved.”

“I’m a positive person by nature. Nothing but love, compassion and glitter,” says Maguire. “And right now I feel off the charts. I feel super alive. Heightened. It’s a natural high.”

As my very own manicure finishes, Maguire insists that I, too, get some flashy on my accent fingers. Not being the glitzy sort, at the least not within the sober mild of Sunday afternoon, I resist. But Maguire encourages me to desert the inhibitions stopping me from residing a lifetime of pizzazz. I run by means of a fast psychological roll name of who I’ll see this week —an editor I’ve by no means met earlier than, my class of fourth 12 months undergraduate college students, my professorial college colleagues, my therapist, who all the time notices my nails as a result of I as soon as bemoaned the cash I spend on look just for each heterosexual man I’ve ever dated to be oblivious to the labour of beautification. But if Maguire can showcase his shimmery talons on the steering wheel of a TTC bus earlier than an viewers of hundreds every day, I can lean in, too. (Now all I would like is extra.)

As an unrelated facet notice between bites, Maguire shares with me a gem of building knowledge earned by years of landscaping and residential renovations work: “You make your mistakes in the corner.” He is referring, in fact, to the literal nook, the place oddities and imperfections can be stored secluded. As Maguire heads off to a pub to observe the Super Bowl and I journey dwelling to bask within the luminosity of my new rhinestones, I can’t shake the gravity of it. Maguire’s message is to be your self wherever you go — defiantly, resplendently, unconventionally — not hidden in any nook.

“In the grand scheme of things, it’s so ridiculous”, he chuckles. “But it’s fun. And it makes me happy.”

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