Nailed It

Dear readers, I am distracted by my hands again, but it’s for totally new and previously undiscovered reasons.

Nails currently the color of merlot. They match my purple Star Wars t-shirt.

For many that know me, the surprise here is obvious. For those that don’t – this is me getting my first professional manicure ever, losing my manicure virginity the day before my 31st birthday. And the reason I have never manicured (casually or professionally) is… well, partially because it doesn’t really come up much, but moreover, due to the fact that I bite my nails like a starving velociraptor all the time. This is the longest my delicious, uneaten nails have been in a decade.

And I’m not really sure how I feel about this.

Here are the pros:

The tactile sensation of smooth nails is pretty cool. Also, my fingers/nail beds aren’t bleeding, which is pretty cool. And I know that when my nails are smooth, I’m less likely to bite and/or pick at them – danger zone is when there’s breakage, which is when I tend to fidget and fuss tear my fingers to pieces.

The cons: it is totally, completely, utterly impractical.

Professional manicure is expensive – that’s okay, I could just learn to do my own nails (presumably). Doing your nails takes time – that’s okay, I could find time (probably, somewhere, I guess). Nail polish chips – my baby manicure is three days old and already missing a piece of the pinky. And this is a relatively tame time of year, but I work with my hands – they are regularly getting abused by tools, ladders, lighting instruments, coworkers, the floor… there is a lot of room for this to keep happening.

Also, having my nails longer is marginally inconvenient for some things – typing has become a little weird and feels less like what I’m used to, and I know that my dexterity on the ukulele (which as a novice is already pretty limited) is cut back by my nails’ current length. My personal favorite realization – with my new fingernails the length they are, I am accidentally scratching scabs and bug bites open without realizing it, which sucks pretty massively. And that’s with a very, very minimal amount of nail length – there are some incredible creatures out there that type at respectable speeds with those curving dew-claw fingernails, and I just don’t get how that’s physically possible.

I also realize that many of the people who indulge in crazy long talons are people who do not work with their hands as much, and that probably explains the bulk of things.

I was hoping this would be experiment where there a clear yes thanks or no thank you to this as a practice in my life, but it’s just coming away as ehhh right now. I wanted to have some major revelation about what my nails mean to me as a physical manifestation of some higher feminine mystique thing – I’ve had pretty good luck with that so far, with the makeup and the bridal shower and the kids and stuff, right? But so far, my nails are still just my nails. I guess these things can’t all be special revelations.

They do look nice at present – the color’s about a shade darker than what I think I wanted (liked it with one coat, realized it was too dark on the second coat – rookie mistake), and as mentioned, it’s starting to chip, but it’s all shiny and smooth, and I can understand the appeal in that. I am also told that gel polish is possibly a worthwhile investment, but I’d want to look more into the pros and cons of each before deciding.

But one thing I do objectively like is that having this as a random, meaningless goal – this I will grow my nails out long enough to get them manicured for wedding goal – has given me a measure of control of what I know to be a bit of a gross and very distracting habit. I can’t tell you why I compulsively pick at my nails when they’re uneven; I know it’s a bad thing, but I have the damnedest time acting on that knowledge. My biggest test of will last week was when one of my nails got broken awkwardly, I couldn’t clip or file it down, and I had to force myself not to bite/eat/pick/peel/otherwise massacre it. For hours. Guys, I’m pretty sure that the labors of Hercules were less stressful. But I did it, and yeah, that sounds pretty small, but for me, it was a really big deal. And I felt like I’d gotten something done that I haven’t been able to do for a really long time.

I’m going to want to figure out a color for wedding nails at some point – it’ll probably end up being something fairly neutral, but who knows – might go crazy. Might experiment some more before then. If any of my local ladyfriends have a favorite wild and crazy (or non-wild-and-crazy) hue in their collection, message me – I’m game for trying out something new.

That’s about it. No special revelations. But it’s an interesting experiment.


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