Tuesday, September 6, 2011

nailed it!

I was once a terrible nail-biter. Perhaps I still am, in the same way that teetotallers are just on-the-wagon alcoholics. I still have bouts of nervous or boredom-induced biting, but I have managed to find relief in nail polish.

It’s the simplest of answers, but it was not easy to get started. When you have stumpy, ragged fingernails from years of biting, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to them by painting them in brilliant hues. I suppose you could ease your way in by starting with clear or a neutral colour but I have never been one to do things by halves. I was also somewhat bullied into fixing my habit by the bf, who thinks nail biting is a filthy habit and took it upon himself to smack my fingers away from my mouth. (Not in an abusive way – more like how you might swipe a cat’s paws away from your newly upholstered couch.)

So I started buying more nail polish and it opened up a fabulous world for me. Cheaper than clothing and make up, nail polish is a quick fix for my other habit – fulfilment via purchase. There are a million shades to suit your mood, outfit, skintone – whatever – and it’s easily interchangeable provided you have about an hour in which to sit still.

This is probably the hardest part for me. I’m a bit of a fidget. Or someone will pull out a bag of chips and however delicately I try to remove a tasty treat I’ll always end up smudging colour across the bag or studding my fresh nails with chippy crumbs. I have also been known to make the fatal mistake of doing my nails to close to going out, in a last-minute ditch for perfection, in which case you promptly smear or scuff one as you perform the outfit-change frenzy dance. But the worst scenario is the sudden need to go to the toilet 5 minutes after you’ve finished. Guaranteed destruction of at least one hand, no matter how delicately you pull up your pants. It might humour you to know I once called for bf to come and do it for me. Ahhh couple life. Nothing is sacred.

I must say I take a lot more notice of people’s nails these days. There is this woman who gets on my bus who is one of those “not particularly attractive but makes up for it with a perfectly preened appearance” types you sometimes have to admire. But then she was standing and holding on to the seat in front of me and I noticed her nails! They were bitten down so far past her fingertips the skin appeared to actually be growing over the top of the nail. Disgusting! My opinion of her quickly changed. She might be able to keep up the charade up top, but as soon as you caught a glimpse of her hands any admiration was out the door. How vile! I thought. And then I realised that once (albeit to a lesser extent) that could have been me.

So now it’s a part of my regular routine. I have a cupboard full of colours (many of them ridiculously similar in shade, as I am often drawn to the same colours but seem to think if it’s a different brand it might somehow be different). The other end of the routine however is to pick it all off a few days later. Usually while bored at work. If you get enough layers you can just about peel the whole nail off in one piece and it is OH SO satisfying. Probably not the best for the integrity of the nail, but I soon get it covered up with the next shade. God forbid that I do not fix things up within the next 24 hours, because a bare nail is prone to inspection, picking, and eventual biting.

This season’s colours are essentially springy, mostly pastel shades and with quite a matte finish. It certainly stands out. I’m normally one for a darker colour, but I have found a fondness for bright oranges – perhaps because it is a colour I wouldn’t wear in any other case. It’s all brightness and fun and spring/summer ready, so leave the winter hues behind and make a splash in pastel!

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