I’ve been biting my nails for as long as I can remember. I blame my mother. I mean, I don’t remember making a conscious decision about whether or not to gnaw my nails, but she did… and she was my role model, right? The first time I noticed that I was a “biter” was in first grade. It was picture day, and my arch nemesis/future best friend had a perfect pink manicure. Her mom had helped her draw hearts on her tiny little tips. I darted off the school bus that day, skipping the last two steps and sprinting into the house. I took a bottle of cheap, sticky blue polish I’d gotten from the “10 Things for 10 Dollars” sale at Claires and began gooping it on my nails. And half my knuckles, for that matter. I’ve always had great handwriting, and I’ve always been an above-average art student… but I’ve always been terrible at painting my nails. When I open I bottle of polish, I am optimistic. I approach my left-hand thumb like Michaelangelo mapping out the Sistien Chapel. But by the time I make it to the ring finger I’m bored, and I attack my right hand like I’m running late for an important meeting, shaking whether or not I’ve had five cups of black coffee that day (which I usually do).I simply lack the patience to do a good job. One coat isn’t enough, but waiting for two or three to dry one at a time in unbearable. I slather it on, smearing half on my skin as I try to even it out. Base coat… what’s that? There are women who actually take the time to lay a foundation? And top coat? Forget it… I can hardly wait for the color to dry before using my hands. I bump or rub against something 90 % of the time before it dries anyway.
And don’t even get me started on nail salons. Manicures HURT. Okay, I’ve only had acrylic nails three times in my life, so sue me. But they were incredibly painful, from the filing to the way the little Asian man squeezed my hand and said, “Relax!” to attempting to wash my face and scratching my cheek open. Pedicures are even worse because they tickle.
So it comes as no surprise that when I scroll through Pinterest and see 15 uploads of manicures, my face gets hot. I’m not just annoyed, I’m insecure and embarrassed. Even the most amateur of french tips sends me over the edge. I hate you and your perfect nails, because I’M JEALOUS. How in the hell did you draw cherry blossoms with a toothpick?
From one look at my Instagram, you’d think all my friends work at professional spas, with their trendy Crackle and high-end Ombre techniques. Then here I am, putting on a simple shade of pink. One layer… and I scratched my leg and smeared some on my calf before it even started to dry. I bought Essie to try to fit in.
I guess my short nails have always made me somewhat of an outsider. I’ll never be that extremely girly girl who can’t stand getting her polish chipped. I don’t even know what it is like to break a nail. The few times I had fake nails were for prom and senior pictures… and I couldn’t even open the kitchen cupboards.
But the thing is that I guess I’m true to myself. Fake nails aren’t exactly fake boobs, but they’re still foreign to me. So here’s a shout out to all the stubby-manicured girls… there’s hope for us yet. It’s called Sally Hansen stickers.