Deb: All my life I have had crappy little nails. Genetics I guess. My Mom’s are the same. They crack and split. I have tried a myriad of products: hardeners, strengtheners, fancy creams, and cooking oil. And because my nails were always a mess, I got into a VERY bad habit of biting––nay, ripping the skin from around them. Sounds sexy, doesn’t it?
A grown woman ripping the skin off around her nails with her teeth. Worse part was that it became an unconscious activity. Having dinner with friends––ripping into my fingers. Business meeting––drawing blood. Being presented to the queen ... you get the picture. Our evenings in front of the TV were peppered with my husband’s voice saying, “Quit biting … Quit biting … Quit biting.” The sad thing is that I asked him to stay on me about it so I would stop! Didn’t work. I would go to bed with my fingers caked in Polysporin and covered in Band-Aids.
So, finally, I bit the bullet instead of my nails … and I got gel nails. Not long luxurious nails, but short, clean, neat nails with a pale pink polish on them. And you know what? They have changed fundamentally who I am. These nails have transformed me! With their magic qualities, they have shifted my DNA totally and I am now “nail woman”, a gal with confidence who brazenly points out various and sundry things with my manicured finger. Gone are the days of pointing to a menu item with my knuckles. I am constantly gazing at them proudly, all neat and polished, devoid of ripped, bloody skin! My hands and I have a whole new relationship. We are sympatico. We understand each other. We belong to each other. Up until my gel nails, I think my hands thought they were Frankensteined onto me, someone else’s freak of nature, not mine. But not now, uh uh. They are proud to belong to me and I to them. So I just have one question. What the hell do I do about the inside of my mouth that is newly ripped to rat poo? Gel lips anyone?
Barbara: I have nail/hangnail issues too. Not like Deb, with the antiseptic creams and cast-like casings wrapped around bleeding stubs. But, like Deb, when my nails look nice, I feel like, well, maybe not a million bucks, but certainly a solid 99. A little sassy, a bit more confident, a little prettier. And if I do polish my nails, I definitely pick at my hangnails a lot less. So, again like Deb, a little effort makes a lot of difference.
But here’s the rub: I am way too cheap for gel nails––not only do you have the initial expense, but they have to be kept up every couple of weeks. On the other hand (couldn’t resist), I am too frustrated with “old-fashioned” nail polish––you apply it, it looks great, then two days later the edges are chipping, the finish is fading, and now you just look like you either don’t give a shit, or like there’s some strange fungal disease eating away at your nail beds. Oh, and the interminable hour of waiting for the application (or applying it yourself) and then the drying, where even turning the pages of a trash magazine becomes major surgery. I love me a good spa treatment, but manicures are just torture for me. Take my hands away, take my mind with them!
Makes me wistful for the days when I sucked my thumb for stress relief … Was that so bad, I ask you? It didn’t destroy my nails, fingers, or skin. It didn’t beg infection to winnow its way into bleeding cracks. And I never did it in front of people! Why did my parents insist on stopping me?!
Anyway, I will say this: Deb’s nails look GORGEOUS! And I am cheap and jealous, jealous, JEALOUS.