I have a confession – I have short fingernails and I’ve never been to a nail bar. This might sound unfeasible to some of you younger gals but nails were not a ‘thing’ when I was a lass. This post is about how I’ve managed to reach my fifties without the help of a nail technician.
I’ve often wished that my nails were a classic filbert shape. If I’d been blessed with naturally pretty nails I would, no doubt, have wanted to show them off. I could have spent the greater part of my life pushing back my cuticles. Nature gave me nails which are thin and misshapen; some curl and some flare outwards as they grow. As a result, while I don’t bite or try to hide them, I don’t draw attention to them either. Plus I have a love of gardening and a passion for cleaning which are both bywords for nail abuse. I keep mine neatly trimmed with nail scissors and leave it at that.
Every two weeks I visit my mother for the weekend; she is in a care home. One of the rituals I perform is to trim her nails with clippers she keeps in her gold wallet manicure set. She has the same strong and nicely-shaped nails as her sisters. The nail corners need to be filed to take away the sharp edges but I don’t paint them because this hides the dirt that accumulates beneath. I spend more time on my mother’s nails than I do my own. If I’d inherited fingernails through my mother’s family things might have been very different.
I may want better nails but I don’t lust after long fingernails. I’m far too practical. I can admire a well-groomed hand and a neat french manicure but very long nails make me shudder. I’ve considered this and come up with 10 reasons why I prefer short fingernails:
- Claws. Deep down I associate long nails with the wicked witch in fairy tales. There is always the threat that she will use her talons to scratch out the eyes of her victims.
- Grace. Being impatient I hate the awkward, exaggerated and slow-motion hand movements that are the result of women no longer in touch with their fingertips. I once had to watch for ten minutes as a small bottle of perfume was gift wrapped in front of me. Each fold was negotiated with the clumsiness of a four year old and the sellotape dispenser was treated with a caution normally reserved for a circular saw. Useless.
- Agility. Short fingernails easily negotiate everyday tasks: washing dishes, kneading bread, threading a needle, changing a tyre, wiping a bottom.
- Equality. As a feminist I want to show off everything I CAN do – not purposely limit my dexterity.
- Hygiene. Short nails are easier to keep clean and I hate dirty fingernails. Just what lurks under all that nail polish?
- Time. I can barely find the time to remove my mascara before bed so how would I find time to maintain a proper manicure?
- Touch. I love the sense of feeling in my fingertips. The pleasure of tickling the silky soft fur behind my dog’s ears is too good to give up.
- Work. I spend my life on a keyboard or holding a pen. As a designer I want as much control over my fingers as possible without a bit of nail, or acrylic, getting in the way.
- Self defence. Try making a fist. In the unlikely event you need to punch someone it’s gonna be a whole lot easier with short fingernails.
- Preservation. Have you seen the mess acrylic nails can make of your real nails? Mine are weak and flaky enough thanks.
If you have a ‘virgin’ story to share please tell us about it in the comments below. Apologies to anyone offended by pictures of my work-a-day hands!