Especially in winter.
Well… Always, really, though I do manage to have brief periods where they’re definitely less terrible than they are now.
See, I was a nail biter as a little kid. My mom bought some kind of revolting chemical concoction designed to taste so bitter that it’d keep my nails out of my mouth, but it lasted about one or two nail-biting attempts before it’d rubbed off enough to keep me from tasting it. When I was a young teen, she’d give me bizarre thought exercises to get me to break the habit, like, telling me to imagine holding a baby and admiring their tiny hands, with nails as beautiful and perfect as my (purely hypothetical) own.
When I was a little older, I figured the best way to keep my nails unbitten was to keep them properly maintained– if they looked nice, and I’d invested money and effort into keeping them that way, I’d be less likely to allow myself to jank them all up. I got into nail art, drawing complicated designs, adding infuriatingly tiny gems, buying nail decals by the ream. I had acrylics put on professionally exactly once, but the bizarrely flexible, paper-thin state of my nails after taking them off kept me from ever trying it again. Keeping my nails all prettified definitely inhibited me from nibbling at them, up until I ended up working for the lab. (As it turns out, chemicals, soil, and opening jars all day don’t play nice with nails. Even gloved ones.) When I could no longer be arsed to keep them polished, I decided buffed and clean was good enough. After sealing the deal by planting a clove of garlic in a pot with a slip of paper describing the bad habit I wanted to break, and called it good.
Now, even though my handiwork is far less labor-intensive than it used to be, a combination of paint, hard water, and Diamox side-effects means they’re looking a little… rough, to say the least. I’d like to be able to keep them nice, but neuralgia makes it tricky to manipulate polish brushes and some of the compounds in conventional nail polish have me a little skeeved. I’ve seen plenty of low-VOC, “5 free,” and even all-natural polishes, but I can just imagine the kind of mess my hands would end up in if I tried putting polish on with nerve pain and Diamox tingles. I’d look like I just bludgeoned a clown to death.
Sometimes I justify it by saying, “Well… I use my hands for stuff!” It’s like all of those cute Pinterest DIY tutorials, all 50 Ways to Upcycle Books Into Twee Crap Nobody Needs. Yes, a pendant lamp made of chicken wire and kraft paper might look nice in theory, but that kraft paper is going to be a dusty, spotty mess after coming within ten feet of actual human people who aren’t Pottery Barn models (twenty feet if there are children). My nails, be they ever so manicured, are going to look like crap the second I have to try scrubbing matte medium and pumice gel out from under them. What’s can be taken off and re-applied frequently without making my nails worse?
… Do they make little-kid peel off polish for grownups?