Hard as Nails

Cecilia Mazumdar Stanger

As a nail biter, I miss out on the wonders of nail art. The insane quantity of nail-tutorial Youtube videos is a testament to the complexity of this genre of decoration.

My unfortunate relationship to nails extends to a childhood collection of clipping I kept in a flowery box. My family members discouraged this disgusting habit, so my specimens were found on the floor, not willingly shared. Maybe the fascination with other people’s nails was a product of my inability to grow them myself.

Visits to nail salons have always been awkward. During an elementary school birthday trip I couldn’t get a coat of color-changing polish without a few exasperated sighs and shaking heads.

Nail designers share tips and tricks online about cuticle health, while I am just trying to keep my own pincers bruise and scab free.

As a result, I woefully watch nail trends come and go.

While my painter’s palette is limited to solid colors, with a few sparkles, the current polish aisle is full of possibilities. Stickers, matte polish, microbeads, foils, piercings, and gradient and water marbling effects grace the nails of individuals with enough willpower to keep their hands out of their mouths.

Maybe it’s not so bad to be excluded from the claws club. Nail art has so many components: contouring and buffing, priming, painting, decorating, top coat, drying… it’s a process. My unhygienic nibbling saves a lot of time.

And however impressive, Katy Perry’s nail pictures on twitter are frequently laughable