I always assumed I would have beautifully manicured nails when I became a grownup.
“Your hands say so much about you,” women’s magazines would warn, urging me to get weekly manicures or else, and I, a teenager, an eager consumer of those magazines, believed them. Dyed hair, manicured nails and high heels were what separated hopelessly unfashionable women from the stylish ones. Looking at my chipped nails, I knew I couldn’t afford weekly professional manicures – but someday I would.
As a college student, still lacking the funds to pay for professional beauty services, I stopped doing my own nails and went for the no-nonsense, cut short, bare nails look. Even when I started working as a professor’s assistant and making some money, my nails remained bare. Law school was hard and required lots of work – I just didn’t have the time to sit at a stupid salon leafing through women’s magazines, I reasoned.
But deep inside, I knew that someday, I would get a weekly manicure and would finally be the polished, successful woman I was always meant to be.
When I joined the workforce and started making real money (finally!), there were really no more excuses. So I attempted growing my fingernails and getting a weekly manicure. But I soon found out that (a) Long nails are the enemy of contact lenses; (b) long nails are the enemy of fast typing; (c) The 20-minute wait until a manicure dries completely is torture; and (d) Manicured nails don’t last a week (at least not for me). Under the best-case scenario, they last maybe a day or two.
So I stopped getting manicures and went back to my rebellious, college-days look of short, bare nails.
I am forty years old. I am most definitely grown up. I have money. If I don’t do manicures now, I probably never will. I feel bad about it, and yet I can’t bring myself to get regular manicures. My bare nails look bad, but manicured nails are just not me.
My friend has beautifully manicured nails, and as much as I’d like to say that she’s stupid and lazy and does nothing all day, I have to admit that she’s brilliant and smart and accomplished and does plenty of things every day apart from sitting at a stupid salon and getting her nails done.
I envy her beautiful nails.
Yesterday I noticed that my nails were becoming rather long. I went to the bathroom and picked up a nail file, deciding that the very least I could do was file my nails instead of just chop them off as I usually do. It took exactly four filing motions, back and forth, back and forth, for me to realize that I did not have the patience for even that. I chopped them off.
But I refuse to let go of the dream.
Some day, when I’m *really* grown up, I just know I’ll have perfectly manicured nails.