Until quite recently, the fashion world has pretty much recognized only one shape of fingernail as being en vogue: Neatly filed, short, and downright square. All other lengths were reserved for, in my mind, mythical, longer-nailed renegades like Flo-Jo and my mother. But not me--no, I went cautiously along with the fash pack, clipping my nails (or let's be honest, picking them) diligently so that the whites barely extended past the edge of my fingertips. Life, including my nails, was simple. But simple is boring, right?
Which helps to explain the reason I was so totally enamored with Lana Del Rey when I first saw her early this year. It wasn't her overripe lips that intrigued me (though it is hard not to stare), it was her talon-like nails: Super long, pointy, feminine, impractical, amazing--and soon to be plastered over Subway stations, billboards, and shopping malls alike in H&M's fall/winter campaigns. But LDR wasn't the only style-conscious celeb to nail this trend: As if by magic (or acrylic), Rihanna, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga all began flaunting what some have deemed "stiletto nails." And I needed them too.
So I strengthened (ta, Nail Life Revitalizer!). And I polished. I filed. I Instagram'd. I waited. And waited. A lot. I Instagram'd even more. And eventually, they grew.
Now here I sit, long-nailed and mostly loving life, though my daily existence has changed more than I ever could've envisioned on that fateful day just six short weeks ago. What used to be the primo part of my bedtime routine--taking out my contact lenses--has become more of a stabbing war waged between my digits and my cornea, often resulting in my lenses reluctantly (and dryly... so, so dryly) staying put overnight.
Typing on my Macbook (which, der, is a massive part of my job) now more often results in approximately five million more clicks of the 'delete' button to correct my innumerable typos--Steve Jobs did not design these keyboards with talons in mind. Today it took me three tries to type the word ottle. I mean blttlr. Erm.... bottle. Which was obviously in reference to nail varnish. Gah.
I wouldn't be surprised if everyone around me at any given time would kill to take a clipper to these bad boys--nail tapping has become sort of a hobby, second only to growing my nails, of course! It's such a joyful sound: Clickity-clickity-click! I'm smiling just thinking about it! Actually, no--I'm smiling because I'm doing it right now! Fun long nail fact: The great Dolly Parton actually devised the rhythm bit of "9 to 5" by clicking her nails together. Now just try to refute the awesomeness of that little morsel.
And manual labor? Ha! I click my nails at the thought. I actually moved apartments a week ago with nary a break--though a slight chippage did occur a few nights later whilst rearranging my furniture. The thought of that happening now makes my fingers tremble. Seriously--I live in absolute fear of breaking a nail. Even washing my hair has become an ordeal--that's what dry shampoo is for, right? Retrieving tiny objects from flat surfaces? Wouldn't have thought so. My artfully acquired Draw Something skills? It's like I never had 'em. And tapping in my pin number at the check out line? No thanks, I'll do credit.
But for all the life-strife my high-maintenance nails have caused me of late, I'm not sure I can ever go back to nail normalcy. Trust me, I think about it a lot. Can one care for an infant with talons? Will my future include gardening (if I ever have a yard, that is)? Could the cavity of my ultra-long thumbnail soon double as a tiny terrarium? These are things that I'll just have to dedicate more thought to when the time comes. Nail perfection comes at a price.
One thing's for sure: Men love the mani. No, seriously--I don't know why, but they do. One guy friend went so far as to call them 'sexy.' I know, really? I was shocked. Whether it's a weird mom-plex or my newly honed back scratching talents, I really can't be sure. But I'm not complaining--and neither can they when I inevitably end up crying, crippled on the floor over split nails. Though fingers crossed I never, ever need to.
[Ed. note: Nora, let this be a warning to you.]