#014–Why do some women do the super-long fingernails thing?

My Valentine’s Day present to myself when I left the coffee shop last night was an on-a-whim visit to a manicure/pedicure place. I’d never had one before, but considering I’m trying to return to Jiu-Jitsu soon, I thought it’d be nice of me not to accidentally cut anybody with my nails because of the harsh treatment I’ve given them over the years. So, I went, and got them worked on and painted, and even felt a bit girly (I stink at painting my own nails).

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My choice looks like the “artistic” one. I’m an earthy greens-blues-browns girl.

The manicurist said I had nice nails and that they actually weren’t as bad as I thought; they just needed a little help so I could keep ’em up better. That made me feel good, since I remembered reading how nails can actually indicate what’s wrong with a person.

Any little thing to help my personal health care plan along.

But it made me wonder, also, why some women have really long fingernails and keep them that way. My definition of “long” by the way, is so long that they can’t stay straight and begin to curl (rather than just curve, going for that 90 degree straight down look).

In one of my jobs, I sometimes help take fingerprints and I’ll see some women come in with nails that are like curling claws. I don’t know if they’re real or fake, but I get so concerned that I’m going to break them if I apply too much pressure to get a usable print. And when they really curl, you see this dark hook above the finger when the print is rolled and it messes with the result some of the time.

I personally find it aggravating, just because I’m so concerned with ruining their nail job and getting yelled at for it or breaking them. That’s the curse of having to use your hands to work with others’ hands.

Admittedly, my own nails are rather short. I can’t keep them terribly long because some nails grow so much longer than others and they never seem to go at the same rate. They rarely get past the end of my finger before I end up destroying them or breaking them. Nails are just something that happens to be on my finger, I don’t give them much thought–which is why I went to the manicurist last night to get me a head-start in taking care of them and strengthening them again. I don’t want super long nails, the way I hold my pens and the way I type would make that tricky, but I do want them healthy and to know I can keep them from breaking.

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THAT’s the length I’d go for…

Now, from what I’ve read, historically, long nails on women made them more “feminine”: slender, longer, daintier, etc. I get that, especially since the higher up you were, the less manual labor you’d be subjected to doing, and it meant the longer you could make them. You’d be breaking them right and left in the “old days.”

54ffd3ca3cd72-nail-polish-facts-orig-master-1My own are on the chubby, short side, and longer nails do give the illusion of slender hands…or would, if I lost a lot of weight first (hee hee). I seem to lose weight in my hands and feet first–go figure.

When I was fantastically bored, I did have nail polish on hand and I’d try to paint them nice. It never lasted long because I suck at waiting for my nails to dry, but I got some good painting ideas. Now I paint on a canvas instead and paint them by accident with acrylic splashes (nothing a little GoJo cleaner and a nail scrubber can’t handle–hee hee).

So, from a traditional gendered standpoint, I can understand having long nails for femininity. But where’s the line between “feminine” and “art project?” Some women REALLY get into the super long nail thing, and they like it. Some use their nails as canvases and get really creative with the paint jobs and such. I just know it’s not my cup of tea. While doing a bit of research, I stumbled across one blogger that really addressed some of this issue in defense of long nails (worth a look).

I myself just can’t see it. When they’re fake, I really wonder about it. Natural nails that are long, but are healthy and don’t break easily, okay…I guess. But all the money and time going into fake nails? I have to wonder about that. I just wonder how many are fake nails when they get so long they almost curl…they don’t look real, even if they are.

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Yeah, not for me. Too girly and cat-fighty.

Though, remember, I’m rarely looking carefully enough to try and discern the difference. I’m just not that girly to know.

I do wonder how their boyfriends or significant others, for example, like the nails. I’ve always wondered about that. I myself just know I couldn’t do it–I’m so clumsy I’d worry about breaking them and poking someone in the eye.

As a badass-in-training, I’m sure the instructors would be happy if I didn’t poke someone’s eye out or cut them on the mat with my claws, so I’m content to let the nail thing go on my end and keep ’em short. Just long enough for health and utility (I like ’em useful enough to pull staples out in a pinch, or tap on a window for attention).

So, definitely not for me, but definitely for some people out there. I still scratch my head (with my blunted claws), trying to figure out where the line between feminine and art project exists. Hey, I’m all for artsy. I don’t bug people about tattoos or their choice in clothing. It’s just, you use your hands ALL THE TIME.

I just wonder…

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