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    Several years ago, I rode in a taxi with a woman. Both of us were traveling to the airport. She exited first, and as she shut her door, I heard a sound resembling talons raking. Then I observed what appeared to be claw-like appendages scraping across the automobile window.

    Ack! I knew at that precise moment that the velociraptor from Jurassic Park had finally arrived to kill me… Then I noticed that these claws were exquisitely formed, fire-engine red, and did not appear to be dripping with blood.
    Could they be that woman’s nails, I wondered?

    If your fingernails are so long that they produce scrabbling sounds when you pick up a pen or type on a computer, they are too long!

    If your nails are excessively long, you must invent new ways to button your clothes.

    If your nails are so long that when you hold a hamburger, half of it becomes embedded under them, they are…


    Oh, I’m sure your nail technician thinks she’s adorable as she trims your cuticles with those miniature scissors. Or maybe she’s the type to use a sander designed to file down nails—or your cuticles! In either case, there are a number of issues present.

    Cutting one’s cuticles excessively is a bad idea, to begin with. This skin is designed to prevent bacteria from entering the space between your skin and nails. When you remove your cuticle, you expose yourself to the risk of infection.

    Why are you bleeding, secondly? Your technician’s job is to trim and shape your nails, not your skin. Cuticles that bleed are unsightly, painful, and undermine the reason you went to the salon in the first place: to feel good about yourself and your appearance!


    Uh huh. So you visited a salon. It is possible that they spotted you from a mile away, deduced that you had just received a bonus, and convinced you that it was time to make you “extra pretty.”

    You went in for a French manicure but left with tri-colored nails with a vertigo-inducing design and more rhinestones than a pair of cowboy jeans from the 1980s.


    You returned to the unsanitary nail salon. The cost of a pedicure is only $20, you told yourself. A few weeks later, you notice that a few of your toenails have taken on an odd yellow hue and a crumbly appearance.

    Hmm. You’ve managed to acquire a fungal nail infection!

    In addition to being notoriously difficult to treat, fungal nails are also unsightly. Let’s avoid that shady nail salon, even if they advertise the sale of a lifetime, include a neck massage, or play your favorite talk show.


    Oh, a new shipment has arrived, the nail technician informs you. All new shades. Glossy! Classy! Just as you prefer it. And you’re imagining eggshell or iridescent pearl, and the color on the nail swatches is beautiful.

    Then the nail technician begins applying this substance to your nails, and it looks like vomit? It is dull, lumpy, and appears to have a radioactive green afterglow when illuminated. What are these? Some old batch of polish discovered in the back room?

    However, the nail technician keeps promoting it, you’re running late for another appointment, and the next thing you know, you’re leaving with a baby vomit-colored manicure.

    And rather than proudly holding open a door or typing a letter, you feel the need to hide your hands behind an oversized purse?


    Some of your nails ended up resembling those of Eva Longoria, while others resembled those of a diligent court typist? Then you were duped into acquiring one of the dreaded scourges of the nail salon: an uneven nail.

    Perhaps your nail technician was on the phone with her baby daddy. Or it was precisely at that time on The View when Whoopi Goldberg made a sarcastic remark. Whatever it was, your nail technician lost focus on the task at hand. And you did the same, to be fair. You were contemplating what to prepare for dinner, whether you really need to replace the back tire, and why the electric bill is so absurdly high this month. In any case, you left the nail salon with each nail looking as if it had a mind of its own and perhaps belonged on the other hand?


    Have you ever gotten your nails done, left the house to go shopping, and returned home to find your nails chipped?

    If so, you have likely encountered the dreaded acrylic (or gel) nail.

    Certainly, some responsibility may rest with you, the wearer. If you are particularly hard on your nails, using them to pry open lids or drumming them on tabletops, you are almost certain to experience chipping. (They are intended to be tough, but not indestructible!)

    On the other hand, you paid a considerable sum for these items! That could have bought groceries. Perhaps a blouse? The money has been thrown out the window, never to be seen again.


    Ok, you’re busy. And between doctor’s appointments, hair appointments, and dropping off your children for (where did you leave your children? ), you may be too busy to remember to do your nails. But when you begin to notice a strangely colored crescent of natural nail peeking out from behind your fake nails, it’s time to act. Either you must give up or return to the salon for new extensions. Or get real, as in with your natural nails. Because the hybrid appearance is not occurring.


    It’s a difficult habit to break (possibly more difficult than breaking a nail), but bitten nails are not fashionable. In addition to appearing unprofessional, this behavior can also be unsanitary. Who knows what microorganisms lurk beneath those bitten nails?

    Using a bitter-tasting polish is a time-honored method for breaking this habit. It’s like biting into a Tide Detergent Pod when you try to chew on your nails. Yuck! (And no, you shouldn’t eat those either.)


    You inadvertently left the house while wearing your own nails! No nail polish, gel, varnish, or hair extensions. Just you. Moreover, guess what? It is acceptable and not actually an error. Sometimes, you must simply allow your nails to breathe and be themselves.

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