In the last year, I have become one of many. I have begun to adore collecting little bottles full of bright colours and slathering them on the ends of my fingers. I adore choosing between those little bottles, between the glitter, the jellies, the creams. That’s right; I have an addiction to nail polish. This is my ode to nail polish.
My nails and I have had an on-off relationship over the years. I’m a nail biter and always have been. My mother didn’t really try and stop it because it was a rather involuntary thing I seemed to do while reading a book. The issue was I was always reading so I was always biting my nails. I can remember getting that weird child-safe nail polish that you could peel off. I have a very strong memory of buying mint green nail polish on a holiday once. I tried fake nails for my school ball and laughed hysterically during the formal dances as they pinged off my fingers onto the dance floor. However other than that, my nails got thoroughly ignored. I worked in food service from 16 to 23, so no nail polish allowed. But all that changed for me in early 2011.
At the time I was unemployed, living in the basement at my in-laws and desperate for something to escape from everyday life. Slowly, I began to notice a real community on the Internet of nail polish aficionados. They spoke of the latest releases, latest colours and finishes. I was fascinated. One day, I dashed into town and with the little bit of spending money I had, I bought myself a pale pink nail polish and the OPI Black Shatter. I sat in the dark basement and painted my nails. Base coat, two coats of the pink, one of the black. I hadn’t seen anything like it before, and I was hooked. This had taken nail polish to a new level for me, and I knew I couldn’t go back now.
Eventually we moved out of the basement and into our own place in a new town. I now had an income and a job that would allow me to have painted nails. I was in heaven. My nail polish collection grew ridiculously. From hiding in a drawer, it was soon in a small plastic tub beside the couch. Eventually the collection grew out of that, and it is now in the plastic tub and a large plastic drawer. I dare not think how much money I have spent on nail polish (particularly considering the inflated prices we pay in New Zealand. $28 for an OPI? I think not!), but the enjoyment it gives me is immense. It’s time that I have to spend on myself. I sit on the couch with some good tunes or a podcast going, clean my nails, carefully choose my next colour and paint them. I can match my nails to my outfits or my events for the week. A trip to court will require a muted colour, a weekend out means I can pull out my neons and my glitters. Nail polish has also stopped me biting. If I’m stressed, and my nails aren’t painted, I will bite them. If they have polish on them, they’re safe from the ravages of my teeth.
I’ve also found my nails have been an interesting point of conversation. I’ve actually had people facing criminal charges at court stop talking to the lawyer I was shadowing and say, “Wow, your nails are amazing.” A friend and I tried water marbling together a couple of a weekends ago as something to do on a Saturday afternoon (it did make eating cheese hard, my other favourite thing to do on a weekend).
In cyberspace there is an absolutely astronomical amount of nail polish-related blogs (a quick Google of “nail polish blogs” gives nearly 18 million results). For those who have any question relating to nail polish, the Internet has dozens of people who will answer them for you. I enjoy reading the blogs, seeing what the new colours are, seeing what is going to be the next big thing (I think it is magnetic polish at the moment). There are some people who take it far too seriously for my liking (OMG YOU HAVE HANGNAILS, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED, WHY ARE YOU POSTING YOUR DISGUSTING NORMAL HANDS ON MY INTERNET?!?), but for the vast majority of people, it is a fun distraction from everyday life. That’s precisely what it is for me. It’s something I do for myself.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to decide which particular shade of green I’m going to paint my nails today.