Long nails are like high heels for your hands. Pair them with anything, even sweat pants, and you'll still look pulled together. As a lifelong nail picker, I've come to accept the fact that I may never kick the habit and grow the almond-shaped stiletto nails of my dreams, though. Luckily, there are plenty of fake alternatives to long natural nails, like the Ruffian for M.A.C press-ons that I tried a few weeks ago.
I loved the way the extra length elongated my fingers and made my hands look sluttier, so I decided to make the nails slightly more permanent by having a set custom-fitted and designed by Roxanne Valinoti of CND.
Initially I wanted nude nail extensions like these ones I saw Rihanna wearing, but then Roxanne showed me the falsies she had created especially for The Blonds and I completely changed my mind. After much debate, we agreed upon ultra-long, bubblegum gradient nails with a pinkie piercing. My friend Jenna calls them, "grocery store lady nails."
I know what you're thinking, those nails are trashy. In real life, something about them just worked. Plus they made mundane tasks instantly new and challenging! How would I undo my pants with stilts affixed to my fingertips? What about text messaging? Washing my hands was off limits because water weakens the glue dots that held the flasies in place, so I used sanitizer instead.
I wanted to touch things and use hand gestures purely for the sake of showing off my nails. They got a lot of attention -- on the subway, at the grocery store, paying for my drink at the bar -- but no one actually said anything, they just stared.
I sent a picture to my ex without an explanation to see how he would react. We still do this sort of thing.
"You got a tattoo," he replied, referring to the tiny "xo" on the inside of my left pinkie.
"Who cares!" I said. "Look at my nails!"
Later that day, when I met Olivia for drinks, the extensions were beginning to become oppressive. While celebrities with superlong nails can use their assistants as surrogate hands, I had to do everything myself. I wanted to tie up my messy hair for example, but doing so could have knocked my nails out of place, so I sat at the bar side-flipping and looking vapid.
Paying for my drink was a 10-minute ordeal. The bartender looked on with a smug smile as I struggled to open my wallet using just the pads of my fingers and slip out my debit card. Signing the receipt meant relearning how to write with a pen, gripping it with my whole fist.
Pulling off my press-ons at the end of the night felt like unhooking a bra or peeling off skinny jeans. I could finally breathe. I loved the strippery look of my long pink nails, but they're not practical. Big beauty duh.
Photos Courtesy of Olivia Hall.
Follow Julie on Twitter @JR_Schott.