7 Things I Can't Do With These Long Fingernails (Plus, How I Grew Them)

For the first time in my life, I've got long natural nails. And it's making life so hard.

Feb 28, 2014 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

I was in Ulta one night right before the holidays, wandering around in a little bit of a fugue state, stressed out and unhappy and searching for meaning in the endless rows of beauty products. I considered getting my brows done at the Benefit Brow Bar. I considered upgrading my Clarisonic even though my old one works fine (and continues to work fine -- I was not even feeling rational that night).

And then, faced with the display of Butter London nail polishes, I did something that was a little uncharacteristic for me: Instead of buying up All The Colors, I bought a nail treatment.

Specifically, I bought the Butter London Horse Power Nail Fertilizer. The pun in the name cracked me up (sorry, Jane) and -- I'm being real honest here -- it was expensive enough to feel like an indulgence without ACTUALLY being hella expensive.

image

This is when I first realized the Horse Power + new nail shape was working. Also it's when I fell in love with the Nail Foundation that Butter London also makes.

Note: This stuff retails for $19. My usual allowance for self-indulgence is under 10 bucks, so this was all "Oh, my god, I'm being so frivolous with my money!" Also, I used a coupon.

When I got home, I sat myself down with my nail file and finally committed to changing my nail shape. I've had square-ish nails for years -- in part because someone once told impressionable young me that as a fat person I should ONLY have square nails because everything else would look wrong. Now, that's obviously bullshit and if I had ever stopped to really unpack it, I'd have filed my nails years ago. But it's a journey, people.

I wanted stiletto nails but my own just weren't long enough. Still, I filed and filed and got myself into a vaguely pointy situation. And then I slapped on that Horse Power and did the rest of my manicure and felt like I'd accomplished something.

Stress: RELIEVED.

And because I'd spent the money on the Horse Power, I wasn't going to, like, NOT use it. I basically followed the instructions on the bottle, with the addition of putting it on the undersides of my nails as well.

I did not actually expect this to work miracles. I managed to grow my nails a little long earlier last year, but they broke almost immediately and they weren't even that long.

image

My new Saturday morning ritual involves spending way too much time on my nails.

But, roughly two months later, I have nails that, to me, seem seriously long. (I still don't have those stiletto nails but that's mostly because Ed is a little afraid of them.) The Horse Power is a huge part of it -- and so is that new, more pointy/oval shape. And my nails are still growing strong.

In fact, my nails have gotten so long that I'm having issues with basic tasks I totally took for granted before. Here are 7 things I cannot do with long nails:

1. Push buttons.

Vending machines have turned me into that lady who uses a knuckle to push buttons because otherwise my fingernail pushes the buttons AROUND the one I'm actually trying to press.

2. Open soda cans.

It's so disappointing -- now I have nails that can actually wedge under the pop top but using them that way would break my nails! Reality is HARSH.

image

I've been playing with French manicures more.

3. Scratch my eyeball.

The less said about how many times I have almost blinded myself trying to scratch the inner corner of my eye, the better. Because otherwise that is all I'd be talking about and it'd be really boring. And painful.

4. Put on earrings with a post back.

If it's little and fiddly, I'm going to drop it. Probably down my shirt. And then I'm going to need help fishing it out of my cleavage, which isn't something I can ask most people do to.

5. Type on a touch screen.

It's a whole new world of "OMG, I meant to hit the E, why is the R showing up??" My texts are, frankly, an embarrassing assemblage of spelling and autocorrect errors. I've never missed Swype more. (I'm not much better on a keyboard, honestly.)

image

Long nails mean nail stamping is a little harder -- my nails are longer than the designs!

6. Sculpt ANYTHING with my fingers.

Whether I'm using clay or mashed potatoes, everything gets under my nails. And whatever I'm sculpting gets covered in little stab marks when I'm trying to smooth stuff out.

7. Reach into tight pockets.

Lately, I've learned to sort of angle my hands so that my fingernails spear into the pocket first but for a while there, I kept catching my nails on the outside of the pocket. Instant injury.

There's something magical, though, even when I'm having a hard time doing something simple and all I want is for a pair of nail clippers to magically appear. I look at my hands and I hardly recognize them. My hands do not look like my mother's hands (my fingers are still pudgy and my knuckles are not so elegantly defined) but they kind of look like my mother's hands -- because my mom had perfect nails when I was growing up.

image

Blue nails forever!

I'm far more invested in my long nails than I thought I would be, too. I broke a nail a while back (with the power of my boob, which is so ridic I can't even) and I've been babying it along in ways I never cared about before.

Tell me, really long-nailed folks, how do you live like this long term? Because I love finally having the ability to keep my nails long but I also would really like to zip a pair of pants without being afraid of ruining my nails again. The siren song of the nail clippers grows louder and I am not sure how long I can resist!