This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: A Guide to Unruining Your Stuff for Total Messes

Hello. My name is Sarah, and I am disastrous person.

Oct 19, 2012 at 5:00pm | Leave a comment

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For those of you who don't know me: Hello. My name is Sarah, and I am disastrous person.

Starting from an early age, I decided that the ridiculous ideas put forth by my mother and society as a whole, like occasionally brushing my hair and trying not to smell like low tide, simply did not apply to the free-spirited life I was trying to build for myself.

"Nobody will care how clean my face is when I'm Manhattan's most famous neurosurgeon/puppeteer," I laughed maniacally, dribbling fruit punch down the front of my white shirt. My priorities as a youth were limited to sleeping 14 hours a day, destroying my braces with Laffy Taffy, and getting Ethan Embry to ask me on a date.

While in my adult life, I have come to appreciate the finer things, like fancy purses and washing behind my ears, I still bear the visible marks of a laissez-faire childhood, from my routinely singed eyebrows to the superglue that is going to make this bra a nightmare to get off tonight. 

But don't worry; while I was busy trying to cover this chemical burn on my eyelid, I also came up with a very handy list for MacGyvering all the nice things you've set on fire:

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Spoiler alert: this will probably be on my eyeball soon.

So You Ripped Your Nail In Half Opening a Can of Four Loko Right After Getting a Manicure: 

As a woman with a relatively large number of lady-friends, I am often the recipient of texts that include words like "mani-pedi," "paraffin dip" and "vodka tampon." The latter aside, I am constantly forced to decline these kind offers of hand massages and cuticle-jabbing, as I cannot, for the life of me, go more than 12 minutes before ruining a manicure. 

That said, for special occasions, namely when people get me gift certificates I can't return, I will occasionally find myself in a salon chair listening to a Muzak version of "Lady in Red" and counting down the seconds until I smear wet nail polish on something or, more likely, rip my nail in half.

I now travel to the salon with two essential things: a tube of perma-hold glue and some clear nail polish. While gluing your nails to your own skin may sound like the beginning of a straight-to-video Paris Hilton horror movie, it is also the first step in your temporarily fixed manicure. Use a tiny bit of the glue to put the pieces of your nail back together and to hold the nail polish down. Once that's done, add a swipe of clear polish over the seam, and voila! 

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Witch(er)y woman.

So Your Ripped Nail Tore a Hole In Your Stockings, It's Creeping Dangerously Close To Your Crotch and You Never Remember to Cross Your Legs: 

As a person with abnormally jagged fingernails who routinely finds herself in places where metal scraps and loose nails are abundant, I tear more underpinnings than James Dean, the bulk of which are my beloved stockings. Fortunately, I have come to find that the dreaded clear nail polish trick, which looks terrible and feels worse, is not the only solution to a run in stockings.

I don't know if this is true for everyone, but as a child with a similarly clumsy mother, Stitch Witchery was as ubiquitous in my home as kitchen fires and mustard stains. Simply place it on the inside of the tights, run it under the hot air dryer (for hands only, my ass), and you're good as new, with a pair of creepily warm stockings in tow. 

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Just as good as blotting papers, only 1000 times more expensive!

So You Scratched the Hell Out Of Your Leather Purse and Now You're Crying:

In my entire life, I have managed to maintain only two collections: novelty spoons and purses, the latter of which I have consistently messed up with free pens from the bank, lipsticks and any sharp object I have ever found myself in possession of. Fortunately, I am also in possession of the greatest and grossest leather repair tool of all time: my oily face.

Sure, this is why I'm not allowed at any Coach store in the greater New York metropolitan area, but rubbing your face on scratched leather is absolutely the best way to make it look shiny and new. Even leather experts will tell you that the oils in your hands can take care of some of the minor damage inflicted by everyday wear and tear and, if your pores are anything like mine, they're a veritable goldmine of scratch-remover. If you're cursed with poreless, matte skin, I know a redhead with a pretty open schedule and overactive sebaceous glands who is dying to bury her face in your Gucci. 

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Mmmm, burned plastic.

So You Threw Something That Shouldn't Be Dried In the Dryer and Now It's On Fire:

This may seem unrelated, but please bear with me: I need to make a public service announcement about so-called "eyebrow razors." I'm sure there may be some people out there who do truly use these little magic wands to trim their eyebrows, but, like people who are willing to admit that they like getting peed on, I've never met them. Let's get real about products with names like "Finishing Touch" and "Velvet Biscuit." These things are for trimming pubic hair, and they're awesome at their job. 

A lesser-known use for these amazing little gizmos is fixing the clothes you've ruined. If you have not yet figured this out the hard way, like I did after Jane's recent piece reignited my near-paralyzing fear of bedbugs, fake fur is mostly plastic, and will absolutely set on fire if you so much as think about putting it near a dryer.

But fear not: your handy "Pearl Alley" or "Pink and Pretty" eyebrow razor can fix that faster than you can say "landing strip." First, brush the matted fur with a good, sturdy wire or firm bristle hairbrush to remove any fur clumps that might have formed. Once it's no longer a tangled mess, remove the shave guide from the razor and go to town shaving off all the newly blackened parts of the fur. In just a few minutes, whatever it is you ruined will be good as new, and you'll once again have a faux fur that's just as smooth as a freshly shaved mons pubis.

xoJaners: What disasters befall you regularly?

Follow Sarah on Twitter at @SarahGCrow.