I Don't Care If I Get Hand Cancer, Mama Needs Her Gel Manicures

Why is everything I love bad for me?
Publish date:
March 7, 2013
Cancer, manicures, gel manicures

I'm not really trying to be insensitive about cancer with that headline, if only because everyone knows someone who has died of cancer, because pretty much everyone who lives past a certain point gets cancer. If I don't get casual sex murdered and shoved in a dumpster in the next few years, I will probably die of cancer.

Actually, definitely, now that I know that my monthly gel manicures are beaming cancer directly into my fingers.

According to this NY Post article headline, "Doc warns that popular gel manicure is a cancer risk," two middle-aged women recently developed tumors on their hands following exposure to UV nail lights. DO NOT BE LIKE ME AND GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH "HAND TUMORS." They cannot be passed off as edgy nail art.

And yet. YET. I've been getting gel manis exclusively since I became a mom almost a year ago. I probably don't need to explain to you why -- moms are busy. (I'm thinking about getting this cross-stitched on a pillow: "Being a parent means never getting to stop working, even at home.")

I explain having a child to potentially promiscuous teenagers this way: Imagine that you have one hour of free time, and in that one hour you'll want to take a nap, eat a meal, take a shower, read a book, watch TV, clean your house, run your errands, have sex, check your email, etc. But you'll only be able to choose ONE of those things.

You notice how "get a manicure" didn't even make that list? I will never want to get a manicure more than I want to take a nap. I want to take a nap desperately right now and I just got up an hour ago. At 6 am, so I could write, because again: busy. But somehow, once a monthish, I manage to find enough time to get a gel manicure, which is durable and long-lasting enough to keep my nails looking decent the majority of the time.

They also dry pretty completely in about 2 minutes, so I don't have to sit under that drying station for 20 minutes caught in a mental K-hole with my to-do-list, only to smudge my index finger immediately after leaving the salon.

So, I guess what I'm trying to figure out is what kind of risk we're really talking about here. The good doctor says the key is moderation but doesn't explain what that actually means. Is once a month "regular"? If I just start applying sunscreen before I get a gel manicure, is that good enough? I already use like six Sweet N Lows a day in my coffee, so that's probably going to give me cancer first anyway, right? Why is everything I love bad for me?

Am I a superficial dick that I feel like just not having manicured nails isn't a viable option? I would do my own nails at home if I were in any way capable of doing that. Every few years I try again but it always looks like a painting from one of the less talented gorilla artists. I think I'm missing the gene that makes you good at doing nails and anything remotely crafty.

Tell @msemilymccombs if you're giving up gel manis on Twitter.