How I Do Everything From Dialing a Phone to Opening Soda Cans With Long, Terrifying Witch Nails

Dip ATM card readers are my mortal enemy and honestly, if I could go all Splinter on them and raise a bunch of mutant turtles to avenge me by destroying them, I would.
Publish date:
September 11, 2014
nails, acrylic nails

So, I have long nails. No, not like regular long, like "an inch past my fingertips and filed to a point" long because I’m a monster. (Note: I am not actually to my knowledge a monster.)

I have these for a variety of reasons, and most of them are fingernail fetishists, but I also kinda like the things. They make my hands look bigger (I have weirdly small hands, it’s super creepy) and they’re not something you see a whole lot of around where I live. I also like them because they’re impractical, glamorous and kind of upsetting, just like me.

So how do I manage to live with the things? Very carefully for one. (One has to be somewhat careful to avoid breaking them, even though they’re acrylic), but beyond that:

1. I don’t put my finger tips into jars of face cream, because a) EW! If you do you’re getting SO many germs in there I cannot even, and b) you will end up with cream under your nails and it’ll be gross and hard to clean out and you don’t want that. Instead, get yourself some of these cosmetic spoons if your skin care products didn’t come with them already. If you don’t use disposable ones, make sure to thoroughly wash and sanitize after use (I wash with regular soap and then rub them down with 99% alcohol). For lip glosses in a pot style container, a clean lip brush makes all the difference. If you’re not as committed to keeping products ultra sanitary, a bent knuckle will do for wide-mouthed jars.

2. Nail brushes are key. People seem to assume that I just let dirt and grime and whatever other gross shit there is just hang out under there, unwashed and waiting like some kind of awful germ party. I don’t do that, and frankly even if you don’t have long nails, you should be cleaning under your nails every time you wash your hands, because nails can get all kinds of gunk under them no matter how long they are.

I like this one because it’s adorable. I also dry under each nail with a Q-tip after washing to prevent water from settling under the nail and weakening it or encouraging the growth of bacteria. Yes I am high maintenance. You didn’t expect this to be easy did you?

3. I never use a nail when a knuckle will do. There are some styles of car door handles that are just the bane of my existence, that kind with the shallow well that’s intended for fingertips to go into, and springs back, allowing for some very nasty injuries to one’s nails. Bend your finger and use your knuckles instead. You can also use a knuckle gently for bits of makeup application where you’d normally use a fingertip (like patting eyeshadow primer onto your lid) otherwise a sponge, brush, or Q-tip should do just fine.

5. Soda can tabs. Just fucking soda can tabs. They’re evil but there is a workaround to open one without risking an emergency trip to the manicurist: Grab a fork, slip the tines under the tab and use it as a lever to pry the can open.

6. Dip ATM card readers are my mortal enemy and honestly, if I could go all Splinter on them and raise a bunch of mutant turtles to avenge me by destroying them, I would. They are an endless source of needless difficulty in my life, and I will never forgive the industrial designer that created them. When I have no choice but to use one, I have to ask someone else to do the dip for me (this someone is always my husband), though I keep a pair of tweezers in my purse to use to grab the card in a pinch.

7. It is possible to pick up change laying on flat surfaces, it just takes a little work. It also helps if you have weird gecko fingers like I do that seem to have some kind of adhesive quality when pressure is applied. Bobby pins are harder, but it’s doable, though if you really want to be a Girl Scout about it and be really prepared, I recommend getting a magnet to use to collect stray ones. (I say Girl Scout because the Boy Scouts have that messed up homophobia problem, and not because boys never need bobby pins.)

8. They don’t hamper my ability to type. Actually, they just make me faster, because with the nails I have about an inch of extra reach, and it doesn’t interfere with touch typing. If you have the nails long enough they kind of become an extension of yourself. The only issue is keyboards with deep recesses between the keys. A flatter keyboard -- the kind found on most laptops and most modern Apple keyboards -- is just fantastic.

9. I have an iPhone and yes touch screens do become a little fiddly to use, but that’s why we have styluses. They prevent finger smudges on your phone’s screen and are cheap as hell so you can afford to keep them everywhere. I’d also point out that touch screens are a lot easier on the talons than… non-touch screen? Analog buttons? What’s the term for a phone without a touch screen? Because on non-touch screen phones the buttons are spaced really close together, and require a lot of pressure leading to inaccurate texts and broken nails.

10. Flossing with regular floss is a little hard, which is why I use these little plastic doohickeys. They’re really handy, though environmentally unfriendly, but if you’re willing to take a little time these floss holders are reusable and probably cheaper in the long run. So now that I’m aware of them, I’m probably going to switch over.

11. Yes, I can wipe my own ass, no it’s not hard, no I’m not explaining how I do it, but I will say it doesn’t require any special implements, and isn’t any more complicated than how you wipe your ass.

12. You can do most things with a little bit of time and patience, but it’s really handy to have someone around to help you out. Having a partner or roommate for some stuff is just really really helpful. However, I have managed to upholster furniture with these… so I’m pretty much good.

13. Yeah, gymnastic activities that involve landing on your hands are out, so no handsprings, cartwheels and so on and so forth. Frankly this isn’t something that disrupts my life much because I can’t do cartwheels and am far, far too clumsy to even attempt a handspring.

14. They’re great for untangling hair. I spend ages using them to pick apart tiny knots without causing breakage.

15. I love disposable rubber gloves, but reusable dishwashing gloves don’t tend to live long with claws like these. Stuffing cotton balls into the fingertips and buying gloves a size too big helps a lot.

16. Speaking of which: winter gloves. You’re either going to need to size up, get them custom made, or buy fingerless ones. Frankly, I prefer fingerless gloves anyway, as trying to do most things with gloves on drives me nuts and if I have to take them off I will lose them. But if that’s not your jam, buy your gloves a size larger to make room for the nails, or if you’re crafty you can cut slits in the fingertips to allow the nails to poke through.

18. I save my broken-off acrylics in a tin so that I can make them into a fun and upsetting statement necklace. My mother sewed my dried umbilical cord into a plush lizard she’d made, and so I think this is perfectly normal and not at all "Silence of The Lambs"-y.

20. Acrylics are flammable, so be careful around fire. Use long fireplace matches and long butane lighters to keep flames well away from your hands.

21. Tampon applicators are a handy invention for which I am very grateful, not because I’d hurt myself trying to insert one, but because I would probably break a nail.

22. Acrylic nails are blunt. They won’t scratch like a real nail, meaning I can still put my hands in or near a vagina if I want to. I’ve had sex with other people with vaginas while I’ve had the nails (I’ve had them since long before I met my husband) and basically if you have them filed round they’re great for g-spotting. One of my ex-girlfriends had very long natural nails and we managed just fine, so it’s not really as much of an issue as people think it is.

23. I can’t make a proper fist, but my purse is filled with change, and I carry pepper spray. (I would carry the 17-inch long bowie knife with a handle I’ve covered in glitter, making it a David Bowie knife, but state regulations don’t allow for concealed carry of knives of that length and I’m pretty sure no one wants me carrying it openly, which is a real shame as it’s really a very nice knife.)

24. The other great thing about the nails is I can use them to hold vegetables and so on in place while I’m cutting them up without being worried about cutting myself.

25. Those pain in the ass pry-open makeup containers are a pain in the ass until you realize that you can use the back end of your tweezers to open them.

So yeah, that’s how we do things in Talonville.