Stop Commenting On My Chipped Nails

Why my manicure (or lack thereof) is none of your business.

Jan 24, 2013 at 12:00pm | Leave a comment

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On their best behavior.

I'm a busy girl/woman/lady-person. I currently have 5,010 unread messages in my inbox. I am a full-time college student, in addition to writing for two different websites and a print magazine. When I get free time, I try to have some semblance of a social life. Or I just nap.

When I find myself sick or bored or possibly watching TV, I might take some time out of my day and paint my nails.

Really though, it does take time out of your day. Sure, there are "quick-drying" polishes and "speedy" top coats but none have ever really worked for me. And being the creative little weirdo that I am, I like to paint my nails painstakingly, with multiple layers and intricate little details. It's fun. It's a form of self-expression. Whee.

Then life picks back up again and I go about my day. It's winter, so I'm constantly washing my hands in a bid to avoid the black plague. I'm a tactile person, so my nails get banged up. Eventually they'll start to show a bit of wear and tear, and I start to not particularly give a shit.

But, being the 21st century human being that I am, I tend to document many aspects of my life. I photograph myself and, sometimes, my hands, for the Internet (and world) to see. With those photos come photos of my chipped nails. And along with that comes the comments.

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The horror.

I don't know about you, but I was raised to believe that it was rude to comment to a person about their appearance in any way other than positively. If you had a negative thought in your brain about their clothing/hair/weight/whatever, you kept it to yourself and shoved it to the back of your brain, along with all of the other goopy, crap-o thoughts. You didn't blurt it out to their face (or iPhone screen).

We live in a modern age though, a world where Alexa Chung was forced to make her Instagram private because of strangers constantly commenting that she was too unhealthily thin, as if it were any of their business. And while you might say that nitpicking about someone's manicure is far from being as offensive as calling someone an anorexic, I still find it incredibly catty and stupid.

Women have enough to deal with from men. High expectations for our bodies to be fit and maintained at a perfect, just-right-a-la-Goldilocks weight; body hair held to standards equal to that of the landscaping at Versailles; and skin that is soft, unblemished and lightly scented in a perfume of their choosing. Then you get into the arena of dealing with other women and suddenly we're being made to feel like garbage because we didn't take the time to remove our chipped polish?

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Taking time out of my day to pull a Rhett Butler and not give a damn.

I appreciate awesome nail art just as much as the next girl, and I love taking the time to treat myself to a manicure. The truth is though, I don't always have time for it, and you probably don't either. And if you do, that's awesome! Show me your nails and I will tell you they look great. If they're chipped and nervously bitten down, I won't assume you're a slovenly, self-hating beast. I'll assume that you probably spend your time working on other awesome projects. 

Whether your nails are trimmed short and bare, acrylic talons, or adorned with a week-old, half-chipped DIY mani, I don't mind. I don't expect you to rush home from work or school or to drop your newborn baby just so you can rub an acetone-soaked cotton ball over your fingertips because, to quote the great Sweet Brown, ain't nobody got time for that.

I do tweets: @hannahejo.