About 6 months ago, I started getting gel nails. Every 3 weeks, my girl Justine at Destined Nails in Preston grinds off the old gel with her manicure Dremel, and gives me new fabulous nails. Most of the time, I just keep the natural soft pink colour of the gel. A few times I’ve gotten them done more fancy: white with silver foil streaks for my beach vacation. It looks great with tanned hands. Or Ultramarine blue for 80’s day at Rock The Park music festival. Or, what I think I like best, natural soft pink of the gel, with one feature nail, like the current hand-painted daisy pattern (or turtles, if you listen to my Gentleman Associate).
Anyway, I started doing this because for as long as I can remember, I had brittle nails. I could look at my hands when my fingernails got to a certain (not very long) length and know that by week’s end, they would be mostly broken off. If there was any gardening or carrying, say, a basket of laundry, that would cause a bend which would cause a split. And that would mean I could just had to hope that they didn’t snap down at the quick and tear off my whole nail. I tried hardening polish (sorry, Sally Hansen, you’re not all that), cuticle oil at bedtime, regular application of hand cream to keep the nail beds nourished, filing in only one direction with a diamond file to avoid upsetting the layout of the keratin, and of course more calcium and gelatin in my diet. No joy, and I’d had enough. Time to call in the experts.
So I decided to get gels done before Christmas. I wouldn’t have to worrying about whether all my own brittle nails would survive hauling a 16 pound turkey into a shopping cart. Or whether they’d survive bringing up a Rubbermaid bin of tree ornaments from the basement. Or whether they’d survive, yaknow, pulling on boots.
Justine was very patient with me during that first visit, answering all my noob questions: Do I need to take them off periodically so my nails can recover (no). Is it OK to wear them in the pool at the gym (yes). How often do I need to come back to get them re-done (every 2-4 weeks, depending on how fast they grow, and how much grow-out you’re willing to tolerate). We aim for every 3 weeks.
Where I used to be embarrassed by the state of my nails, I’ve found that I’m far more self-confident with good looking nails. I get compliments from cashiers at Shoppers Drug Mart and teenage girls. That’s a nice boost, too.
But this post isn’t about me trying to serve Kool-Aid at the Cult of the Gel Manicure, it’s about the art of prioritizing one’s vanity. There’s one thing that I had to give up for my great nails: the ability to work the lobster claw and spring clasps in all my necklaces.
[I’ll give you a second here to sing to yourself the Little Mermaid interlude where she gives up her voice. I’ll start: Ahhhh-ahhhh-ahhhhhhh, ahhh-ahh-ahhh-ah-ahhhhh, Ahhhh-ahhhh-ahhhhhhh, ahhh-ahh-ahhh-ah-ahhhhh…..]
OK! Excellent effort, Choir!Choir!Choir! And apologies if it festers as an ear-worm. Planting ear-worms seems to be my superpower.
Yeah, for some reason, I have lost the touch sensation that lets you slide the ring onto the clasp on my necklaces. I have all these great pieces – the piece of amber brought back from Russia, the piece of sea glass wrapped in silver wire from Cape Breton, the Corinne Hunt Equlibrium Pendant, the silver chainmail piece, the gold locket that Mike bought me ages ago – and I cannot easily do up any of them anymore. Sometimes, I lean into the edge of the bathroom mirror to be able to see the gap in the clasp (and all my nosehairs). Or sometimes I avail upon the good graces of my gentlemen housemates to just do it for me. I feel like an old woman who’s arthritic hands no longer support her vanity. Except, yaknow, with more fabulous nails and less arthritis.
I mean, I didn’t have to (Avengers Spoiler alert!) throw Gamora off a cliff (end Spoiler) to get my bling, so it’s not so bad, right? I’m good with my priority of great manicure and asking for help with jewelry, or going without the jewelry. I do have an excellent satin and chiffon scarf collection. Hey! New adventure: time to channel my inner Audrey Hepburn.
I also can’t use the touch pad at the movie theatre to select my seats. Good thing my movie-dates tolerate my glamour trade-offs. Now, if the manicure started impeding my theatre popcorn consumption, we might need to rethink this whole thing.