I have always admired long painted nails, I don’t know why because I grew up in a home where such things were considered only the domain of ‘strippers and whores’. My mother seldom even attempted makeup, except for funerals and weddings. So as to where my love of such things came from I have no idea, it was certainly not nurtured. I guess as gaga would say I was ‘born his way’.
As a kid when I had enough money saved I would secretly buy a copy of a magazine like cosmopolitan, while picking up the family newspaper, just so I could see all the beautiful girls and all the amazing hairstyles. These magazines gave my 70’s black and white world some colour and much needed glamour. The women on the glossy pages where like creatures from another planet to me, no one even remotely looked like them in my dull leafy suburbs. I guess I was about 16 when I started to subtly gender bend, I became obsessed with Madonnas original look, I’d wear fishnets under ripped jeans and a armful of bangles and chains. I guess looked more punk to everyone than I did fem, but I knew why I was wearing it and it had nothing to do with punks. I wouldn’t have dared to wear makeup or grow my nails in those days, even if most of the time that’s all I ever thought about doing.
Mixed messages on nails
For me Nails are like claws and claws equal power, however I know society in general doesn’t see it like that, because Men who have long nails are seldom viewed as strong and are more often ridiculed as being weak sissies. Personally I don’t have a problem with the tag sissy, but I know most men would be mortified to be given that label. Another disempowering sterotype of nails projected by the media when I was young, was that only lazy ‘bimbo’ women had them. I didn’t care what people thought or said, no amount of sexist slurs or feminist rants could ever put me off my love of long beautiful nails
Why I said no to the fake option
Fake nails look great, but as someone who is trying to catch up on decades of missed femininity , fake nails were not going to cut it. Growing my Nails was one of the few ‘feminine’ things I could actually do naturally it would be stupid not to give it a go. I’ve been growing my nails for about two months now and I guess they are about a month away from being the right length for me. While luckily my nails are rather strong, I’ve still had to change the way I do things everyday just to give them a chance of getting to this length.
Protection is key
I have had to take to wearing gloves all the time I’m outside, no matter what I’m doing, the minute I walk out the front door on go the gloves. I’m a hands on type of person and one day of DIY and gardening, would see all my fledgling growth split or worse. I Wear thick black rubber gloves ( very torture garden) when I’m doing house work and just to make that time beneficial I fill the gloves up with hand softener, well better safe than sorry
My nails are protected and lubed daily ;). Even strong nails are not strong enough to be used as tools so everyday tasks like prising up loops on cans now require a tool usually my tiny pocket penknife (only carry if legal in your country). I will concede I may have to keep the thumb nail on my right hand shorter for a while till I figure out new ways to grip and rip packets and alike, for all of us new to fem life every day is a learning curve which we willingly (usually) signed up for.
My novice tips on nail care.
Ok so I’m not going to pretend in two months I figured out anything new on how to care for nails,but I will give you my tips that I believe have helped get me this far:
1. Use a nail hardener, some people say that some hardeners can actually weaken nails and make them brittle. I have not found that with the product I use which is Sally Hansen advanced ‘Hard as nails’
2. keep the nail rounded not square, I wanted long square nails, but the edges catch on everything since rounding them life has proved much easier.
3. Only File in one direction, Filing back and forth is definitely a no no.
4. I take all the hardener off once a week and soak the cleaned nails in vitamin E oil for about 5 minutes, then leave them to ‘take in some air’ for a few hours or overnight , but don’t to forget to put hardener back on.
5. Every day I put a couple od drops of the vitamin E oil down the back of the nails.. does this help ? I can not say but my nails are strong and healthy so I guess it’s not hurting.
Once my nails have reached the length I want I will start to paint them. No matter what the current trend is I want to go with a chrome look which I think is ‘way cool’. if my mum was still alive she would of been so proud. NOT lol
So the truth is long nails are superficial and not very practical, but like high heels they look great and anyone who wears or grows them gets my full respect 🙂