Nice nails (and other basic human rights)

nailsCarrie Bradshaw (yes, she is still very real to me) once wrote about a woman’s right to Choos and like so many of that character’s tongue in cheek headlines, the flippant one liner had a more serious message. Not serious like Syria or food banks  but it was important to her. I always tend to feel that writing about the frivolous fripperies of fashion (all the Fs) must seem so silly and banal to other people with ‘proper’ jobs. You know, life-saving, life-changing, life-nurturing professions like doctors, teachers, politicians. It wasn’t so bad when I was a business journalist, reporting on retail and fashion. But now I’m just burbling and blathering on a blog (all the Bs).

But having an interest, even a mild obsession, with fashion doesn’t make you an air head. Let’s just look to Anna Wintour and all her countless counterparts in the fashion industry to smite that myth. And yet still, there are times when I sit down at my keyboard to write about a new trend or new collection, a new product launch that maybe we need, maybe we don’t. And I think, does anyone care? What difference does this really make? What’s the point? And then I think who am I/they to judge anyway? Surely this is about a woman’s right to choose (or Choos depending on her predilection).

One of the simple changes I made to my life when I turned forty last year was, wait for it, I started getting my nails done regularly. That’s it. I didn’t start meditating (though that really is on my list), I didn’t climb a mountain, I didn’t turn vegan. I’m sure all of those things would have been beneficial and maybe one day I will give them a go.

But for years I’ve hated my nails. They’ve always been weak and over time become damaged and ridged. I also had one particularly ugly one left from a rather gruesome accident when I trapped my finger in a folding stool as a teen. Even when I tried to paint them myself they always looked a mess. Whenever I looked down at my nails I always sighed inwardly and hid them. Even when I got dressed up and made an effort with my makeup I felt my nails were always letting down the side.

But like most regular beauty treatments, getting my nails done seemed like an exorbitant amount of time and money to ‘waste’ on myself. It always seemed vain, self-indulgent and ridiculous. This coming from the woman who gets her hair highlighted regularly (but that really is a basic human right when your hair is as oily as mine).

And then I went on holiday for my 40th and decided to get a shellac. It transformed my nails into smooth, shiny, near perfect specimens that left me beaming with pride every time I splayed out my fingers to admire them. This will sound odd to some but having good nails made me feel grown up in a good way; sorted, tidy, replete and polished (literally). Yes, all that from a bit of coloured goo in a bottle – amazing!

Why couldn’t I feel like that without it? I have no idea. And let’s be honest, it hasn’t changed my life. I can still run late (sometimes for the nail appointment itself ironically). I still mess up and have off days. But having nice nails is just one thing that makes me feel that little bit better about myself and that is worth a lot to me. And the same goes for an item of clothing that transforms your mood and self-esteem.

I’ll never understand why some people dismiss self-image as irrelevant or dumb, vacuous and silly. Clothes, makeup, whatever – it’s literally the armour we don to help us be the best we can and get through the day. And women, men too, have been doing it in some form or other for millennia.

So the question isn’t, why did I begin having manicures when I turned forty but more why did it take me so long to start? And that has become a bit of a life lesson for me. Self-love, whatever guise it takes – even barbie pink nail varnish – is so very important. And you don’t have to justify it to anyone.

 

kat-sig(2)

Comments

Sue //

Ah you know I’ve been toying with this nail stuff for ages. Yes it feels like an unnecessary indulgence. Even just remembering to call and make an appointment feels way down my list of things I need to do. BUT I do need to do something for myself and this could be it, thanks for the reminder!

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Kathryn //

It doesn’t have to be nails Sue, it could be a monthly massage, anything that makes you feel good about yourself. I just think we deserve to treat ourselves more than we do sometimes xx

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Xana //

Kathryn, you are so right. We all deserve to feel good about ourselves! If your like me it’s hard to find time for myself. To be the best we can be, we need to do whatever is necessary… especially a little indulgence just for us.

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Xana //

Love it! I don’t always have my nails at their best but when I do, I feel fabulous!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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Caroline Collett //

A lovely piece K. I had ditto bad nails for many years and was ecstatic when I was first able to purchase ‘dream nails’. Unfortunately I went for rather silly talons and kind of lost myself in the fantasy process, eventually becoming self-conscious about the whole thing and giving them up. Now, when I see them in photos, I slightly shiver, as if I was having some odd Karshadianny moment that’s best forgotten. I still remember the pleasure it gave me to have an attribute I never imagined I could have though. If only I’d been as sensible as you and had them in my OWN style, I’d no doubt still be doing it today.

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Lisa //

I’m with you completely. I’d always painted my own nails but it was always a shoddy job, as I’d never let them dry properly. My diend bought me a voucher for my 40th and although I’d always dismissed gel nails as an unnesssary indulgence, I’m now a complete convert and get them done regularly.. They make me feel polished and people notice, which is always nice!

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Alison //

I am so with you. I feel ‘done’ when I have my nails painted and it really does affect my mindset. Love this shade of pink on you!

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Lins @Boo & Maddie //

I totally agree! I’ve spent many years ignoring fashion, how I look, makeup, everything and then it recently occurred to me that one day I’ll be very old and very wrinkly and why am I not making the most of the time now. So my version of your having your nails done is to go every 8 weeks to get my hair cut and coloured when I’d previously only go to the hairdressers about once every 2 years. Good for you for enjoying some you time! X

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Molly at Roost //

YES! The last time I properly had my nails done was when my best friend (trained nail technician – handy!) did them for me a couple of years ago. I do them myself now but it’s not the same. I do love a nail bar and that feeling of being pampered. Currently sporting very short, chipped, tatty fingernails so am loving yours. Perhaps I’ll even book myself an appointment as a present to myself for Mother’s Day!

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Alice //

Loved reading this Kat! I’m like you – I love a manicure. I always have my nails painted without fail – I feel naked without nail varnish. There’s something about it that means, even if I’m desperate for a hairwash and have no makeup on, I feel slightly put together.

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Mel Wiggins //

There is DEFINITELY something really grown up and legit about having nice nails. It always makes me feel just that little bit more pulled together – regarldless of my outfit and hair – if someone sees I have nice nails I just hope they can assume I’m all over the finer details! haha – strange mentality we have as women, but it makes sense to me! x

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Eleanor //

I went through a fad of having my nails done, after I’d finished with horses in my twenties. Sadly it also coincided with the late 90s. I looked like a mole that had fallen in purple glittery soil. That being said, when I lived in New York, I had a manicure every week, just like every other twenty something…

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Muddling Along //

This is one of the joys for me of turning 40 – I’ve realised that some of the things I was doing / not doing were for entirely the wrong reasons and I’m embracing a few things that make me incredibly happy irrespective of what others think (and considering spending more time on my nails)

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Kathryn //

Bravo! This is exactly what I’m talking about. Glad to hear you’re treating and pleasing yourself xx

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fritha //

I always feel this way when I do my nails, it’s really really weird isn’t it. I used to do those mystery shopper things many years ago and one was for nails inc & it was the first time I’d ever had them done, I walked away feeling like I could be more organised in my life because I was more polished (so funny!) x

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Laura //

I feel like I need to do something like this regularly – I know having nice nails would make me feel better about the way I look – which is often very tired of late as the baby never seems to sleep. Love this pink hue shade

Laura x

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