Bare Nailed

Run free, wild toes.


I once attended what I assumed would be a very casual—the invitation said, “prepare to get wet,” not erotically, very innocent–children would be on site, confirm the absence of erotica, Sunday barbecue. I put on a long dress with ruffles and ambiguous cut outs, even some embroidery on it and flat sandals that looked like needlepoint pillows. I would be getting wet, I thought, so fairly lame and needlepoint were a perfect marriage.

When I approached the scene, I learned an unspoken memo had been broadcast among the rest of the women, myself excluded. Cake face, salon hair, the highest heels closets could harbor on a Sunday early afternoon. Where was I?

You don’t have to answer that.

Initially, I didn’t think much of the disconnect. Later, still no profound thinking. What had struck me as interesting really was only that I had been the only girl there without a pedicure (or smooth legs.)

And not by accident. Though my legs are more a consequence of laziness–I once had a boyfriend who called them furry ankles–I’ve intentionally stopped painting my nails.

I’ve always preferred bare finger nails–they bode better with copious rings, but I resolved that my toes might need some breathing time after having noticed that they were losing their natural pinkish color and wavering toward a more morose yellow. Man repeller, indeed. But a couple weeks without polish would likely resuscitate their livelihood.

I had already given up blow dryers in favor of allowing hair lotion and specialized shampoo/conditioner to do the arm work for me. That had earned me a decent one additional hour of recreational time post shower.

Fast forward three weeks where with 25 additional dollars in my pocket and a restored pale pink hue underneath my nail beds, personal hygiene tendencies are running a very tight ship. It’s hard to recognize dirty toe nails when they’re covered in polish but almost impossible to allow them the freedom of remaining unkempt when they’re transparently staring at you, interminably.

They’ve also inexplicably made me feel more French and in my book, anything that can do that deserves a big ass salut.

What’s best though: the circumstances of my life’s maintenance seem to have decreased again. Often, this maintenance reveals itself as stress and so to eliminate “stress” by cutting a ritual that is conventionally considered a pampering process seems quite ironic. My notion of pamper had been skewed all this time.

Yes, I wonder how many more rituals I can cut or alter before my beauty tendencies become capable of achieving authentic me in an under ten minute, stress-free environment. I will say that I keep a bottle of Essie’s Adore-a-Ball by my bed though. Every now and then a girl just, you know, needs to look down and see herself shine.

Now, tell me something about you.

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