A Nail Tale

I’m not wearing nail polish today. I’m watching my unpolished nails tap, tap, tap at the white keys of my computer. They’re so bare looking. My nails nearly blend into my fingertips! There might as well be no nails there at all!

This summer, I have two jobs. One is in a coffee shop, where the uniform is all black and the health and safety rules tell me that nail polish (even clear!) is, by all means, prohibited. The other is in a clothing store where I’m encouraged to express my own style (which most often happens to include, you guessed it, nail polish). I work the first half of the week at the former job, and the second half at the latter. There are no in-between days. My head spins and my two personalities are neatly divided. On Wednesday afternoons, I leave Job #1 and head for #2, applying nail polish in the hours between, if there’s time. If there isn’t, I do it before working at Job #2 on Thursday. Then it comes off on Sunday morning before I dutifully show up, clean-tipped, at Job #1.

Before this summer of two jobs, I never realized how much a small rule like “no nail polish” could feel like a constraint on my freedom of expression. I also never realized how hopelessly addicted I am to nail polish – maybe in the same way that someone else may be addicted to bright blue hair dye, but that’s not allowed at Job #1 either.

- Stephanie Fereiro

19 thoughts on “A Nail Tale

  1. Heh heh – I have ALL of those colours! The grey is my absolute favourite.

    Oooh – since you’re an expert, maybe you can help me with this:
    In the 90s, in the wake of the Urban Decay revolution, I had this gorgeous olive green drab colour – you know, like army fatigues. I can’t find anything like it anywhere. Thoughts?


  2. G, I’ll get on looking for that for you. It’s not shimmery or anything, right? We might even have it at my Job #2. And Forsyth, thank you! Years of practice… I also have an idea about lavender but I have to look into the title for you.

  3. I really love those colors…

    I have a friend who only works a job where she can’t wear nailpolish. While she doesn’t have to divide her personality for two jobs, she IS someone who likes to express herself and not being able to apply any color to her nails really gets to her sometimes. I’d never really thought about how such a small detail could affect someone like that until seeing her utter distress at the fact.. and now this post! ahh details..

  4. I think I haven’t really applied nail polish to my own nails since I went through my weird high school self where by some made up rule (that I secretly came up with) I could only choose between red or black nail polish.

  5. Stephanie – Thanks! And no, not sparkley. I don’t have very even nail beds, so anything shimmery or pearlescent is off limits.

    And Sara – I found the most delicious shade of lavendar at Shoppers Drugmart in their “Gosh” line. It’s the colour of those chokingly sweet candy easter eggs with the marshmallow inside. Get it now!


  6. oh. my. gosh. stephanie, we need to talk nail polish, i am also seriously addicted! not even allowing clear nailpolish? that’s cruel!

    sara, there’s a really popular light lavendar that came out last summer from OPI.. i think it’s called Done Out In Deco. i’ve never tried it but i bet it would look great on you!

    also, if anyone’s in need of looking at a specific colour, or just browsing, i recommend nailgal.com (i realize i’ve exposed myself as a huge nailpolish nerd.) they have an enormous gallery of swatches people have submitted.

  7. Oh, Stephanie. I feel your no-nail-polish pain. My summer job has similar restrictions – no nail polish and also no makeup. I’m learning to love not wearing makeup every day, but I miss painting my nails so much!

  8. I was in the sciences as an undergrad, and we had to clean the lab glassware with acetone (nail polish remover). It was a drab and colorless time, unless of course i forgot and it got the acetone on my hands and smudged polish everywhere!

  9. Um, Ave, I have something to tell you… Done Out in Deco was the colour I was going to recommend to Sara. I have that one and almost the whole bottle is gone – it’s my go-to for a quick-dry, always beautiful fix. We may be the same person, in two very different bodies.

    Oh, and as you could probably tell, I favour the non-sparkly varieties of polish, too… Anyone with recommendations is more than welcome to, well, recommend them!

  10. I have been looking for a grey like that for soooo long! I’ve recently become addicted to the sally hansen insta-dri nailpolishes. So cheap! So many fun colours!

  11. i’m well versed in a variety of bright reds and pinks, if advice is needed on those. on my part, i’ve been on the hunt for the perfect (non sparkly) robin’s egg blue for a long while, if anyone knows a good shade!

    during the winter i started putting tiny rhinestones on my nails (i know, i know), and toyed with the idea of getting some of these bad boys: http://transdesign.com/Jewellery/Gold%20Charm%201.htm – i never fully committed to the idea and ordered any, but the idea of having the word “classy” emblazoned in gold foil across my nailbeds still resonates with me.

  12. I’m also completely addicted to nail polish! It’s been a fairly recent occurrence in my life. I actually didn’t start till I moved to Toronto 3 years ago. a friend gave me OPI’s Lunch at Delhi as a present (because it reminded her of me) and since then I haven’t stopped…. I can’t actually remember when last my nails were bare. I love the fact that I can be dressed really conservatively then, whah-bam, there is bright neon-pink on my nails.

    Oh, Ave, I think you maybe able to find the color you’re looking for (or at least a close approximation) in one of Esse’s spring lines. I’m an OPI person myself, but I was looking for a color that mimicked Chanel’s limited edition Spring ’10 color Jade, and found it with them. I swear it’s almost exactly the same at 1/4 of the cost. Go to Toronto Barber & Beauty Supply on Bay & Dundas, they have all of their colors and then some. And if they don’t have the color that you want in stock they’ll order it in for you. Both fantastic and dangerous for nail polish addicts!

  13. Oh God, I love the candy-color polish trend! When I first saw it in magazines I was like, Thank God I don’t have to wear that glimmery shit anymore! I had the matte red color from Knock Out and it was so amazing…

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