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