This is my collection of fingernail polish so far:I maintain a strict regimen of clipping my fingernails at least twice a week and painting them every Sunday.
I even bought a small bottle of fingernail polish remover while I was in New York so that I could keep up my routine without bringing more liquid on the airplane. I remember explaining it to Jared on the subway as I was planning my purchase.
"So when did this start?"
"mmm...I guess...when I got divorced."
"Ha. There's one to take to a therapist."
He was right. As I thought about it more carefully I realized how much my ritual really meant.
To better describe my reasoning, I've first got to explain my attitude toward fingernails: I think they're disgusting. I see them as as carriers of germs and dirt that can be uncomfortably snagged across almost any surface in their most unkempt state. I see long nails as a frivolous obstacle. Long nails suggest that one never engages in dirty work. In my opinion, the shorter, the better.
Then I've got to describe my attitude toward hands: hands are direct representations of who we are and what we do. Some of my oldest friends might remember that I had a crush on David Blake in Jr. High based almost entirely on the beauty of his hands.
Conversely, I've always felt that my hands were ugly: mannish, stubby, unrefined. When I was younger I couldn't stand nail polish on my own fingers because it only accentuated their lack of elegance.
When my nails are clean and short and painted, I feel in control of my life. They suggest that I've taken the time to groom myself properly; that I've taken a moment to breathe. Painting them in brazen colors indicates that I have conquered my insecurity about their ugliness. But above all, making something this frivolous a priority helps me take the time to assert and evaluate my needs.
I think it makes complete sense that I started this after my divorce.