Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

Tomboy Hands


These are not my hands. Photo courtesy of

I just cannot stand the drama of my own fingernails. Yes, that’s right…I’m writing about my nails (non-runners who are bored senseless by my running posts, rejoice!). I can’t help it: I literally just watched the middle one on my right hand crack from the side corner and bend backward with the sheer traumatic force of…typing on a keyboard. It seems even four layers of shellac gel polish is no match for my stubbornly disintegrating nail keratin.

Nowadays even my toes are taking aim at me: just the other day I noticed the nail of my big toe is split horizontally, about a half inch from the cuticle…probably happened a couple weeks ago when I tripped on a frost heave while running. Oops. Now I’m faced with a tough decision: chop the loose part of the nail before it starts looking worse, or paint over it in hopes that the nail polish will act as glue and hold the thing together until it grows out more? Decisions, decisions.

Being the self-proclaimed pseudo-tomboy that I am, I never cared much about my nails. I look at old pictures now and I see how bad they were, each in a different state of growth, never painted, always splitting down the middle and just looking pretty yucky most of the time. Then one day out of the blue last spring, I decided that it was time to try acrylic nails. Well, that worked just fine except for the fact that they looked…well, acrylic. They were always too long and thick and claw-like, just not suited for my personality. Not to mention my natural nail was still breaking all the time — just under the acrylic!

But I dealt with it. I could do anything with those pink-and-white monstrosities, and I felt fairly invincible. Then one day my nail person took off to Vietnam for an undisclosed period of time (possibly forever), and being the staunch loyalist I am, I couldn’t go to anyone else. I got rid of the fakies. Back to natural. Fantastic!

Except I forgot, my nails totally suck.

Gel nail color promises so much. Thicker nails, color that lasts 2-3 weeks, or until you soak it off at your next appointment. It’s like fake nails without all the fakeness, and like nail polish without the almost immediate chip-off (well, for me at least…I could chip a nail as soon as the polish dried – that is, if I didn’t smudge it first). I paid my 40 bucks and picked my favorite color – a deep, plum-like purple. I’ve always loved the look of square-shaped, super short, dark laquered nails, and by golly for the first time I had them!

Two weeks later I remembered the reason I never had those pretty square-shaped nails before: the constant chipping and cracking at the corners, until my nails all become that semi-round shape that occurs when there’s no nail left to break off.

So it’s another crossroads: do I keep trying (and ultimately failing here and there) to have nice pretty nails? Or do I give up, give in and go back to my old tomboy self, yucky fingertips and all? Guess I’ll still have time to decide after Thursday’s nail appointment…

3 thoughts on “Tomboy Hands

  1. ow!!! that sounds traumatic!

  2. Hm I’ve never given much thought to my nails. Im just kind of like.. Whateva. They’re always dirty and super short because I bite them. I cannot STAND them long, at ALL. they’re little nubs. 😉

  3. But omg what happened? Six years and you never finished the story??

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