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In Defence of Biting Your Nails (Or At Least Keeping Them Really Short)

13/12/2015 6:35 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Woman biting fingernails

Ok, internet. Here goes. My name is Emily and I am a dirty nail biter.

Go on, judge away. I am well aware of the fact it's not an attractive habit. There is only one type of human allowed to go around with their hands in their mouths and these are infants, not 30-year-old women.

I get it, really I do. Except I'm not going to stop and here's why.

Having long nails is the WORST. I've recently attempted to grow them for my upcoming wedding and I do not know how people even begin to deal with it.

It changes everything. The way you type, the way you use your phone, the way you push a button or try to open pretty much anything (tuna cans, I'm looking at you) -- and don't even get me started on the struggle of trying to pick up something small. It's like having pincers for fingers -- it just doesn't work.

Who even decided that long nails were attractive in the first place? OK -- no one likes the look of a messily chewed finger-stub -- but since when did these impractical talons become preferable to a nice, neat, small nail?

Beats me. Mine aren't even that long and they are driving me insane. (My manicurist remarked that I must like them short, and I was like: "Are you kidding? I AM EDWARD SCISSORHANDS!") The next time someone asks me for my business card I might just hand them my wallet and tell them to dig one out themselves. I'm not that far off getting my fiancé to do the zip up on my jeans.

Because, say what you will about those of us who like to keep their nails short -- it makes a hell of a lot more sense in terms of, you know, functioning in life. And for those who say biting is disgusting (admittedly true) -- how is it any more disgusting than all that crap that collects under your nails when you have them long? I tried to do some gardening the other week and by the end my hands looked like I had clawed myself out of a grave.

Which brings me to my next point. One of the very reasons I bite my nails is because I can't stand it when something's out of place. (Remarkably, this does in no way apply to my work desk or bedroom.)

If there's a little taggle of loose skin on my nailbed, it has to go. There is no way in hell I am waiting to get home to neatly snip it off. Same goes for if a nail gets dirty or chips or flakes or even takes on an annoying shape -- I can't stand dealing with it even for a second. It's like the proverbial band aid -- just rip it off. For me, it's far less painful.

And yes, I know what people are saying: "OK, fine, you like your nails short. Why not carry around some nail scissors in your handbag?"

To them I say, nope. Sorry. Really, truly can't be bothered. Do you know how much stuff women have to carry around as it is? I have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to the crap that I lug around on a daily basis and nail scissors do not make the cut.

In saying that... it would be wrong of me to conclude this piece without acknowledging at least one fun part of having longer nails than usual, and that is, unequivocally, the ability to impatiently drum them on a table. Seriously, nothing says "you're wasting my time" quite like it.

Other than that? You can keep your manicures and shellac and inability to do up small buttons all to yourself. I've got less than a week of rocking these babies and then they are going straight back to their normal, pre-wedding-preparation state.

At the end of the day, I guess you can say when it comes to everything that comes with growing and maintaining long nails, this reporter has bitten off more than she can chew.

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