Lena deCasparis | Contributing Writer | Friday, 6 March 2015

Confessions Of A Nail Biter

The Debrief: Only my fellow nail biters will understand these things

'Hello, my name is Lena and I'm a compulsive nail biter'. Yep, I've got a habit. A serious one. Been addicted 25 years now, and having once reformed aged 22 (I had long gel nails for a bit), I fell fully back off the wagon.

In the years since my nails remain tiny, almost non-exsistent, little things. Wider than they are longer. And entirely unattractive.

It's bad, I know. An awful thing. But having been through my parents, teachers, exes, and countless mates telling me to stop, it's probably pretty unlikely I will.

Thankfully I'm not alone - one in four of young adults do it. So, for them only, here are some things you'd know if you too bite your nails:

You Get Used To People Telling You How Gross You Are

In very few other situations in life is it ever OK for people to tell you you’re a disgusting human being and that it's fine to physically force your hand to do something. But if you’re a nail biter you will be told several times a week how many germs your are spreading, and that you’re likely to get ill/spread disease. Oh and that your habit is ‘grosser than licking the loo’ – I mean, it’s clearly not – no skid marks on these hands! Fairly often people will even come over and physically hit/push/pull your hand from your mouth and think it’s entirely fine to have done so because 'it’s for your own good'. 

You've Grown To Like The Taste Of Stop And Grow

Yum, the bitter taste of rancid glue. Delicious. It really improved the taste of  HulaHoops/Jammy Dodgers/all the other ace things I ate as a kid by hand. Of course, while it worked very well as a delicious garnish it did NOTHING to stop me chewing. Nothing at all. 

#Manimonday Instagrams Just Make You Feel Shit

Nail art, that huge thing that’s trending everywhere, is completely pointless to me. I get the colours and patterns look nice – bold reds, matt navy, swishy lines - apparently you can even match your mani to your shoes? And I can see they look more complex than a Picasso? But anytime I attempt to paint my nails it’s a) impossible as I have the tiniest nail so more varnish ends up on the finger. And b) within say 45 minutes the varnish on at least three of nails will have been bitten off and will be in a little pile of varnish on the floor near me – and the other nails are just sitting ducks waiting to be my next victims.

In Fact Manis Are An Entirely Pointless Concept

Manis seem great; You go in with your best girlfriends post ‘brunching’ on some ‘cado, sit in squishy chairs, and talk about ‘how fabulous your lives are’ while your nails get did. It’s not for me though. Nope. I’ve tried to enter a salon – TBH never after a mid morning meal and my mates lives are pretty average – only to have the sweet manicurist shake her head violently at sight of my nails and say there’s nothing she can do. One once attempted a paint job (no need to file my bad boys) but the 20-minute lecture about nail hygiene and my 20 minute apology/lying act promising ‘never again’ confirmed in my mind they weren’t for me. Never again. 

You Need Friend's To Scratch Your Back, As You Can’t Do Your Own (Or Theirs)

In the past I’ve offered an ex 50p to scratch my back with his glorious nails, needless to say we’re no longer together. Itching a scratch just isn’t the same without some sharp edge. Instead you find substitutes - bookshelves edges are very good, FYI. 

You’ll Never Drum Your Nails On A Desk In That Cool Kick Ass Boss Way

Tapping a chewed up biro – pens lids lie in a pile of bitten soggy destruction behind me - just doesn’t quite make the same sound. Trust me, I’ve tried. In fact looking professional at all is a struggle if you’re a nail biter as when in most serious meetings you tend to be concentrating harder on ripping off that jagged edge on your pinky than anything the boss is saying. 

Opening Cans / Threading Needles / Anything Fiddly All Very Hard/Pretty Impossible

Ok so I haven’t personally attempted much needlework but I can imagine that threading would be basically impossible. Likewise a Diet Coke break often ends with me embarrassingly having to ask a colleague to open the can. Again, high score on the professional look!

And there you have it. But hey, bad habits die hard. 

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

How To Do A Blow Dry At Home That Would Even Impress Anna Wintour

Six Things You Only Know If You Have Curly Hair

How To Get Squeaky Clean Hair, Without Regular Shampoo 

Follow Lena On Twitter: @lenadecasparis

Tags: Beautification, Getting Ready