shade’s nails:
setting the record askew


Okay, so here’s the deal.  Sort of.  Actually, I might be lying my ass off.  Only the Shadow knows what mischief lurks in the hearts of men.

So anyway, I started growing my nails out in the mid-to-late ’80s.  Two reasons behind it:

  1. I played classical guitar, and the nails act as picks in that instance
  2. I saw the movie Angelheart, and Robert Di Nero sold me on long nails being where it’s at.

I only grew out my right hand, as you need short nails on the left to do fretwork, but I grew out the left thumb.  On the odd occasion when I was asked why, I would grin maniacally and reply, “Symmetry.”

Fortunately, only once have I been asked “are you growing that nail out on purpose?”  The source for this was The Singularity, so I take that with a grain of salt (and rub it into the wound of his obtusity.)

Anyway, by the mid ’90s, I had to face a practical reckoning on the situation.  I finally acknowledged that I was a better writer than guitarist, and the nails got in the way of typing.  So off they came.  Except for the thumbnails.  I kept, and continue to keep, those long, because I actually found that they occasionally came in useful.

How useful?  Glad you asked!  I am writing a mini manifesto on the subject, 101 Uses for a Long Thumbnail.  Actually, so far I have only compiled 57 reasons; I plan to publish when I hit 101.  New uses do crop up occasionally, so I expect this magnum manicurial manuscript to be completed around 2006.

Still, the fact that I have even come up with 50+ uses for a grown-out thumbnail speaks to just how “handy” they can be.

Besides, I think it’s time to liberate men from a physical stereotype.  I’m secure enough in my masculinity that I can have long nails and not worry about appearing feminine or gay.  So it’s time to explode the myth that long nails are exclusively feminine.  We’ve managed to get long hair acceptable with men, guys can now wear earrings—in both ears and other places—so why not nails?

Show your support: grow your thumbnails! Trust me: I can name at least 57 reasons you’ll be glad you did.




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