My love affair with the getting my nails done is second only to my love affair with mini dresses and statement pumps. Growing up in the Midwest, my friends and I would go to the nail shop religiously. Once there, I’d get my eyebrows threaded, my lash extensions put firmly in place and a quick fill in on my full set of nail extensions. Catholic school life made it hard to go all out as I wanted, so I salivated thinking of a time where I wouldn’t have to wear the same outfit as 600 other female assigned at birth folks and I could have loud colors on my nails.
After high school, I began getting all sorts of fun airbrushed looks, adorning on my nails with rhinestones and magnetic glitter, or playing it cool and simple with vintage red tips and exposed moons. Once I even got a ninja turtle set—with my thumbnail as Splinter of course.
When I came out, I immediately got rid of my falsies, as I was told by then fairy gay mother they were limiting my dating potential. But as someone who likes to have her cake, and eat it too, I found myself running to my own personal war council for advice on how to do just that. My old school femmes would tell me, “Just get them! You’ll just have to figure out how to work around them.” I’m a pretty resourceful girl, but even I don’t think I could work around a full set of spiked gold nails I was secretly pining for. They shook their heads as I surrendered, trying to explain to our nail technician I needed her to cut my nails shorter. “Yes, please cut them once more before you file,” I said. “Oh, and DEFINITELY yes to the gel wrap!”
Over brunch, my not-so-old-school femmes had advice for me as well. “Why don’t you just strap,” said one of them. “Absolutely not! Some things are sacred!” I said taking a bite of my sausage…and perhaps secretly imagining hiding one beneath my girdle and crinoline, then of course blushing and chugging my mimosa.
Really, I can’t help but feel my heart break a little when I see a decadent design on someone else’s full set of false nails. I know I’m saving a fortune by not having them myself, and my nails are healthier than they ever were with falsies covering them. But I do miss the sound of them clacking against a keyboard, or the feel of them after I’ve had a pink and white fill. So, I’m resolved. As femme who wants to have it all, the dyke mani dilemma will likely keep me in a deep sigh for a little while longer.