There’s a scene in Gone With The Wind when Scarlett O’Hara must approach Rhett Butler (who’s languishing in jail) for money.
Proud and stubborn, she doesn’t want him to know that she’s struggling to survive. So Mamie sews her a dress from green velvet drapes. She curls her hair and wears a pretty bonnet. She is confident and charming. Rhett almost falls for it, but then he takes her hands…
Of course Scarlett has been working in the fields, trying desperately to hang onto her estate. Her hands reveal her impoverished state and Rhett realises she is obviously not visiting him out of the goodness of her heart.
That Scarlett, beautiful, smart, determined… and thwarted by fingernails.
“You can tell a lot about a woman from her hands,” so the saying goes. Being an habitual nail and cuticle biter, I never put much stock in this. I thought manicured fingers showed that you literally had too much time on your hands. Mine showed that I was stressed and trying very hard not to smoke.
But then Lynn came to work with bright pink nails. Lynn is one of those immaculately coiffed client service people with poker-straight model hair and gorgeous accessories. She’s also very helpful, kind and good at her job. Basically, impossible to dislike in any way.
For some reason, what years of my mother and husband’s nagging couldn’t achieve, Lynn’s pretty pink nails could.
So I went “cold finger” and stopped the savage nibbling of my hands for a month. Once they looked half-decent I took them to a manicurist and emerged feeling like Scarlett O’Hara in that green velvet curtain dress – strangely confident and full of girlish power.
It’s been another month and I still haven’t bitten them. I plan to wear bright nail varnish on my fingers and toes as often as possible this year. I find it goes exceptionally well with a pair of high heels and attitude.