Like all big problems, this one started small. I was a shy, anxious, and socially awkward child. When I was 7 years old, I watched the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea and saw one of the most beautiful and powerful women who would ever grace the track; sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner. The first thing I noticed about her (other than her radiant smile and the fact that she left her opponents in the dust) was her red, white, blue, and gold painted nails. I had never seen anyone with nails that long and decided that, not only would I become a sprinter and grow my nails that length, I would also paint them like she did. As my nails grew longer, I found that people initiated conversations with me more often. They usually asked, “Are those your real nails?” , followed by, “Wow! they’re so nicely painted.”
For a kid who was terrified to initiate conversation, this was a gift from heaven; people were actually starting conversations with me! It was great 🙂 It also sparked my nail polish hoarding. The whole reason I started collecting nail polish was to find the gold nail polish that Flo-Jo was wearing during her race. I never really found it, but I did find several duplicates. However, I also found others–lots of them, and what money I didn’t spend on books, I spent on nail polish. By the time I was in 7th grade I had 50 bottles; in high school that number reached 100, and by the time I dropped out of college I had nearly 300 bottles. And then I stopped counting. In 2009 I found out that I was one of many nail polish collectors and there were entire blogs devoted to nail polish–with pictures! At first I thought it was odd, but then I remembered all the beauty and fashion blogs I have seen and realized that everyone has an unusual fixation with something. I didn’t feel so alone after that.
I quickly learned all the nail polish collecting vernacular. For example, ‘limited edition’ usually means, “if-you-don’t-buy-this-now-you’re-going-to-regret-it-later”. Every brand releases several limited edition collections, which you can later find on eBay being re-sold for ridiculous amounts of money. The people who do this are called “eBay scalpers” and there are lots of them. “Very Hard To Find” means that the colour you want is only available if you want to pay the ridiculous amounts of money for it. (Some examples; Chanel Holographic, Essie Starry Starry Night, and Clarins #230–the ‘Holy Grail’ of very-hard-to-find nail polish)
I buy nail polish like I buy books; no matter how many I have, I always need more. There’s always a new season with a new colour palate, or a new brand with a new gimmick. I have crackle nail polish, scented nail polish, and nail polish that changes colour in the sun. I have nail polish that costs$1, nail polish that costs $12, and nail polish that costs $20. I have nail polish that sparkles, nail polish that looks like it’s made of suede, and nail polish that glows-in-the-dark. Like any real collector, I sound like a crazy person when I discuss my collection with someone who isn’t similarly afflicted. I’m fortunate to have found a community of like-minded people through make-up forums, blogs, and other social net-working sites. It’s fun talking about make up, and as I always say to my mother (who thinks my collection is a waste of time and money), it’s cheaper than shoes and purses.
When I decided to include a picture, I just grabbed a bunch of bottles I had lying around. I counted them so I could give a vague idea of how many I have and then I realized that I had 134 bottles of nail polish. Just. Lying. Around. Of course this is a problem! It’s not a problem in the sense that enjoying the taste of bleach is a problem, but it is definitely not normal. But neither is collecting baseball cards, or Beanie Babies, or antique glass. Frankly, it’s all weird, so no one has the right to judge anyone else for their weirdness. If it’s all the same to you, I’d like to hold on to this quirk of mine. Sometimes people say condescending things like, “Your nails always look nice. I never have the time to paint my nails!” and that’s when I tell them I painted my nails in the 10 minutes before I left the house for work. Another bonus of being a life-long nail polish addict; I can do my nails in the time it takes most people to put cream and sugar in their coffee.
I will always be grateful for the role nail care has played in my life. I don’t keep them long anymore, but I still paint them on a regular basis. I don’t feel pressured to buy every ‘hot new shade’ because really, it gets expensive after a while. But once in a blue moon a colour (or collection) comes along that I just *need* to have.
Lord, help me.
Until Next Time,