I have a friend who thinks it’s okay to clip his fingernails in public, such as in the living room when guests are visiting. This act completely repulses me. I can’t get over the fear that an errant snip will result in a stray nail clipping getting lodged in my eye. I don’t have the same reaction to someone who bites their nails, even though that’s way nasty due to all the germs they are putting in their mouths. Oh wait, I do it sometimes too… Anyway, what are your thoughts on this matter?
Not a Clippers Fan
I know how you feel. I have always thought of nail clipping, especially toenail clipping, as a very private matter. In fact, only the masturbation habits of the Queen of England would qualify as a less likely topic for conversation around my house. Since you were crass enough to broach the subject, I suppose I am duty-bound to offer my advice on the matter.
First, and let me perfectly clear on this point, nail-biting is a deplorable habit—on par with wearing a pinky ring in public. I should know, I was a nail-biter for two decades. In fact, the habit was so all-consuming that it cost me my career, my love life, and what may have been my one chance at true happiness. You see, one day long ago a substitute Language Arts teacher for Mrs. LaBelle’s Fifth Grade Language Arts class made a handful of students line up in front of the class. I can’t remember the rationale for this humiliation, but it had something to do with teaching us about lying. We were to hold our hands behind our back, I think, and tell the teacher whether or not we bit our nails. Of course, we all said that we did not. I’ve never been a good liar—hence the brutal honesty with which I address my readers—and it certainly showed that day.
Even before we were told to reveal our fingers for inspection, the class had begun to laugh at my obvious infirmity. When my attempt at deception was revealed for all to see, my embarrassment was complete. Everyone, including the substitute teacher and the girl who was the love of my Fifth Grade life, were laughing and pointing at me. Not only was my love life shot basically until college, but from that moment on, I held a deep distrust of Language Arts, shattering my dreams of becoming a real writer and dooming me to a life as a worthless hack advice columnist on the Internet.
Long story short, at least your friend is using a clipper. However, that’s only a small glimmer of light on an otherwise dreary tunnel of unfortunate behavior. As I said before, nail maintenance is a private matter that should not be aired outside of the bedrooom or the bathroom. But, the really important question is what your friend does with the nail clippings after they’ve been forcefully severed from their roots. Knowing this can really tell you a lot about someone’s personality. Some examples:
- Discards clippings in the trash: Hints at an obsessive cleanliness, perhaps indicating prudish or restrained sexuality. What this person lacks in libido, they make up for in character. Sense of humor tends to be of the self-depracating, Simpsons-quoting variety.
- Tucks clippings under sofa cushions: Indicates a thougtful, nesting personality; someone who is intent on planning and saving for the future. Likely to be very giving in bed, focusing as much on the needs of his/her partner as on his/her own. Tends to be soft-spoken, but with a sharp mind and clever wit that can catch others off guard on occasion.
- Drops clippings into a potted plant: Likely has a deep connection to nature, who desires to waste nothing in creation. Whether Pagan/Wiccan or just tending toward a green thumb, this unique individual believes all living things have value, and contribute to the unending circle of life. (Seen most often among nail-biters.)
- Flicks clippings across the room, occasionally lodging them in the eyes of visitors: Unfortunately, this is very common behavior among young males. It’s a telltale sign of emotional immaturity and selfish sexual behavior.
- This guy looks out for Number One, and couldn’t care less what happens to the other guy, or girl. Don’t expect a satisfying relationship, either physically or emotionally, with a nail-flicker. Sadly, these men also tend to be better looking than their more cultured, thoughtful brethren, and thus tend to sleep with more women.
- Eats clippings: Combine #’s 3 and 4.
- Puts clippings on display as some sort of concept art: This is a good indication that someone is on meth. The idea of turning human waste into modern art may seem like a great idea to a junkie, but any sane or sober person would go with something in options 1-5. Stay away from these freaks.
I hope this not only helps you relate better to your nail-clipping friend, but also opens your eyes to a whole new way of judging people who are different from yourself. Next week: Tao and the Art of Proper Dental Hygeine.