What more is there to say on the subject of nail varnishing? The ritual, it's widely known, goes back well into the Turkish era but probably originated pre-Attaturk in what is now Peru. In those days thickened virgin blood made an appropriate consistency for painting finger-ending cuticles. We've come a long way since then and the substance can now be found in almost any Tesco or stately home. I purchased mine (COTY Street Whore Chic Shine
) in the local Boots where the staff were very helpful in selecting the correct colour to match my cheeks. After a small misunderstanding ("Sir! Please pull your trousers up!") I was ushered to an empty till pod and my £16.99 transaction was complete. I am told this is very competitive.
One of the more difficult choices in the run up to using nail varnish lies in which page of newspaper to use in case of any accidents. After a quick scan I fell upon The Guardian's obituary pages which contained a very nice picture of a dead pianist.
The first thing to note about this experience is that nail varnish bottles are very smooth. Usually made out of some kind of glass or plastic they show the consumer exactly what is inside the receptacle through the magic of transparency. The gold leaf lettering was also nice: it puts you in mind of a high-end bible or other sacred text (such as the Holy Korean, but everyone knows that's read back to front, unlike the label on my varnish).
Nothing can prepare you, though, for the awful, eye-watering, chemical smell emitting from each open bottle. For a moment I thought a dirty bomb had gone off. When I realised there hadn't been a bang and that Petrocelli
was still on the telly I dismissed this fancy and went immediately to the local Army surplus store to buy a chemical grade gas mask.
Once safely ensconced in the airway-liberating device I began to lift the brush out of the pot. I was more than a little disappointed to see that a few strands were sticking up in wayward directions. After telephoning COTY to tell them this (response: "If you don't stop with the heavy breathing I'll have to release this call!") I began to apply the paint to the back of each finger.
The sensation is a little like being massaged through cling film. Each wet sticky stroke layers the other in what can only be described as an "onion effect". After a little practice I was able to colour in each digit without going over the lines. The first part of the task was completed quickly and efficiently and without too much fuss.
The bottle clearly stated that the product was "super quick drying". This can't have been true because when I began rifling through my CD collection 15 seconds after application I managed to ruin most of the "G" section (Girls Aloud
, Gang of Four
and Garth Brooks
were all affected. The Game
managed to stay varnish free. He is filed under "T". For "The") and cursed rather loudly.
By the time I got to the sink to wash the blasted stuff off the varnish was rock hard. Normal soap and water didn't help. After boiling both hands to no avail I had to submit to a last resort. It took forty four minutes to clear each nail with a hammer and chisel. I lost the tops of three fingers in the process.
This isn't really something I can recommend unless you're into pain and waste. If the day proved anything it's that women who do this sort of thing habitually are lunatics and should be locked up for their own safety. On the plus side I have to say that for the few minutes that my hands were painted I actually felt rather attractive. Rating: ** = Stomachable