My Guitar Nails
That's my story and I'm sticking to it....
For nearly six years now, I've been having acrylic nails attached to three fingers on my right hand. My guitar, finger-pickin' hand. They use extremely powerful glue. I don't mind telling you that I've become very fond of the smell of this glue, it's familiar and cosy to me now.
There are some practical reasons why I do this and I can explain that a little later, suffice to say, I thought I could share my experience for other males who perhaps may feel like this is something they should do for their guitar playing (or otherwise, of course) but are maybe a little embarrassed?
I should mention also, that I need to go to a nail parlour or "salon", roughly around every 3-4 weeks. The natural nail becomes exposed after only a few days as it grows and pushes the new acrylic nail out. This leaves an unsightly gap from the cuticle out to the false nail and of course, this gap widens as the days go by. My girlfriend usually comments at this stage: "okay, so that's gross".
One of these salons happens to be right around the corner from where I live and is named "sexy nails". I'm always the only male in this salon and in every other salon I've been in around this country. In six years, I have never seen another male at any time. Yes, I enter with my head held high and my guitarist's swagger to boot (I'll get to that later too).
The first time I ever had the acrylic nails glued-on, as mentioned, was around six years ago, accompanied by my Mum. By the way, the cost has always varied but with no actual, noticeable price rise. Each time, upon completion, I get visually assessed. Not my nails, me. They look me up and down, and evidently they charge me accordingly. I've paid as little as $8 and as much as $25 for EXACTLY the same thing! I've never once asked for anything different to be done to my nails. I don't even question it. I never have. I politely pay whatever they ask for and say "see you next time".
My mother was visiting from London when I first had the courage to take a punt on the nails. Rather obvious really isn't it? That I should need my Mum by my side, in my early 30s, to take such a womanly step in my life as to have acrylic nails fixed to me. Mum was very matter of fact about it all: "ah well, if it saves your nails so that they don't break and you can play your gig properly, why not"? Nice response from the only woman in my life who has ever whole-heartedly supported my musical ambitions......but that's another song.
One of my favourite visits was when two girls approached me whilst I was washing my hands (we get told to wash our hands immediately after the procedure every time) and outright asked "What are you doing in here"? At first I felt offended and wanted to ask them the same damn thing....but when I turned around and saw how pretty the girl who spoke was, I smiled and calmly answered with a question "Now why would you ask me that"? They both giggled and replied "We were talking about you and we thought you were maybe a Hand Model"? For a second I thought about running with that. I could have turned on the charm and impressed with some imaginary stories about the life of a Hand Model..... Then I realised that the real reason I was there was much cooler.
In summary, gents! if you play guitar (or perhaps another stringed instrument) and you would like your nails to be stronger and to last through your gigs or even your practice, I honestly would subscribe to this procedure. Not only are my nails more durable, which was the original reason for doing this, but I actually play better. I have become a better guitar player because of my false nails.
I made reference to my "guitarist's swagger" - Yes, I have to think about looking cool when I walk in these places. Every time, no exceptions, I am conscious of my cool. Why? I'm not quite sure other than that everyone in there can usually hear what I ask for....and I imagine that they're all curious, they're also all female, having a manicure or a pedicure or something I'd rather not know about. I see their curious eyes, looking up at me from their vibrating massage chairs (yes, sometimes this looks hilarious, people wobbling and having their feet tended to). The best part is, when I say "why" I'm there, I feel completely cool. I think this is because I'm probably the only one whose reason for being there has nothing to do with vanity! to the point where my girlfriend thinks it's "gross" and so I relax once I let that be known and in my head I'm on stage, making my guitar gently weep, with my sweet finger-picking, like all good men with false nails.