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Nail-biting: An Apology

6 Sep

I am 51 years old and I am a nail biter. I don’t mean to apologize for my habit. Instead, I mean the lesser used meaning of apology  :  a formal justification.


I tried to stop when I was a teen and people around me started wearing nail polish, but I disliked how the polish felt on my nails. It seemed as though my fingertips were suffocating. Perhaps, had I been patient, I could have grown accustomed to the feeling, but I wasn’t, so I didn’t. I’ve tried other times, but haven’t really tried for several decades. The truth is, I LIKE my nails short and I enjoy biting  them.

When I am reading and I am really into the book, my thumbnail goes into my mouth and my teeth saw back and forth.

There is a particular joy I derive from biting my nails and I enjoy using my teeth, not a nail file, to smooth out the rough edges. I intensely dislike the sound of nails being filed.

Sometimes I bite my nails when I think deeply. I often bite them before writing my Tuesday Slice.

I know that my hands touch many nasty things during the day, especially when school is in session, so I wash them frequently. But I am not so germ phobic that I want to give us my dirty little habit. I tend to do it when I am alone, not in public. I don’t think I do it at school, unless I am behind a stack of papers that need grading.

School begins today and you won’t find me biting my nails out of nervousness anticipation. You might find me thinking about what I will say or the philosophy of the meeting place for writer’s workshop. I will make an effort not to bit my nails at school, though. I’d like to make a good impression on the first day.

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