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.

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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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9 Responses to “Nail-biting: An Apology”

  1. barbara suter September 6, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    We all have our “secrets.” You are brave to share yours. Maybe the best thing to do is to come clean and admit yours to your students. I’m sure they’ll be grateful for sharing your secret, and very forgiving since they surely all have secrets of their own!

  2. arjeha September 6, 2016 at 11:28 am #

    I agree, we should not apologize for our habits. There is nothing wrong with them. For years I was a pencil chewer, especially when in deep thought.

  3. terierrol September 6, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    I appreciate you sharing your secret. We are all human and all have foibles. It is what makes us so interesting!

  4. Peter Anderson September 6, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    This is an awesome post! My wife’s nail biting is a common source of frustration between the two of us. I love this: ‘When I am reading and I am really into the book, my thumbnail goes into my mouth and my teeth saw back and forth.’ And the part about doing it behind a stack of papers is equally great. I reveled in the joy you take!

  5. lisaorchard1 September 6, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    I’m a reformed nail biter. I used to do it when I was younger and into my teens. I stopped when I went to college for some reason. I’m not sure why, but I certainly understand the joy you get out of doing it! 🙂

  6. Tara Smith September 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

    I do this, too…this is one resolution I simply can’t seem to keep. Sigh.

  7. marilynyung September 6, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    I keep my nails short, but I don’t bite… well, I take a nibble here and there. I used to have really long, beautiful nails, but with long nails I can’t type and I have to think about them more than I want to. And I like the sound of playing guitar with short nails better than long. So many reasons to keep clipping (and nibbling)!

  8. Amy Warntz September 6, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    I think we all have our vices. At least your are not in denial about yours! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Ms Victor Reads September 7, 2016 at 5:00 am #

    I was a nail biter for 37 years and then quit during an extremely stressful time of my life (I always knew my nail biting was not because of stress). Although I am not really a nail biter now I do neaten them sometimes this way. I also hate the feeling of nail polish on my nails- feels too heavy! Great slice!

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