By Victoria Kao

Because it makes us feel good, damn it.

It’s like when you finally see the sun after days of clouds and rain, or when you receive that 10th punch on your Espresso Royale card. It’s like when a stranger compliments you, or when every traffic light is green.

These are the little things in life that put us in a good mood, and painting our nails is one of them.

It’s a form of expression  a way for us to show our personalities and express our creativity. Gentlemen, you want to win points with a girl? Compliment her nails. A lot of time and effort went into those 10 delicate nail beds, and letting us know you notice will make us notice you. 


My apartment consists of 3 nail-painting enthusiasts, and one nail-painting hater. Every week, a very special ritual occurs. The three enthusiasts (myself included), sit at our dining table and pool together our collection of nail polishes. The solo hater oftentimes scoffs at our giddiness and comments on the ludicrousness of our 40+ little bottles of beauty. But we ignore her; we are already removing the polish from the previous week.

After the polish is removed, we each take our respective nail files and carefully file and shape our nails. This is to make sure all the nails are even and smooth, keeping them uniform and healthy. No one likes jagged nails.

Next, we apply a base coat which acts as a primer. Base coats make the application smooth and clean.

Then comes the color, the most exciting (or stressful) part of the ritual. Choosing a color is like choosing how you want to present yourself to the world. Do we want a color that matches any outfit, or a color that screams boldness?


Sometimes we begin the ritual knowing very well what color we want, but most of the time we choose a color based on what we think looks the prettiest or what the names of the colors are. Companies like OPI, Essie and China Glaze understand this. That’s why they give their colors grand names.  If we’re feeling powerful, we wear “Who Needs a Prince?” by OPI.  If we’re feeling glamorous, we wear “Bottle Service” by Essie. If we’re feeling flirty, we wear “Rendevouz With You” by China Glaze. If we want to feel mysterious, we wear “Midnight in Moscow” by OPI.

After we choose and apply the color, we add a top coat to the nail which does two things: It adds a layer of shine and prevents the polish from chipping.

Now it’s drying time. Don’t bother asking us to do anything that requires the slightest hand movement during drying time. This is the most important part of the ritual, for if we do not let our nails dry completely, we are at risk of ruining the perfection and effort we put in.

At the end of the ritual, we feel accomplished, beautiful, poised and radiant. “Your nails look fabulous” we say to each other, and our serotonin levels are heightened.

Sometimes, my apartment jokes that if we were to ever get robbed, we would be most upset if all our nail polishes were stolen. It’s like stealing our license or credit card- it’s stealing a form of our identity, a form of who we are.

Laugh all you want and make fun of my apartment’s ritual. As ridiculous as it seems, we ladies take nail-painting very seriously. Just like playing computer games, collecting stamps or watching movies give many people satisfaction, painting our nails gives some girls the same guilty pleasure.

A girl who has freshly painted nails is a confident one who is sure of herself. A girl with manicured hands has taken the time to perfect something that makes her happy.

And who are you to judge what makes a person happy?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s