I pick at my fingernails. Some people bite their nails, and I’ve never understood how they do that. Do they bite clear through the nail, or are they biting and tearing it like a dog with a piece of meat? I’ve tried and failed to bite my nails, plus as a germaphobe I’m too aware of the pestilence under fingernails to start biting at them. Licking fake cheese off of your fingers after finishing a bag of chips is one thing, but chewing underneath the nail where the demons of disease lie in wait is something I cannot abide. I admit the difference could just be in my head.
For years when my nails have grown even a little bit, I start picking at them until their all unreasonably short. I’ll dig one nail into the other until one cracks, then I’ll pick and tear away at it until there’s no white showing at the end, then I’ll continue on to all my other nails until they’re all scraggily and broken. It’s not an attractive look, I can tell you. It looks like my nails have been through a rusty wood chipper.
Picking my nails is where my anxiousness and obsessiveness collide. It’s a nervous habit, so I do it when I’m uncomfortable or don’t know what to do with my hands (which is all the time), and once I pick at one I need to make all my nails the same. Not only does this result in ugly fingers, but often I’ll pick at a nail that’s too short and try to tear off that last white part only to give myself a hangnail. Of course, I then obsess about that until I can rip it off, which then hurts, makes my fingers all sore and sensitive and start to bleed.
That’s a great first impression to make when you shake someone’s hand. It looks like I’m offering them a diseased, bloody stump.
“Nice to meet you, Potential Client. Here’s some gangrene, on the house!”