ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 32


The laments of a nail biter on this simple malady

By Bitten

I have a confession to make. I bite my nails. Yes that's why you usually see my fingers curled up out of sight and no that is not why I have such a bad appetite. The thing is like so many others before me (and am sure after me) I have realised that the malady is inescapable.


This desire to bite one’s nails does not come from an inherent desire to hurt oneself as one psychologist tried to convince the world, neither is it a fashion statement that the nail biting rich and famous tried to make – it's a simple malady. And like all Malady's mankind has spent much of its time trying to find a cure.

I too went through the various stages. I was first asked to paint my nails. This was in the hope that the idea of spoiling beautifully painted finger nails will prove disturbing.

A less than pleasing prospect to be sure (I don't fancy red ends to my fingers) but convincingly supposedly effective. It worked. For about a day, truth be told a couple of hours. You see the fact that ones nails have been painted is not an effective method of communicating with the patient’s mind. In most cases the patient’s mind is colour blind and does not see the glaring red as a means of diversion. The result unfortunately is that in most cases the patient suffers from an acute loss of appetite resulting directly from the biting of red nail polish. That remedy proved of no use and I was forced to look elsewhere.

A kindly relative suggested I put sticky tape on my finger nails. This proved much more difficult than first envisaged because the remedy in question is very sticky, excuse the pun. One is required to first cut finger size pieces of sticky tape and then stick it to the problem finger nails. It is hoped that the distaste caused by the stickiness will dissuade the sufferer from continuing his/her habit. Not successful once again and I believe an elaboration of the reasons will prove unnecessary.

That done and since I was now in the mood to try something a little more tasteful and try a more professional method I logged onto my guru – the internet.

I checked the ‘How To’ page and was informed that there was a long time solution to the malady – the application of a bitter and foul tasting substance to the finger nails. Hmmm… I was looking for something slightly more effective, my experience with the red nail polish being adequate as bitter and foul.


At that very moment an ad popped up declaring the most effective nail biting solution on the market to be – Hypnosis! The tapes were advertised for a mere (!) Twenty Nine US Dollars and guaranteed success by using the power of your subconscious mind to create a new pattern of behaviour and guaranteeing a new enjoyment out of maintaining a nice looking set of nails at any length that you might want to keep them. The first session deals with the creation of a positive habit by training ones brains to cease all urges to bite finger nails. The second session deals comprehensively instilling in you the belief that you are in complete control over every movement of your hands and makes it very easy for one to move his/her hand away from the mouth should you ever find it there!

Yes, I was tempted but an ever present hurdle propped up and I was compelled to move away from this absolutely astounding sure fire method due to a debit balance in the bank account!

You'd think I would have given up after all these failed attempts. But no I was absolute in my resolve and I soon after much trial and error successfully managed to rid myself of the habit. Oh the sheer joy of purchasing ones first nail clipper and cutting ones nails when they were…. Drum Roll… too long! I could actually get a French Manicure done! Oh the joy… it didn't last.

You see the lament of a nail biter is that s/he is used to the advantages that nail biting brings. For example, there is never the possibility of being pulled up for playing with mud. Common sense states that one cannot be in possession of dirt under ones fingernails when one does not posses fingernails. Further a nail biter is generally happier on the computer keyboard as opposed to a non sufferer. Right after I got my French manicure done I found that movement itself was restricted. I could not type out as fast as my thought process wished. The nails proved to be an impenetrable barrier between myself and the technological marvel. I could not open a container. Which led to depravation of ice cream for a long period of time – an especially trying situation. You see the Nail or more specifically the finger nail gets in the way. It gets in the way of buttoning up your shirt and eating rice and curry. It gets stuck in soap and makes life generally miserable. You cannot do simple menial tasks such as signing your name or checking out clothing as there is a possibility of causing much damage. Therefore I have resigned myself to my fate. There are those who can handle long nails and those who cannot. If you, like me belong to the latter, enjoy your nail biting experience – after all it's not everyone who is blessed with the malady!

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.