I blame Louise, mostly.
Back in the day I had a spate of painting my nails various office-unfriendly colors — glittery, fire-engine reds, mostly — because … well, because I could. I have super-hard nails (nobody appreciates things unless they don’t have them) and I can grow them to ridiculous lengths if I’m not paying attention. Sort of, damn, got to cut those claws down. Yes, I know you soft nailed people are reeeaaallly feeling my pain on that one. Anyway, then I got a real job and had kids and blah blah blah and painting my nails became one of those things I did before, say, going to a wedding, using some monumentally boring pale pink like Essie Ballet Slippers. The other 360 days of the year I kept them clean, short and varnish-free.
Then I was going to Chicago and figured, why not? So I borrowed some random cafe latte-looking deal from the girls, and in a fit of creativity painted fuchsia glitter on top, and whoa Nellie. It was really fun. It looked great.
Then Louise gave my girls a bunch of fun, hip colors she was weeding from her collection, and now I am going to hell, because not only am I stealing colors from them, and hissing when they try to take them back, but I sort of skipped the fun, cheerful intermediate stuff and went right to Full Goth. I am pale, and I ask you — if you aren’t going to wear something Scarlet Whore-ish, why not something almost black? Every deep, dark shade provides a wonderful contrast with my skin. This week’s favorite color combination (yessss, my pretties!! Already layering!!!) involves OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark, a vamp-y scab-colored red-brown, on top of any random shade of mid-blue or green — resulting in something the color of a deep, dark bruise. Go ahead, shudder. It’s beautiful. No, seriously.
Only sticking this up here today (I have to go slap on another coat of OPI Russian Navy and pick up my father) because I’m sensing some interesting parallels with my perfume addiction. First: years of playing it safe/lack of interest. Then: for some random reason, noticing that nail polish comes in fun colors, not just dusty rose and beige — and since I’m not arguing a case before The Supreme Court tomorrow, who cares what people think? (After all, if Chanel is making navy and black, it just can’t be that outre any more, outside of my stodgy little neck of the woods.) The result: my teenage daughter looking askance at my nails and saying, “wow, mom… that is really … dark.” Voila — the nail equivalent of their not infrequent comment that my perfume is really strong.
My current infatuation with extreme colors reminds me of when I started to sniff fragrance — first, a little niche-y stuff like L’Artisan, and then more oddball stuff like Messe de Minuit, and then I only wanted to sniff the darkest, ripest, skankiest, leatheriest, most rubbery, civet-infested … you get the picture. It was like playing Fragrance Fear Factor. I’m not sorry I’ve moved on from that phase of my sniffage, but gosh, it was fun while it lasted. There’s something very addictive and perverse and strangely intense about that level of infatuation with fragrance.
images swiped from eBay: OPI Russian Navy (top) and Lincoln Park After Dark (bottom.)