Dear Lola,

I have been biting my nails since I was a child. Now that I am a young adult I am embarrassed by how they look. It’s also mortifying to catch myself doing it in public and realize people may be watching me. I’ve tried many ideas to stop the habit but none have seemed to be effective. Do you have any ideas on how to break this habit of a lifetime?


Nails Need A Break

Dear Nails Need A Break,

Funnily enough, I have actually attempted to help another reader with this very same problem. Unfortunately for humanity, my solutions were too ‘out of the box’ and did not actually solve the problem long-term. I’m going to make an effort to provide you with more realistic solutions and see if any of them work to correct the problem.

Have your mom follow you around all day to harangue you.

Imagine how quickly your habit would dissipate if your mother was sitting in a chair next to you at work. Every time you lifted a hand to your mouth, she would be right there to clear her throat loudly. As the days wore on, she would resort to lecturing you in full view of your peers. By the end of week two, she would probably celebrate her new profession with a cake for your office. Though now that I think about it, the stress and embarrassment would likely lead you to bite your nails far more often than you currently do. You would probably find yourself needing to use the restroom at least 10 times each day just to bite your nails in peace. I myself resorted to hiding behind a bed to chew my paw. So maybe we’ll move onto a new solution.

Soak your hands in the juice of a few ghost peppers.

Simply pop down to your grocery store and purchase the peppers. Marinate them in a bowl of water overnight. Then, twice each day, you will soak your fingers in the bowl for 15 minutes. Ignore the searing pain as your skin peels away from your bones. It is a small price to pay to break this embarrassing habit. After a few days of this treatment plan, you’ll never bite your nails again. You may also accidentally blind yourself when you rub your face, so do think about that before you proceed. You may need to wear a ski mask and goggles in order to protect the delicate skin above your neck. Which now that I’ve said it aloud, seems like a more drastic course of action than this problem requires.

Wear mittens on your hands. Every. single. day.

I know what you’re thinking – why not a pair of stylish gloves? No, no, no. Gloves are too much like fingers, and before the first hour is up, you will be gnawing on the tips. Not only will they end up covered in your saliva – think of the germs – they will quickly develop holes in the tips. Imagine how embarrassing that would look to everyone around you. This is not a musical and you are not in need of a hot bath after a day scrubbing the chimneys in a Victorian mansion. Mittens are the only logical solution. You will not have access to any fingers, or finger-like appendages, and will be able to resist chewing on the massive piece of cotton surrounding your hand. Plus, there is one major benefit to the mitten solution.

Your choice of fashion will not be looked at askew thanks to a lovely season we call Winter.

Unless you live in the southern hemisphere – in which case you are going to get some stares. Not to mention a serious case of hand sweat. Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to easily type if that’s a requirement for your job. Or use a smartphone. Or hold a pencil. Actually, there isn’t much you are going to be able to do except build a snowman. Is there any chance you do that for employment?! On the off chance you aren’t a professional snow people builder, I do have one more solution that may work.

Place a pencil eraser on each fingertip and pretend to be a dinosaur.

If nothing else, you’ll cheer yourself up every time you look down at your hands. Plus, you’ll never have an embarrassing spelling error again!


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