Fingernails: Useful Tool or Bothersome Germ Trap?

For the first time in my life (or seemingly as long) my fingernails have decided to grow rather than break, flake or fall off. Having never had fingernails of any significance, I decided to let them grow and see if I liked them. While I’m no Shridhar Chillal, they have grown a bit and are clacking against the keyboard keys this very minute.

Thus far they have proved to be a nuisance more than anything. Other than their supreme scratching abilities, they seem to get in the way. I had abnormal difficulty when I was changing my jewlery and I experienced extream pain when one bent backwards as I opened a package today. Maybe it’s because mine aren’t strong enough to be of any use. . .sigh Oh well, I guess I’ll chop 'em off tonight.

So how do your nails stack up on the scratch-o-meter? Good? Bad? Not worth mentioning?

I have great nails! They’re real strong. Typing gets easier once you’re used to them. Only on my left hand though, cause I can’t bowl with long nails. So on my right hand I have two short nails. Long nails come in handy for lots of things! Cutting the paper strip around a bottle of ketchup or salad dressing, peeling off stickers, breaking the plastic cover thing on bottles of aspirin, picking your nose (ewww!), cleaning other nails. A myriad of possibilities!

My fingernails are long, strong and beautiful, but they are germ-catchers. I handwash constantly at the hospital anyway, but cut them short when I’m going to be in OB. I glove when taking care of patients with fragile skin and am aware that my nails are very sharp. I like the way my hands look with my nails long and they are useful in peeeling oranges and scratching various things, some of which purr in blissful enjoyment…Everything new takes getting used to and only you can decide if it’s worth it.

Methinks you are talking about more than cats…

In my teen years, I played guitar, so I had to keep my nails short. It became a habit. I find when they get longer, I hurt myself, or they catch on things and get little notches that I worry… I keep 'em short and nobody gets hurt!


Same here. I played the violin, and I kept my nails as short as possible. I keep them short still, partially out of habit, and partially out a desire to not scratch anyone or get dirt under my nails.

My father always says “If we weren’t meant to pick our noses, God wouldn’t have given us fingernails.”

My Dad is one of life’s great unappreciated thinkers.

I play guitar and electric bass (both fretted and fretless) so I keep the nails long on the right and short on the left.

Long nails are great for plucking; you get strong and precise tone with plenty of control over dynamics.

Several years ago I was playing acoustic guitar regularly so I had the nails on my right hand strengthened with acrylic (I know several women who do this for fashion, who love showing off the latest paint-job every time I see them). The tone was incredibly brittle to my ear, as if I was playing with a glass pick. It was especially wrong for bass, which is my primary instrument, so I had them removed after a couple of weeks.

Short nails won’t scratch the fretboard, which is especially important on fretless bass.

I just measured, the actual length of the tip of my ring finger’s nail (the white part) is 1/8 inch - not long in the true sense, just longer than the ones on the left which I keep close-cut.