Hard As Nails and Tough As Old Boots

People often say to me, "Emma, since you're not in the adult entertainment industry why do you sport long colourful acrylic nails?"

To which I roll my eyes and say, "Look, my nails are just a symptom of Porn Creep."

"Porn whatty?" some of my less informed friends invariably retort. So I go on to patiently explain:

"Well Porn Creep is the term for how porn culture has gradually spread into mainstream pop culture. Brazilians - the removal of all hair in the genital region - started in porn and is now widespread. Also, we don't think about it much anymore but the idea of plastic surgery as a mainstream trend including breast implants and now labiaplasty started in porn. And the sporting of really tacky acrylic nails was until recently the province of the porn actress. Now of course tacky talons are on runways as 'fashion statements' (although it beats me how you can see those nails from the side of a runway) and are all over the fashion glossies. Acrylic nails are the latest example of Porn Creep. And I am their latest victim!"

Porn Creep: Metallics at the Nary Manivong Show Spring 2010 (sort your hair out love!!)

So what happened was a couple of years ago I started getting my nails done. I was actually one of those people whose natural nails were a disaster and I chewed at the cuticles leaving them ragged. I was an embarassment. So I started going to this fabulous spa run by a bunch of Vietnamese who speak barely a word of English and I started paying through the nose for fake nails. The French Manicure was my gateway drug and as soon as I sported my first pair of fake nails I was hooked. Soon like those SM people who have to keep going for more and more pain for the same high I had moved on from your basic French manicure to having stars and transfers stuck on them. After that it was everything from fake diamonds to having half pink half purple to glitter bits and floral motifs. I freely admit I have a problem. I am also addicted to the Vietnamese spa. While I get my high from having my nails done so I can feel like a flashy trashy rich bitch I also adore the no nonsense attitude that pervades the place.

The French Manicure was my gateway drug...soon I was asking for fake diamonds and handpainted designs

The other day I went in the spa and the nail woman screamed: "You have nail fungus!" She was referring to a brown discoloured patch on my nail. All the other nail technicians gathered around and shook their heads distastefully. "Don't worry," my lady said. "We take care of you." I hoped she wasn't going to get out a pair of pliers and just rip the nail off in one fail swoop. No, it was fine. She looked at me in a disgusted fashion, told me she'd put a new fake nail on and then, "We do design to cover nail fungus." So that's how I currently come to be sporting a design of a tropical rainforest on my nails.

I love that take no crap attitude. It's like "You shut up! We take care of you!" Sure I love the massage chairs and the pedicures but it's also that attitude of whatever the problem is we will deal with it. Like I went there with my friend Jane who is a bit of a veggie nut and the nail technician took one look at her fingers which were a bit orange and said, "You have liver cancer!"

"No, I just eat a lot of carrots," Jane replied. But the woman kept shouting, "No, you get special herbs to cure it. I tell you to go to my friend she fix it. In my country we cure it with herbs.You got liver cancer!"

Whether or not Jane had liver cancer is beside the point - the lady told her what was what and how to contact the local Vietnamese witch doctor to get it sorted out. Man, I love that place. I love the way it is full of their kids running about the place and when you open a door looking for a toilet you find four people crouched on the floor eating rice from bowls with chopsticks. I love that I can't understand a word they say. To me, they are family.

The Vietnamese spa is - yes - it's my haven from the realities of life. In fact it's the equivalent of a massage parlour for men - the only difference, really is that I don't leave behind two tablespoons of viscous liquid. Like 'working girls' the nail technicians are paid to act like they care about whether I want stars or stripes on my nails and to pander to me making out that it is not crazy for me to spend fourty dollars every time to be cossetted and have bits of plastic stuck on my fingers.

So am I nuts or have you ever become addicted to something that while perfectly harmless was hard to justify in the grand scale of things?