on red

A couple of days ago I read an article on Fast Company Design on the color red. To sum it up, seeing the color red triggers the psychological neurons in your brain but decreases your IQ – in essence, the color red arouses you and makes you unfocused. This struck me as an interesting study and perhaps is the subliminal reason why I always stay away from red. I only own one red shirt and I just started wearing red lipstick about two months ago. And I’ve never ever had red nail polish in my life. 

She was sitting across from me, giggling in a high-pitched voice with her girlfriends about an inside joke. So young, so vibrant, with a face full of acne and perfectly polished red nails.
Then it occurred to me – I have never had red nails in my entire twenty-two years of existence.
Red nail polish has always said something about the maturity of women to me. It exudes regality; wisdom.
I have never found a “suitable” time to wear red nail polish. Wearing it on dates screams eager and lust; for interviews, it feels like I would be trying to be someone I’m not.
I have, however, had every other color in the rainbow. Oxblood. Holographic. Murky green. Powder blue. Baby pink. And an ocean of nail-designs, including the standard templates that can be found in nearly any Chinese salon.
Even red-orange. But never red.
Red nails means confidence, something I’m not 100% sure of at this point of my life. Red is also a little promiscuous.
This isn’t to say I haven’t toyed with the idea of painting my nails with the hue. I stare at O.P.I.’s Big Apple Red nearly every salon visit. I pick it up, with unsure confidence yet I think I have made my decision. This is it! I’m going to do it this time! Then it quickly goes back to the shelf, replaced with a deeper shade of red – one that I can handle – as I hope no one is standing behind me waiting to pick her bottle.

On my next manicure, I will remember the teenage girl with the red polish – laughing as if she didn’t have a care in the world. I will do what adults do and experience my first set of red nails.

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