The Stiletto Challenge

It started with Gina showing off her Ed Hardy-inspired nails on the message boards at, followed closely by the [email protected]$$ November cover of Nails Magazine featuring tattoo-style artwork. Then J (aka OPI educator Joseph Pham) threw down the gauntlet and challenged us all to an Ed Hardy nail-off.


Although I adore stiletto nails, I don’t get to do them on anyone because my clients are all far too practical and gainfully employed for these things.


So I decided to meet J’s challenge, and see if I can turn out an acceptable stiletto at the same time.


I see a lot of photos posted out there of “stiletto” nails that I just don’t think qualify. Stilettos are not merely nails that have been filed into a point. Those are pointed nails. When I was taught stilettos, it was pointed out that they are supposed to maintain a very deep, pronounced C-curve — all the way to the very pointy point. Pulling off this technique means you can’t really do it with tips. (At least until some company starts developing stiletto tips. Wonder how long that will take?)


I figured before I go blabbing about the difference between pointy nails and stiletto nails, I’d better make sure I can pull off the latter before criticizing the former. So here’s my contribution. I’m pretty proud of myself.


Meanwhile, the boyfriend and the coworkers all got an up-close look at why stilettos aren’t just long, pointy nails, and I think they were all pretty impressed to discover there’s more to it than that.


So I had a little down time this week and spent it working on doing the rest of my right hand to match the one nail. I have now been sporting one hand full of stilettos for 24 hours. When anyone asks me how I do anything, I hold up my left hand — which is still natural and very short — and pronounce, “I’m left-handed!”


I have decided to do all 10 nails in stilettos. Then I’m going to live with them for one week. This is a major challenge to myself. I don’t wear my nails long, let alone extra-long and super pokey. I’m hoping to enjoy lots of attention and maybe find a few clients who are in the market for exactly this type of nail, while also enjoying the opportunity to laugh at myself while I try to figure out how to zip up my pants — not to mention type!


So far my coworkers have rolled their eyes and can’t believe I’m really going to do both hands and at least one client has made a serious bet with me — she doesn’t think I can make it.


I made the rule that the challenge doesn’t begin until I get both hands done, so it might be awhile before I get to report my results.


Wish me luck! (But if I make it, I expect gift cards for lattés.)

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