“Of Course I Need It!” How to justify your polish addiction

By | May 1, 2013


All nail polish addicts inevitably run into a situation where someone confronts them with the most annoying and pointless of all questions – “Do you really NEED another polish?”

Sometimes this person is a friend, a loved one, someone who pays your bills, or even a voice in your own head. Well I’m here to tell you that voice, be it inside or outside your head, can just shut up. OF COURSE you need another polish! But if for some reason the questioner won’t accept, “Yes, because I say so” as a reasonable justification, I’ve broken down the most useful follow up arguments into five simple categories so you can end that silly conversation, and get on with acquiring pretty things.

Financial Justification

One of my favourite excuses in this category is postage. Australia Post charge ludicrous amounts to shift things around our country as well as in and out of it, and unfortunately that means that polish manufacturers often have to charge $7 or more to ship a single polish. What a waste! OBVIOUSLY the solution is to put more polishes in the package, so the shipping cost divides out into $2 per polish, rather than $7. And to think, my Economics teacher said I didn’t learn anything in his class!

Speaking of things I learned in Economics, another popular financial justification is supporting the local economy. If *I* don’t spend money on indie nail polish made in Australia, how will the Australian economy stay afloat in these uncertain times? Am I not supporting the Little Aussie Battler? Is it not my patriotic DUTY to lend a hand to fellow Australians and support their small businesses? If you’re buying American indies, the same logic can also be applied. The American economy is in a deep, dark hole at the moment, and if we don’t support our struggling American friends by supporting their small businesses, how can it ever recover? It would be callous and heartless of me NOT to buy the entire Jindie Nails summer collection.

And finally, there is the ever tantalising allure of The Bargain, otherwise known as But It’s On Sale and I Have To Use This Discount Code. My boy is fond of pointing out to me that if I spend 40% more on polish than I would have otherwise because I have a 40% discount, that it’s not really a saving. But he’s a writer, what would he know about maths? CLEARLY, buying things simply because they’re on special is a sound economic move. I get more polish per dollar I spend – how is that NOT a saving? There is a subset of this justification – the SuperBargain, against which almost all are utterly helpless. ulta3 is the ultimate expression of this justification, and I am rarely able to walk past a stand without picking one up. I mean, it’s $2 for a polish? TWO DOLLARS. That’s so cheap! What an amazing bargain! Sure, I bought 20 of them, but they were still only $2 each! Naysayers with their calculators can bugger off, and I will be happily over here with my 500 ulta3 polishes.

Co-ordination Justification

This is a category that’s notoriously difficult to explain to people with no personal style – if you want to look good, co-ordination is key. On one level that means making sure you don’t wear a Hawaiian shirt with Mambo print board shorts – but it also means not wearing a fluorescent base colour with a soft, delicate glitter over the top. It doesn’t do EITHER polish justice, and then it’s like you just wasted the money you spent on them. But if you get a base colour that matches perfectly with the glitter topper you just bought, then obviously this will add value to both polishes. If you find more than one colour that will look good under the glitter topper, then that’s adding even MORE value because it gives you more ways to wear it. You wouldn’t buy a shirt you can only wear with one pair of pants would you? Of course not, that would be ridiculous! And it’s the same with nail polish. The great thing about this justification is that it can be reversed to justify more clothes too. If I order three brilliant purple polishes, it would clearly be foolish of me not to buy that adorable bright purple dress I’ve been looking at, because otherwise my nails won’t match my outfit! And if I get that beautiful purple dress and I HAVEN’T ordered any purple polish, then obviously I need to. It’s not like I could wear orange polish with it – that would look awful, and make buying the dress a waste of money. This is one of my favourite justifications, because of the way it goes around and around like a beautiful moebius strip of reasoning.

Time Based Justification

Closely related to The Bargain, time based justifications are ones which determine that not only do you need to order that polish, you need to order it RIGHT NOW. The world of nail polish is full of devastating product discontinuations, limited editions, and changes to postal regulations that mean often if we don’t get what we want right this second, we will NEVER be able to get it. And never is a looong time. For example, the Nfu flakie collection is being discontinued soon. I already have a few of these, but are the ones I have really enough to last me FOREVER. Like, forever-ever? Will I never, ever want more Nfu flakie polish than I have? Considering I only have two bottles, this seems SUPER unlikely. Therefore, it would be ridiculous of me not to head over to Crush Cosmetics and buy the ones they have left in stock, even though it’s two days before payday. Everyone else knows they’re discontinued too – if I leave it until payday, they will probably be gone. And then I’m back at tragic square one, where I have to make two bottles last a lifetime. Remember that time you didn’t get tickets to the band you really love, because it was two days before pay day, and then they sold out, and everyone told you how incredibly awesome the show was, and then the band broke up after the tour? Remember how sad you were? Do you want to be that sad again? Of course not! Therefore, you have to go get that polish, for your own good.

Another almost irresistible time based justification is the siren song of The Flash Sale. Remember how we said it would be stupid NOT to spend less on polish if you could? Well, obviously flash sale going on, it would be stupid of you NOT to buy all the things you were planning on buying right now to take advantage. And maybe a few more, to make up the postage.

Comparative Justification

This is the one I personally go to the most. See, I’m lucky enough to have a partner who also has a crippling addiction – books. He has nearly 500, and very rarely actually reads any of them twice. But he always wants, always NEEDS more. We have agreed between us that if my polish ever catches up to his books, then I’ll have to slow down, but I’m pretty confident that’s never going to happen. This justification works with any hobby/addiction your friends and family have that you don’t share. If they give you grief about having more polishes than you could ever actually use, point out their cupboard full of unused wool; their shelves full of scrapbooking materials; their collection of books on cricket statistics that they’ve never opened. Nearly EVERYONE has a useless but ultimately satisfying hobby you can use in your comparative justification. If it so happens that you know one of the three people in the world without ANY hobbies, collections, or interests that are baffling to other people, you just have to point at other people in the polish community. Just like the geek community, I can guarantee that no matter how obsessive you are about nail polish, there is ALWAYS someone else more obsessive. You’ve only got 50 polishes? Mention the people who need five sets of drawers, and then point out that comparatively, your collection isn’t so bad. You’re one of those people with five helmers? Point to other people with collections totalling thousands. I don’t know any off the top of my head, but I’ll eat my hat if there’s not some out there.

And that’s more or less all the excuses justifications I know. Remember, if none of the above work, you can always fall back on a good old fashioned “Shut up.”

Cassie is a thirty something Sydneysider, who can be found spouting her endless opinions all over the internet. Her opinions are largely confined to The Reluctant Femme at present, but if you feel like you need a constant stream of it, she can also be found on Twitter (@anwyn).

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