ARRIVING late for the third time this week, I sheepishly mumbled my excuses to my friends.
"Roadworks were terrible, and there was a big nasty accident, and the streets were lined with angry giant toads which meant I had to drive really slowly," I lied.
No, the real reason I was late was my nails.
After years of sporting stubby, grubby, half-chewed reporter's fingernails, I was recently bestowed with a glorious set of falsies which, this week, have become the centre of my life.
Since heading down to Glitz salon on Elm Road in Skellow last week for a spectacular set of sculptured French-manicured tips, complete with pink and silver nail art, my life has been transformed.
Tasks that I took for granted, I am almost unable to perform.
Buttoning up my shirt for example, has become practically impossible as my super-nails slipped on the little plastic discs again and again and again. Giving it up as a bad job, I have been wearing pullovers this week.
Similarly my eyeshadow set, which does have a tricky clasp, ended up being hurled across the bedroom in a fury as the seconds turned into minutes and ate through precious breakfast time.
But after a couple of days of hunger and less make-up, much like a monkey discovering tools for the first time, I realised with great delight and wonder that jamming tweezers near the hinge opened the wretched little pot quite easily. Who would have thought that would make me feel so childishly smug?
But, being digitally disabled is just a minor irritation compared to the sheer joy of having these fabulous talons.
Regardless of the fact my typing speed has been halved and now sounds like cockroaches rattling in a tin, as an interviewee succinctly put it, I can barely write a sentence without being distracted by their beautiful sheer pink shininess.
Running my fingertips over their smooth tips is compulsive and I have to keep reminding myself I am at work every time I end up in a trance-like state, gazing down at my exquisite fingers.
But beauty aside, these magic nails have altered my state of mind.
No longer shy and embarrassed by my hands, they are now up front and in-yer-face.
"Look at my nails!" I shout as a mad mantra to all my colleagues.
I am Catwoman. Or at least her curvier sister. These nails are a weapon, a symbol, a message.
They say "Don't mess with me or you'll receive a scratched face."
I have joined the sisterhood and have acquired elevated status. Like the secret female language of shoes, handbags, make-up and hair, they tell other girls I am important and take care of myself. Beware of my claws.
But these are not just ordinary false nails. They have been made by one of Doncaster's top nail artists using the very latest techniques and products in the world of nail technology.
Glitz co-owner, and nail wizard Andrea Smeaton, is award-winning in her artistry and craftsmanship. Both her and fellow owner Rachel Hutchinson are now two of only 12 nail artists in the country to be awarded "Premier" status by Calgel, the industry's creme-de-la-creme of nail products.
Calgel, said Andrea, is made of secret ingredients, does not damage real nails, and lasts for ages before growing or dropping off.
And so far, she is right.
My nails are dainty, realistic and virtually indestructible.
I can prod, pick and practically scratch my nails down any chalk-board without damaging them in the slightest.
With a full set of tips at Glitz starting at 38.25, they are not an everyday luxury but they are arguably the best nails in Doncaster and while they last I am making every second with them count.
Dexterity, I discovered, can be re-learned.
To book an appointment at Glitz, call (01302) 726265 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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