Deb Sarah needs help!

I have a really bad habit.

Actually, I have more than one, but this bad habit is going to be on display, over and over again, as I begin book signings this month.

I’m a nail-biter. Always have been, ever since I was little. That’s why I need your help. I don’t want people looking down at my poor mangled fingers when I sign their book. Yuck! So how can I stop biting in the next two weeks? I mean, I’m as nervous as I’ve ever been – what a time to try to break my habit.

So please help me by suggesting an idea below, and on Friday, I’ll pick a comment at random and send the winner a signed copy of The Opposite of Me! And if you’d like to read the first chapter of my book, it’s up on the Simon&Schuster website here!

39 Replies to “Deb Sarah needs help!”

  1. I hate to admit it, but I am also a nail biter. Always have been – my grandpa used to threaten to put some nasty salve on my hands (have NO idea to this day what he was talking about!)so I wouldn’t bite them anymore.

    Nothing has ever worked for me!

    So, Sarah – good luck cause I know what you mean. Whenever I have something important coming up I am totally embarrassed about my nails.

    You could- wear gloves (explained by a mild case of OCD)
    You could- get those fake acrylics (and bite them off which, trust me, looks even more disgusting than your own bitten down nails)
    You could- sign books with your teeth
    You could- start smoking instead.
    You could- hire a hand model to sit next to you and sign books
    You could- find that nasty salve and coat your nails in it. My grandpa would be proud.

  2. Sarah, I used to have to same problem – my nails were awful and I always bit them ever since I could chew!

    What I did to kick the habit was find another nervous one – like drinking too much coffee or smoking cigarettes – haha, I kid, I kid about the last one. But truthfully, what got rid of my nail biting was constantly getting manicures. If I have polish on them then I don’t want to bit them.

    For me, it’s something about the smell of my nails that makes me want to chew them all off. I don’t know, call me weird, but that’s the truth. Hope it works for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I was a nail biter all my life, so I feel your pain. The only way to cure the habit is to go have acrylics put on. You’ll love how they look, they are impossible to bite through (well, nearly!) and, after awhile, you’ll have broken the habit. Besides, it will be an absolute treat to yourself for all those books you will be selling at your signing! They don’t have to be really long and fake-looking; just enough length to make your hands look nice. Get the natural pink/white version done and you’ll LOVE it.
    Good luck with sales!

  4. Never a nail biter, was always a nail picker. At the end of the day they look just as vile. What I did before my book signings was put bandaids over the top of all my fingers. It makes typing interesting. However when you go to bite or pick you snag on them first and it is enough to remind me that “oh yeah” I’m not supposed to be doing this.

    Total anxiety habit for me. Of course one can’t wear band aids forever- thus I’ve gone back to my old ways. But it will work in the short time.

    PS buy cheap bandaids. You’re going to go through a lot.

  5. Several years ago my kids got pinworms. Pinworms are tiny little worms that live in your colon and come out at night when you are sleeping, presumably to lay eggs on your anus, but for all I know they may have a dual agenda. Disgusting, right? Well, they are primarily transmitted by a person itching their butt at night, then touching something, say a doorknob, then another person touches that doorknob, gets the worm under their finger and then puts that finger in their mouth. So every time you put your finger in your mouth, you could potentially be eating a worm that crawled from someone’s butt. So I recommend thinking of someone that you find sort of gross, then every time you go to bite your fingernail, visualize eating that person’s assworm.

  6. Greetings Sarah,

    I think Chewing Gum may do the trick! You may become absorbed in Gum Chewing, however your hands will be Free, your nails will be Pretty and you can sign sign sing your new book THE OPPOSITE OF ME w/this in mind.

    Best of it all,
    Sharmina T. <3

  7. Great suggestions so far, especially the topless one. You’d get a whole new audience! Theidea of getting another habit to replace this one is fabulous. Who doesn’t need another glass of wine after a long day?!
    Good Luck to ya!

  8. Nail biter/picker here as well. Intermittent, but lifelong. It’s an anxiety thing for me too.

    I read once that biting your nails is about the worst thing you can do to your teeth enamel. That fun factoid freaked me out enough to stop (for a while).

    I keep a nail file and buffer by my laptop and whenever I go to bite/pick my nails, I file/buff instead.

    Believe it or not, I can recommend a salve: Burt’s Bees Hand Salve. Rub it into your cuticles and fingertips. You won’t be tempted to bite because it smells like furniture polish. And it makes your nails look nice!

  9. Growing up in the 1970’s my friend, Evie, and I were nail biters. Our moms told us that if we let our nails grow they would take us out to a fancy lunch. We are now 40 and Evie can’t quit biting her nails. I don’t think we will ever get that lunch!

    When I want my nails to grow nice now I put on lots of lotion so that I can’t pick at them or bite them. Plus, your hands will look nice too!

    If I were lucky enough to be at one of your book signings I would definately not be looking at your fingernails! I would be more worried about what my nails looked like!

  10. Sarah, DO NOT get acrylics put on your nails (the fake nail glue will RAVAGE them). But what I DO recommend bc I too used to bite my nails, is what I did for 6 months before my wedding. I’d have the nail salon either do either silk wraps (more gentle on your nails) or have them just put the acrylic directly on to YOUR nails, NOT a fake nail glued to yours. I’d recommend you keep getting them filled every two weeks for about 3-4 months. You’ll break the daily habit by then. Good luck!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Hi Sarah,

    When we were little my sister was a nail biter. My parents found this stuff by Sally Hansen to put on her nails. It has a horrible taste. Just apply it every day. The taste is enough to make you want to stop. Do not go to the salon and have anything done to your nails. If you’re a nail biter/picker you will just waste your money and it will be a waste. Plus, the glue and other any chemicals they use will just ruin the new nails that grow in. I suggest going to a beauty supply store if you cannot find the Sally Hansen product in your local drug store. Hope it works. Good Luck. Are you doing a book signing in the Boston area? I would love to come and meet you?


  12. Okay…everyone else has already suggested what I would have suggested…I have to put my vote in for the Butt Worms…if that doesn’t work, I don’t know what will!!

  13. My name is Karen and I used to be a nail-biter too. I started biting my nails in first grade because my teacher would dump my desk every Friday because it was messy which caused all my crayons to break. It stressed me out so much that I started biting my nails. I didn’t stop biting them till I was twenty-five years old, twenty years later. My wonderful boss at the time got so sick of seeing me bite my nails that she couldn’t take it anymore. She called me into her office one morning and asked me if I had lunch plans. When I said no, she told me I was going to go to the nail salon across the street from our office in DC and get acrylic nails put on. She told me to not get them refilled in a few weeks but instead keep them on as they grew out for three weeks. Then have them removed, manicured and always keep them polished. It took the three weeks to break me of the habit of biting and then keeping them nicely polished constantly gave me a sense of pride at how nice my hands looked.
    I really think that this could work for anyone and with your hands being in the spotlight starting in two weeks, you will be almost free of you bad habit and have nice nails/hands to boot. Good luck Sarah. I know how much this can suck and how self conscious raggedy nails can make a girl.

  14. Take really good vitamins. They make your nails stronger – then they’re harder to bite and they don’t flake/peel – which for me always starts the biting process again.

  15. OK, there are some really interesting ideas here. I was going to go with a simple manicure with silk wraps or gel nails. I feel so not creative in my suggestion, but that is what I would do. Best of luck!

  16. Sarah, did you ever read the Stephen King story “Quitters, Inc?” Here’s a summary from Wikipedia:

    The main character, Richard “Dick” Morrison, is a middle-aged man who would like to quit smoking. His friend James “Jim” McCann advises him to go to Quitters, Inc., the firm that he says helped him kick the habit. The firm is said to have a 98% success rate with their clients and guarantees that once the person has enrolled for treatment, he will never smoke again.

    Dick finds out about the brutal enforcement methods used by Quitters, Inc. from Vic Donatti, Dick’s quitting counselor. These include administering non-fatal electric shocks of increasing intensity to his family members if he is caught smoking a cigarette, and eventually, with enough infractions, administering shocks to him as well. Donatti also reveals that after the ninth infraction, Alvin, Dick’s mentally disabled son’s arms would be broken. Finally, if Dick commits a tenth infraction, Donatti says, placing a gun on his desk, Dick would become part of “the unregenerate two percent.”

    LOL, I bet this would work. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Our dentist told us that our younger one had to stop sucking his thumb because it was damaging his bite. I didn’t think we had a chance–he needed to to fall asleep, and further sucked in his sleep. How could we possibly control that?

    The answer: MAVALA STOP. It’s a gross tasting nail polish made to stop thumb sucking and, yes, nail biting.
    Here’s the Amazon link. It costs less than 10 dollars.

    Seriously, this stuff was amazing. Our boy stopped thumb sucking after ONE NIGHT. It has *338* five star reviews on Amazon. (And a few hilarious low-star ones that claim their child loves the taste–how funny and bizarre!)

    Go. Buy. Problem solved!

  18. I *loved* and laughed at the topless comment. I was horrified, sickened and repulsed by the pinworm/ass scratching comment. I think it has to win. There will be no better answer.

  19. I would go for either the manicure or the oil that makes them taste bad. For me, the manicure is the only thing that works. Get some pretty polish on there and you won’t want to ruin it!

  20. You are a wife, mother, and published author. Now is not the time to try to stop biting your nails! You will be the only one noticing when it comes to signing night. Load your nails, cuticles, and finger tips with good cream over the next two weeks and file he rough edges on the big day. You can quit in two months when things get slightly less stressful. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. All the ideas I had are already posted….I know for me the butt worms would really do the trick. I have heard they have a bitter nail polish you can put on.

  22. I have the same problem, so how the heck do I know?!? Nothing seems to help me except trying to apply clear nail polish daily. Or you could try putting chocolate on them so by the time you get to the nail, you’ll be full :-).

  23. I think you should get a nice manicure done before you go to the book signing. That way the nail will just not taste that good with the nail paint and all and you will be grossed out if you try to bite it. Believe me it works…it worked for me when i had to go to my best friend’s wedding. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. The buttworms win!
    That didn’t come out right. Cindy – your comment kept me from nibbling all week long. My nails don’t look as awful as they did!
    I’m going to ship you a copy of The Opposite of ME right away – and I’ll try to post a photo of my new, improved nails soon!

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