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I Love Press-On Nails!

I love long nails. I love seeing them and I love having them.

Unfortunately, I have a hard time growing my nails long and keeping them that way. Part of the reason is that I bite my nails. Like so many crossdressers, it would look a bit funny for me to have beautifully sculptured, inch-long nails while I am in "boy mode."

When I know that I'll be attending a convention or go on vacation en femme, I sometimes treat myself by getting a set of acrylic nails. These are wonderful and the "salon experience" of getting them put on is so distinctly feminine that I heartily recommend that you experience it at least once. Unfortunately, there are a few difficulties with having a full set of acrylic nails.

First of all, finding a salon with which you are comfortable with is not always easy. One of the best ways to do this is to ask your transgender friends who they use, if any. Another way is attend a drag show or other GLBT event and seek out someone with really nice nails and ask about them. I know that I am always flattered when someone notices things about me, such as my nails, so I would expect others would appreciate your compliments and who be only too happy to offer you whatever advice they can. If no one can recommend a salon, try to find a small shop that does not have a lot of traffic. Most places are just happy to get the work and if they don't have a lot of traffic, no one has to worry about being seen…

Another problem is that a set of acrylic nails may cost you anywhere from $30 to $60 before a tip. If I am attending some one day event or going out for the night, I don't really want to spend that kind of money for just a few hours of wear. Plus, removing acrylic nails requires that I soak them in acetone, which can take me well over and hour. I usually don't want to spend that kind of time when I come home at 2 AM after a long night of dancing at a club!!

Fortunately, there are "press on nails," also known as "artificial nails" and "false nails." These are the answer for those special occasions, and whenever you have a yearning for an instant set of beautiful nails. Many of us can remember all of those cheesy commercials back in the 1980s: "These are the amazing Lee Press-On Nails. They press on in seconds. No glue, no mess. Simply press on Lee's pre-glued tabs and then press on Lee's Press-On Nails. That's all. Easy on, easy off. Use them again and again…" Today the sleek, sophisticated look of false nails may be hard to differentiate from natural ones and they hold up much better.

False nails come in a few types. Some come with a tube of super glue that you use to adhere the fake nail to your own nail bed. I don't like these kinds since they usually rip apart my natural nail bed and require that I soak my nails in polish remover or acetone. Having one or two chewed up nails is not a problem. Having ten chewed up nails looks awkward when you go back to boy mode. Another type uses a kind of double-sided tape to keep the fake nail on your fingers. These don't cause any problems with your nail beds but they often will fall off your fingers fairly easily. What I like is the pre-glued type of false nails. The underside of each fake nail is coated with glue that is something like rubber cement but stays sticky. The nails go from box onto your finger in a second or two and pretty much stay there until you pull them off or soak them in hot water. Pretty nifty!

Some brands have advertised that they will stay on for an entire weekend and can be re-used. Personally, I think that they are great for a day or an evening but that is about it. Invariably, each time that I go to the bathroom I end up loosening the nails when I wash my hands.

There are no special tricks about putting on the nails apart from common sense. Make sure to wash and dry your hands well before putting on the nails. When you apply the nail, press extremely tight (and I do mean TIGHT) to make sure that the fake nail adheres well to your nail bed. Also make sure you squeeze the nail as close to your cuticles as possible for a more natural look. When you are done, you may wish to give the tips of the nail a quick file to remove any plastic burr that may have been left from the manufacturing process.

As a side note, put on the nails after you put on your pantyhose to help avoid causing a run in the stockings.

I like the pre-glued fake nails that are from the brand name "Kiss." The company that makes them have a higher-end line of fake nails called "Broadway Nails." The company's websites are and They offer the nails in a variety of looks. You can set them in various colors and lengths as well as with french tips, jewels and airbrished designs. If you have a favorite color nail polish that goes just perfect with your dress, you can always paint these fake nails. And best of all, if you do paint them, you can do so before putting them on!

I have seen quite a range of prices for the Kiss and Broadway Nails brands, so you may wish to check around. At CVS, the Kiss nail sets usually cost about $7 and the Broadway Nails for a couple of dollars more. Each set includes 24 nails in at least 10 sizes. I did a Google product search and found several sites that sell them online. They are also available at CVS, Duane Reade, Eckerd, Kmart, Rite Aide, Target, WalMart and Walgreens as well as other pharmacies and beauty shops.