You need to know the truth about why they’re so grotesque, and what to do about it.
Let me ask some direct questions. Were you in bed? Were you ramping up to a promising cuddle? Did she suddenly yelp in pain, throw back the covers, and reveal a suspiciously crescent-shaped nick in her ankle? Your toenails gouged your girlfriend. It’s time to show her you can fix things—starting with your feet.
Chances are, you’ve ignored your toenails to this point. You need to know the truth about why they’re so grotesque, and what to do about it.
Sure, they grow more slowly than your fingernails. But your toenails are still cranking out 1.6mm a month, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Plus, yours grow faster than hers—so she has no idea what she's up against. Bonus fun fact? Nails grow fastest in warm weather. Great for breach season!
At least every two weeks. That’s a directive from the Institute of Preventative Foot Health. Can you remember the last time you cut yours? Didn’t think so.
Toenails can be almost three times as thick as fingernails. The thickness comes, in part, from what you put them through—being stubbed, stepped on, and squeezed into the tux shoes you only wear to weddings (which you dance in them, which your toenails hate).
Don't cut them with a fingernail clipper. Chipping away at your big toenail with one of those dinky things is a nightmare. (But the reverse—clipping your fingernails with a nice hefty toenail clipper—that's a breeze.) Look for stainless steel, which lasts longer. Japan's Seki Edge makes a handsome one, in a city once known for making samurai swords.
Not saying they’re evil or out to get you. Scratch that—they are evil and out to get you. Your toenails will occasionally turn on you, their master. This is called an “ingrown” toenail. It happens when you’ve trimmed the corners down too deep, and that sharp edge you’ve created digs in, and grows, and digs in more, and grows…
It might sound counterintuitive, but resist the urge to round your toenails when you cut them. The Institute for Preventative Foot Health recommends cutting nails straight across, and then lightly refining any sharp edges with an emery board—or the metal file built into many toenail clippers.
If you feel an ingrown toenail starting, gently lift the offending corner and put a bit of cotton swab under it. Pro tip: use a Q-tip, which helps you direct the cotton in, then just clip off the cottony tip now lodged under your nail and leave it there for a day or two until danger passes.
You know what’s worse than cutting your girlfriend with your toenails? Cutting your girlfriend with your obviously infected toenails. Unfortunately, men are more likely than women to get fungal nail infections, and the likelihood increases with age.
If your nails are noticeably crumbly, flaky, or discolored, it might be time for an antifungal nail cream or a trip to the doc. But there are things you can do to prevent fungus before it starts. The Mayo Clinic's first recommendation? Keep nails short—and dry.
That means frequent trims, and investing in some moisture wicking socks for your workout. Also, replace your sweatiest shoes on a regular basis, or treat them with antifungal spray or powder.
Now you can crawl back into bed without fear. But if you’re still scared, it’s safest to be the little spoon.