Well, the truth was that while I was super conservative at work, I was a bit more daring at home. The trouble was, with my long work hours, there was a lot more time at work than at home.
One weekend, I didn't have time to change my nail polish. I had worn a really dark shade during my 24 hours off, and in the harsh florescent lights of the intensive care unit it looked black. Definitely not my usual light pink mani! While this was a bit fashion forward at the time (it was 2007), it was pretty popular in our area.
All morning, I wasn't sure if I regretted not taking the extra few minutes to remove the polish. I debated about using nail polish remover in the ten minute lull between checking on my patients and rounding with the attending physicians. In the end, I decided to let a little more my myself shine through at work.
When rounds started, one of my attendings did a bit of a double take when he noticed my nails. The goth comments started and wouldn't relent, though they weren't harsh (this was a guy that once changed his ring tone to the University of Michigan fight song for a month in honor of me during my internship). He didn't believe me that the polish was actually purple, and while he was friendly about it, the comments were nonstop! Finally, an hour later at the end of rounds, one of the other attendings told him to stop. His wife and daughters frequently wore dark polish, and he didn't think it was a big deal. My defender happened to be the director of the unit.
That morning was definitely a turning point for me. Instead of wearing pale pink every day, I started wearing my "home" nail polishes at work. I started lurking on the Makeup Alley Nail Polish board, and I fully admit that I started buying a lot of nail polish. My polish collection started at about 15 bottles, but started to grow exponentially.
Buying nail polish turned into one of my favorite activities. It turned out that a 2 mile detour off of the freeway when driving in between my hospitals put me in the middle of nail polish heaven. Heaven. Imagine a town filled with nail supply shops. Every top brand... all at discounted prices. And anyone could purchase from the stores, licensed professional or not!
Well.... just about anyone. I admit that I wasn't the typical customer in these stores, and on more than one occasion I was asked if I "knew how to use the polish". I usually laughed and said that "Yes, I definitely know how to use the polish", while flashing a perfect manicure. At work the nurses knew me for my polish, and I would have frequent requests for manicure tips or questions about the shade of the day.
I'm still wearing whatever nail polish I want to work, and at my current job I'm not the only one. The nurses in my unit wear glitter, shatter, any color of polish they want. I also wear bright pink lippies, navy eye liner and non-taupe eye shadow! My collection of polish is now so large that I'm afraid to count the bottles, but I'm probably in the 1000 bottle range.
Do you wear what you want (within reason) at work? Do you feel supported in doing so?