Why is it Socially Acceptable to Apply Nail Polish in Public?

Caution: Whingey post concerning trivial complaint ahead.

I’m sitting here on the ferry, and a middle-aged woman a couple of seats away from me is painting her nails. This is something I witness once in a while, on a ferry, in a cafe or some other public space.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always found nail polish fumes pretty noxious. They instantly give me a slight headache.

I’d add public nail painting to a list of olfactory infringements–too much perfume or cologne and smoking would be others–on our personal space. Maybe women who do it are more accustomed to the fumes, so they don’t notice them as much?

The person who invents an odor-free nail polish is going to make a mint.

On a related note, do you think people wear more, less or roughly the same amount of perfume and cologne as they did twenty or thirty years ago?


  1. I do wish that walking cities like London or Paris would create ‘smoking’ zones and that the rest of the street would be smoke-free. At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I smoked for more than 15 years and I never realised just how obnoxious cigarette smoke is for a non-smoker until after I quit. My pet peeve is when people smoke right next to the door of a gym. It’s very unpleasant to breathe that in when you’re working out or have just finished working out…

  2. As someone who has worked in summer camps over the past few years, I think younger people are wearing more. All those dang Axe commercials have adolescent boys spraying it EVERYWHERE.

  3. People should not be allowed to apply nail polish in public, or cut their nails in public, or floss their teeth in public. All of these are private activities.

    As for the cologne, I think it’s just as bad as it was 20 years ago.

  4. More than once, have I asked a public nail polisher to stop what they’re doing.

    I do think that many women simply don’t smell it. Whenever I’m among family or friends that start whipping out the nail polish, they just think it’s funny that I don’t like the smell.

  5. Jason raises a good point that I’ve also heard about: boys as young as maybe 8 or 9 are asking their parents to buy them Axe body spray. I guess they’re not old enough to realize that nobody has yet created a scent that makes hot women with big tits throw themselves instantly at skinny white men. Except maybe the smell of money.

  6. Alexis noted this above, but the nail clipping things is the one I am constantly stunned by…

    Also think perfume generally smells hideous – I rarely smell it which is either a good thing, or really proof that I take public transit and there are other odors overwhelming my senses.

  7. I think people wear less perfume in todays society. People are way less conscientious and comfortable.

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