Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Paint My Moji-toes Red

This is it, guys. Stupid Nail Polish Names is officially in the big leagues.

Allow me to introduce Suzanna, our first embedded journalist and Midwestern Nail Polish Correspondent. You may recognize her fine spotting and photography skills from Sand in My Suit.

If you would like to join the ranks of our crack investigative team, I would love any submissions. There is nothing I want more than to turn each and every one of you into that creepy person at Walgreens who spends an inordinate amount of time lurking around the nail polish displays.

This week, Suzanna let me know about this little gem, Paint My Moji-toes Red:

(photo taken from Nail Polish Diva)

Now, I like a good pun as much as anyone. More than most people who are traditionally considered "sane." But here is the thing about puns: this isn't one.

A pun requires two words that sound similar, yes. But arbitrarily switching a word with another word that sounds like it: NOT A PUN.

Since I think we can pretty much agree that the person who named this nail polish deserves to be condemned by a jury of his peers and put behind bars, let's turn to my new imaginary legal nail polish line for examples.

Here are some of our leading shades: Starry Decisis (glitter), I Was Never Red My Rights (crimson), and Blue My Chance at Parole By Assaulting a Prison Guard With a Homemade Shiv (navy).

Now, here are some that did not make the cut: Insanity De-fence (purple), Trus-tease of the Estate (cerulean), Res Jew-dicata (chartreuse).

Can we see the difference, class? Hint: the colors in the second set have NO EARTHLY CONNECTION with the homophones. If a pun is a play on words, the words in the second set are not playing. They are not even acquaintances. They are the two kids who stand at opposite corners of the playground, solemnly glaring at each other. One is on the monkeybars and one of them is the kid who goes down the slide over and over again, trying to line up his flight path to hit the kids on the monkeybars and knock them into the gravel.

Now, which category would Paint My Moji-toes Red be in?

Unless Jesus is at your party, has gotten a little tipsy, and has decided it would be super funny to stagger around turning everyone's beverages into wine, there is no reason for a mojito to be red. This seems like an unlikely scenario. But then again, how could anyone to afford enough alcohol to make this name seem like a good idea, sans the J-man showing up and pulling a little trick a la loaves and fishes?

So you get a pass this time, OPI. But don't take this as your excuse to become a Re-peat Offender (dirty brown).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sand in My Suit

Hey, shoppers! Want to head to the shore, but can't find the time? No problem! OPI has got it covered, bringing you all your least favorite beach vacation moments in the form of nail polish!

(photo by Suzanna)

If you're like me, you love sitting in the baking hot sun, slowly turning more and more red, knowing that later, you will be not only exquisitely unattractive but also in intense pain. And you can't get enough of being surrounded on all sides by sorority girls wearing about six square inches of fabric and treating the area as their own private mating ground, not to mention the fifty-year-old matrons who think they're sorority girls and apparently shop at the same place.

But this doesn't quite capture the beach experience--you could do all of this at the local pool. That's why OPI has gone one step further and provided Sand in My Suit! Because your genitalia just wasn't chafed enough.

Coming soon: A Jellyfish Stung Me in the Eye, The Cute Lifeguard Snubbed Me, and My Baby Sister Crawled Into the Ocean and I Arrived Just Too Late to Save Her!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Brunette on the Internet

As a brunette on the internet myself, one would think that this nail polish is perfectly named to appeal to me. By "one would think" I mean it doesn't.

(photo taken from Blogdorf Goodman)

Now, you might interpret the name of this nail polish as indicating its potential clientele. And you would be correct.

However, I hope that none of you made the amateur mistake of assuming that our hypothetical nail polish-buyer is a brunette who wears this polish while she uses the internet. As we all know, brunettes are the most practical of the hair colors and would never coordinate their nails to an activity that begins and ends as frequently as internet-usage does. "Oh, shoot, I accidentally alt-tabbed to my Word document, I guess I have to change my nail polish again." I think not.

Here is who would wear this: someone who is a brunette only when she is on the internet. By "she" I mean "he" and by "on the internet" I mean "in his mother's basement, lurking in an AOL teen chat room under the name XoXCutieMuffin12XoX."

I imagine the logs read something like this--

Soccerfan2005: its about time is totaly the best jonas brothers album

XoXCutieMuffin12XoX: i agree, u want 2 cybar?

Soccerfan2005: um, ok, send a pic

[File transfer from XoXCutieMuffin12XoX initiated]

[File deliasbikini2.jpg received]

Soccerfan2005: omg that's u???

XoXCutieMuffin12XoX: u like what u see?

Soccerfan2005: wait, is that a photo from the delia's website

XoXCutieMuffin12XoX: no way, my name is delia

XoXCutieMuffin12XoX: and i model 4 them. if u saw it there that is why

Soccerfan2005: oh ok

Soccerfan2005: u r hott, i luv brunettes

[XoXCutieMuffin12XoX's bald head glows softly in the light of the computer monitor. He begins to slowly unbutton his shirt, his Brunette on the Internet-painted fingertips shimmering alluringly.]

XoXCutieMuffin12XoX: thx. now tell me more about that fantasy u had where the jonas brothers get miley cyrus alone at the vmas.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sphinx Purple

What is applied on four nails in the morning, two nails at noon, and three nails in the evening?

The answer, of course, is Sphinx Purple.

My first thought when I hear "Sphinx" is that big ol' fellow sitting out in Giza, which does such a good job of blending into the desert because it is sand-colored, not purple. But there are a wide variety of sphinxes in various cultural histories, and I am sure the nail polish namers have a very good reason for associating it with purple.

Now, the traditional portrayal of the Sphinx is a human head (some shade between peach and brown) on the body of a lion (golden). But in Egypt the head can sometimes also be a falcon's (brown, white, or gray), a hawk's (same), or a ram's (same plus black).

Hmm, no purple yet. Let's move onto other cultures. If we're going Greek, a sphinx can also have the wings of an eagle (black) and the tail of a serpent (green, yellow, red, brown, black, orange). And there's a Thai sphinx variant who might have the lower body of a deer (brown).

Still nothing? I could be looking at this too narrowly. Maybe we should consider the materials out of which a sphinx might be carved. They have been made out of all kinds of things, like limestone (sandy), granite (black, white, gray), and alabaster (uh...white).

That's it, I give up. There is a way to tie the concept of a sphinx to every conceivable color EXCEPT purple.

Wait! Wait, I've got it. The word sphinx comes from the Greek Σφίγξ, apparently from the verb σφίγγω (sphíngō), meaning "to strangle". (Thanks, Wikipedia!) So maybe this is the color that the Sphinx's victims turned after they failed at Elementary Riddles 101. Just what I always wanted to paint my nails.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Oh, god.

(photo taken from Vampy Varnish)

I have three questions:

1) WHAT?

2) WHY?

3) BLUE???

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Skinny Dip'n in Lake Michg'n

Let's start by getting this out of the way: even skinny dipping in Lake Michigan is a bad idea. It is filthy and freezing cold and shares a border with (shudder) Indiana. This is without even getting to the giant squid.

Luckily, I guess whoever wears this nail polish doesn't have to worry about any of that, because there is no possible combination of letters that can fill in these apostrophes to make them result in an intelligible phrase, let alone anything that bears a passing resemblance to "Skinny Dipping in Lake Michigan." I guess "Dip'n" could be short for "Diphenylhydantoin" (a white, slightly water-soluble powder, C15H11N2O2, used in the form of its sodium salt to prevent or arrest convulsions in epilepsy), "Dipnoan" (belonging or pertaining to the order Dipnoi, comprising the lungfishes), or "Dipthongization" (the act of changing into a diphthong). "Michg'n"? I've got nothing. Or should I say "nothin'"? Or "nothn'g"?

And while we're at it, why are there even apostrophes at all? It's not like brevity can be a big concern with this Tolstoy of a nail polish name. Are they trying to go for a rhyme here? Because I'm not a pro at pronouncing words that look like they come from an Elvish ballad, but I'm pretty sure that no matter how brutalized these words get, it does not work. I tried a few times and it started coming out "Skinny Dippin' with Prince Myshkin," an uninviting prospect but still one I would prefer to putting on this nail polish.

Let me just conclude by saying I hope whoever came up with this name dies torn into tiny shreds by a horde of rabid lexicographers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Under 18

From the manufacturers of Pearl Harbor, I bring you...an ode to statutory rape:

Really, guys? "Under 18"? This is kind of creepy. (Being the color of drying blood doesn't help. Was she beaten and left for dead before Chris Hansen got there?) Also, it doesn't seem designed to increase sales. People under eighteen are perpetually obsessed with being able to pass for over twenty-one, so they can sneak into bars and get drinks, and I don't think people over eighteen have a burning desire to be confused with jailbait.

But maybe I'm being uncharitable. Under 18 could refer to lots of other things:

--The amount of days this nail polish will remain on sale before they yank it from the shelves.

--How attractive this color is on a scale from 1 to 100.

--The number of satisfied purchasers.

--The IQ of the person who brainstormed this name.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lost Without My GPS; What's a Tire Jack?

Remember that feminist movement we had? OPI for Sephora doesn't.

These lovely shades are named Lost Without My GPS (top) and What's a Tire Jack? (bottom).

Let's just skip over another annoying instance of confusing "appropriate nail polish name" with "rhetorical question," although to be honest this still infuriates me and I would prefer a polish named "A Usually Portable Device For Raising Heavy Objects By Means of Force Applied With a Lever, Screw, or Hydraulic Press." (Actually, that would be awesome. I would kill for a set of Archimedean simple machine-themed nail polish and I think it would really sell well during this steampunk craze.)

And I think we can all recognize that these are phrases, not colors. I guess "What's a Tire Jack?" is kind of the color of a tire. This, incidentally, is the best thing that can be said about either of these names.

But most pressingly...what is going on here??? Here is how I think the sales pitch went:

"All right, let's discuss naming possibilities for our new line. I hope all of you have taken the research seriously and developed ideas that will appeal to a broad demographic of women. Smith?"

"I've been conducting focus tests and you'll never guess what broads like these days: sickening reminders of the most prevalent, offensive, and outdated stereotypes that have been used to degrade them for decades!"

"Interesting, Smith. While we discuss, Miss Johnson, could you fetch the coffee please?"

"Certainly, sir. Mr. Smith, would you help me carry it in?"

(Mr. Smith and Ms. Johnson leave the room. A dull thud is heard, followed by the sound of shattering china. A mixed stream of brown and red trickles sullenly under the door of the break room. Ms. Johnson reenters the room, adjusting her blouse.)

"Sorry, we're all out of coffee. How about some tea?"

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How Cute Is That?

I admit it, I kind of fell off the Stupid Nail Polish Names bandwagon. I used up all the stupidly-named nail polish that I have sitting on my dresser, the ones I have a personal sense of outrage about. I began to wonder--is my calling fulfilled?

But today my little sister dragged me to Sephora, and I realized: there are wrongs that must be righted. These outrages against humanity may not be allowed to stand, and it is my duty to fight them. With my last breath, I will decry these horrendous sins:

(photo taken from Lextard's Flickr)

You know, life can be rough. It's hard to keep your confidence up when confronted with picture after picture of airbrushed starlets, and I'm certainly not immune from insecurity. Sometimes I ask myself: Am I really smart enough? Funny enough? Pretty enough? And I'm willing to put up with a certain amount of this from my friends. "No, that dress just makes you look zaftig! Chubby at most." "I guess you do look a little like Bela Lugosi, but in a good way." "Of COURSE you'll find love! I saw a whole website where people pay every month to look at pictures of people just like you."

But here's who I'm not willing to buy the worms for on their little compliment fishing trip: my NAIL POLISH.

"How Cute Is That?" How insecure is the person who came up with this? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the answer to my question is greater than the answer to theirs. You would think that after this shade got passed by the Nail Polish Color Committee it would have some resolution about how cute it feels. I doubt that the other nail polishes take kindly to it, either. "What an attention whore," they whisper. "She's just flashing her question mark at anybody who walks by." If I am going to get a cocky nail polish, I at least want one that's upfront about it. "Cute Carnation" or "I'm Awesome Now Purchase Me" or something.

If people buy you, you're cute enough, OK? Now go take off some of that shimmer. You look like a tramp.