In my earlier years of nail-doing, I clung to a regimen of whitish for my fingernails, and red for my toenails. Standard; classic. I was afraid that brightly colored nails would make me look too much like a hyperactive Lolita. But something happened with the introduction of orange polish to every salon in town last year: I was suddenly struck by the notion of having fun with my philanges.

Now, granted, one of the reasons I used to be so strict about my colors was that I could never afford to get them done. Not that I’m running out for a weekly mani/pedi now, but it’s also not a nail care famine. I’m not worried that every manicure could be my last, every pedicure the only one I’ll get all season. And so — even though I probably only go about once every other month now — I’ve allowed some color to infiltrate the stronghold. And I love it.

Today, for instance, my nails are a festive shade of bright pink. I look down at them, and I am happy. Maybe other peoplpe look at them and beleive that they are regarding the nailbeds of a trollop, or a teen (until they see the rest of me, I guess), or a woman with no sense of dressing her age. But I don’t care. I’ve also realized that nail color is not just for the sake of others — it’s for my own sense of joy every time I strike a key on the keypad, every time I click to touch the screen of my iPhone. After all, no one spends more time with my nails than me.