embedded tool

i came across several people who grew one or two nails very long for a specific purpose – and mostly they were men. its a good contrast to those who grow long fingernails, or extend their fingernails in a way that they are banned for utilitarian purposes.

he was a tailor living in dharavi/mumbai/india and he uses his long finger nail to make the crease on clothes.

indian tailor

david who works at a mobile phone repair shop in accra/ghana had a long finger nail to handle small mobile phone parts and circuits.

ghanaian mobile phone repair man

a student studying computer science in accra, he likes to have long finger nails because he likes the way he looks. there should be more than one so that he can use them to keep his finger nails clean on both hands.

ghanaian student

i usually keep my nails long enough to protect my fingertips. i had two broken nails this week packing boxes, and its unbelievably bothersome. nails are a usefully embedded tool enhancing the performance of the most dexterous part of my body except: using touch screen devices. i had the strange feeling of rejection – almost temporary resentment – when i couldn’t type on iphone as it didnt acknowledge my touch as a touch.

2 thoughts on “embedded tool

  1. Carl

    Hi Younghee,

    I once met a guy in Vietnam that grew a nail to give it to the girl he loved. He explained he didn’t have money to buy her expensive gifts, but all the patience and hassle for a nail to grow long are a great symbol for his devotion to her.

  2. elle.


    i love your site and your research. i am currently researching a paper on new media and global hegemonies in latin america and i found your work. really inspiring stuff! amazing photography as well. do you have flickr?

    i have really long nails too, and when i first tried the iphone in the nyc apple store last fall i was a bit angry. i told the apple employee that the device was sexist, but since then i’ve learned to adjust. i finally invested in an iphone in panama last month and i originally had to chop off my nails to use it. now they’ve grown back and somehow i can still type.

    thanks for your musings!


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