Fingernail extravaganza

Can anyone explain to me the reason so many guys have long fingernails here in Taiwan? And, I don’t just mean a little long, but really long. Some guys I see have nails longer than most women I know in the States.

And, why is it that some of them may have short nails, with the exception of one – on the little finger/pinky? I’ve asked some students and I get different explanations. One, cutting it is considered bad luck. Two, it is used to clean their ears. And, three, it is used in the pleasuring of a woman.

The first one seems odd as some of the guys I’ve known who have it don’t seem to go in for the good luck/bad luck thing. Besides, if that is the case (it brings good luck) why don’t more people have long fingernails on their little finger, including women? The second seems a weird reason. I wouldn’t think a long fingernail would really help all that much in the ear cleaning department. And, well, being gay, the third one is not something I even want to contemplate. Though, I would think that it could be dangers whipping those sharp fingernails around “sensitive” areas.

Any help?

My Chinese friend told me that in ancient times, poor people can only keep short finger nails for manual labor. If someone had long finger nails, they must be very wealthy and the longer the wealthier. Another function of the long finger nails (usually the little finger) was used in scooping illegal substances; again something only the wealthy could afford.

I thought it was for digging deep into the ear, or up a nose … but I’m sure its for good luck, or fortune… but don’t ask me how that shold transpire from a fxxxing long pinky nail…

…refrence conspicusous consumption comment in ancient times.


I was told by one of my students, a 30 old agricultural consultant, that the reason he had a long fingernail on his “pinky” was to “keep the bad men away”. I believe he was refering to the mafia/gangster type.

I second Ali’s suggestion. The long fingernail show the surroundings that you are not doing manual work. Its a little bit the same as girls are afraid of getting a tan; symbolizing outdoor/farm labor.

I was told that the small finger should be as long or longer than the ring finger to have good fortune.
If that is not the case you just grow your nail to “extend the finger”.

Ali’s explanation makes a lot of sense, but most people around here have lost the original meaning of this, and are left with the belief that “it is good luck” : it is good luck indeed if you can earn a living without breaking your nails on it !

And if we look back at our own cultural background, there are certainly a lot of these habbits and beliefs we carry on without really knowing why, that have the same origins, and about which ‘foreigners’ might have the same kind of questions.

“Why on earth would you want to wear a dress THAT long ?”


yeh, it’s all about good luck, nothing more…

[quote=“Rascal”]I was told that the small finger should be as long or longer than the ring finger to have good fortune.
If that is not the case you just grow your nail to “extend the finger”.[/quote]

This is the answer I have heard as well and I believe it is the correct answer.

If my little finger was naturally longer than my ring finger, I would be worried, and not feel lucky at all.

so many? I last visited Taiwan a year ago and as far as i know very few observe such ancient beliefs.

Before seeing some of these Taiwanese guys, I would have thought it was for dipping into a powdery substance before inhaling through the nose.