I can remember that I was staring at the nails of a shop assistant on 5th avenue, finding it really hard to focus on the clothes I was looking for, being totally enthralled by the shop assistants gleaming nails, a wonderful Alfa Romeo-red.  
As thrilling as the shimmer of the color was the quality of the polish: smooth and silk, it looked almost liquid. Yes, it looked like a thick, shiny liquid, something like mercury. 
During strolling around Manhattan my eyes automatically focused all the nails of the passing uptown-ladies, wow and it was as if they were all wearing tiny snappy sport cars on their fingers. 
Not shy to ask, I asked the shop assistant at Tiffany&CO. what she is wearing on her nails,
 '' It's gel '' she explained, helpfully letting me touch her glossy nails. 
'' It lasts for about three weeks, it never chips and you only need a new manicure because your nails grow out. ''
I was ashamed of my own nails and at the same time worried where to get that kind of manicure in the province, Austria. 
After shopping in the Financial District, almost driving my boyfriend crazy, I decided to take a break in a totally trendy and precious Korean Day Spa. Gel manicures cost more than regular manicures - about $35 including a 10 minutes back massage - and seem to last for ever, unfortunately they do. 

I picked a pearly beige polish from OPI, thinking it suited me and my tan best. 
The Korean girl used six coats to my gel manicure - two prep coats, two coats of the gel polish itself and two topcoats. Applying all that took a very long time, much longer than a regular manicure, my boyfriend nearly walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in the meanwhile. 
The wordless, smiling manicurist placed my hands under a UV light to set the polish, after she applied each coat of gel. Each coat was as hard as a shiny diamond within a few seconds.
I got those tiny little sport cars on my fingers and felt so happy.

Being back home in Austria I tried to find a manicure salon that offers OPI Gel-Manicure. Actually I couldn't find one, I  ordered all the goods I needed for that kind of manicure in the US planning to do it on my own. 
The parcel with my OPI Gel Polish arrived in the nick of time, just before new little moons had appeared. 
I decided to do that whole procedure on my own, maybe with a little help of my sister, and it worked perfectly. 
After a few weeks, the polish had started to bother me. I really missed my real nails and it felt as if MY fingernails couldn't breathe. The ''gel polish'' was awfully smothering them. 
I decided to take them off after a while, another long procedure with special liquids.
When I was done, my nails looked awful. Leaving on the gel for such a long time, seemed to have leached away the natural shine. They just looked as if they had been roughly sandpapered and  extremely ached only if touching them. 
Only now, about 2 month later, they seem to be perking up and getting a little natural shine back. 
Well, I definitely feel guilty that I put my nails through this procedure. But actually not so guilty that I wouldn't do it all over again, just for all the jealous glances of the other women. 
As I always listen to the voice of reason, this is definitely not gonna happen! ;)