I can tell you the exact moment I became a nail biter. I was 6 years old, watching my mom get dressed for work. She paused to mull something over, chewing on a nail. My reaction: "How cool! How grown-up! I think I'll try it."
I never stopped. It was embarrassing — like wearing your neuroses on your sleeve. At parties, I learned to wrap my fingers all the way around my wine glass, so that my nails faced my chest.
Amy Standen considers the recent proposal to add "pathological grooming" to the OCD section of the DSM — the manual used to diagnose mental disorders. Not considered: the relative tastiness of different folks' fingernails.