Monday, June 7, 2010


So me and the old man, along with Ben and my moms went to Vegas over Memorial Day weekend--also our anniversary weekend (highly convenient). My mother had never been to Vegas, and while Pete and I had, we hadn't had a chance to go and play cards together since Ben was born. Turns out they frown upon kids in the casino--go figure. Must figure them to be card sharps or something. All i know is that my kid is showing a strong aptitude for numbers--so it might be wise, for Vegas, i mean, to keep him away from the tables until he's old enough to drink...

Anyway, since we were heading to Vegas, and i knew playing cards that my hands were going to be on display, i decided to get my nails done for the weekend. And by getting my nails done, I mean a full acrylic set. Now, I know i have great nails--the classic wide nail bed that make other women direct backhanded comments my way. For my own wedding, i am proud to say i sported my own nails--which was quite a feat for me. Now, I'm not a nail biter or anything weird--i just work with my hands. Cleaning, childcare, cleaning, sewing, crafting, cleaning... you get the picture. I suppose i could channel one of those perfect housewives of the 50s and use palmolive and rubber gloves and my hands would remain pristine--but who are we kidding here? Palmolive is full of chemicals and frankly, i have a tough time finding a pair of rubber gloves to fit these monsters. I may have failed to mention--they're also kinda big. Not man hands mind you--but I've had more than one musician tell me i should have taken up strings simply because of my reach. (but then I'd have bad hands too!)

So, acrylic nails. I've worn them from time to time when my hands were trash, but i wanted them to look nice. They're not really good for your hands or nails, and as pretty as they look, in the end they just trash your nail bed and then you have to spend a few months growing out your nails to get rid of the damage. But I have to admit that wearing them does make me feel different--it's like a status symbol. The act of pure money waste--fake nails. It says i have disposable income and i choose to have beautiful hands. (i've already got the rack--so i can't spend it there...) But more than that, it shows a certain disdain for having "working" hands. It's an old argument, isn't it? "You can always tell a lady by her hands." I'll admit to a little shame that my nails tend to be very short, unkempt (but clean) and my hands are not soft as silk. It was that one thing i focused upon during "careers" class when we discussed job interviews--the appearance of your hands. (although, i must say, in my last job interview for Crenshaw High School--the strangest interview of my life--my nails were bright green)

It comes back to that old argument of what is considered "valuable" in our society. For some reason, our society really frowns on "labor"--the things we tend to hire "others" to do for us. Why is that? Why can't we take pride in keeping house, tending a beautiful garden, fixing our own stuff, or creating things from scratch? Why can't i show hands that are a little tough without some guilt or shame? Sometimes i feel like it's some sort of taboo--to work with your hands.

And yet, here i was, feeding that taboo--displaying a complete fraud (which is what the beauty industry would have us do, yeah?). My hands never look that nice. My nails are never that even. I wouldn't be able to get anything done with long nails all the time. Hell, I couldn't even pick up a quarter or a toothpick all weekend. And forget typing--i type on the tips of my fingers) I was able to do a little scrapbooking (i was making invitations) but that was with the assistance of an exacto knife.

Maybe I'll get over it someday. Maybe I'll proudly display my poor cuticles and say, yeah--but did you see that last dress i made? Gorgeous! Maybe. Or maybe I'll spend another week torturing myself with luxurious inability, and then another hour ripping the damn things off my nails so i can get back to work...

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