I confess it all: Hand Care Hypocrisy!by Mary Sheehan Warren on 02/22/15
Last week there was an interesting opinion piece in the New York Times (Great! Another Thing to Hate About Ourselves) regarding the evil cycle of beauty fixation campaigns for the average woman out there. (I've always taken “average” as meaning "one who is generally more fixated on saving her child's new shirt from a conspicuous mustard stain than on [insert body part here.]".)
The complaint is that now, in addition to the worry about perky breasts and flat tummies and silky hair, Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition has raised the bar (or, er, lowered it) by launching us into the new era of “hairless bikini gaps," or, to talk dirty, the mons pubis.
Okay okay, I’m just as befuddled as the author. But for a real treat of a read, try the Telegraph's Bikini Bridge Hoax: How the Internet Ate Itself and see that the female imagination has no bounds.
On the other hand, I can remember the 1990s Washington Post piece on nipple enhancement as the new, go-to accessory for women. Where did all that “go to” anyway? See? I’m guessing that the average woman, upon hearing that her nipples should be perky enough to be seen through her top, actually rolls her eyes and then applies treatment to the aforementioned mustard stain.
Unfortunately, it is true that we women can fall into any kind of self-loathing-body-fixated-vortex-of-pity for any period of time at any time in our lives. Well, we women here in countries with lots of food, shelter, and TV.
Even I (as in the "I" who runs a fashion blog) have my own little body part fixation: My hands. It's a complicated, love-hate relationship which I've kept secret for all these years. .
If you’ve read It’s So You then you know this. (So, uh, I guess it's really no secret.) You might also know that I continually recommend the use of rubber gloves; a sort of prophylactic to prevent repulsive and witchy fingers. (I’ll get to that controversial subject later.)
Might it be that I am simply mourning the nearing loss of my forties? In fact, just yesterday, my girlfriend Mary Anne and I were chit-chatting about how some changes due to age seem to elicit curious responses from our offspring. “Why is it,” one of us said, “that when [the adult daughter] sees me struggling with my reading glasses, she giggles, ‘Mom, you are so funneee!’” (I purposely neglect to mention which one of us said this or the same daughter might again say, “Mom, you are so funneee!” and we don’t really need that right now.)
Anyway, it’s true that I might be just a tad more sensitive these days regarding changes related to age. After all, not only have my joints been aching in this cold, but I just adopted a cute little CPAP (breathing therapy) machine to cuddle up with me and my husband in bed. (Yup. Insert that word prophylactic right here.)
But as you may also know, I have spent the last ten months attempting to sell a house (clean, fix up, paint, etc.), set up a new house (clean, arrange, paint, etc.) and homeschool my children (teach, clean, paint, etc.).
Yeah, big changes. It’s not the most glamorous life right now and I’m ashamed to tell you that for the first time in, oh, say, about ten months, I have at last painted my nails. And applied hand lotion.
Pitiful, I know.
So, where are the rubber work gloves? After all, I do preach about them continually and there are currently some pretty stylish ones out there in the wide world of fashion accessories, sans perky nipples.
That's right: No where. Not on my person, nor under my kitchen sink, nor in my stylish handbag. There is some sort of mental block with me in this regard. I get all the way to the cleaning supply aisle at the Fairfax Wegman’s, peruse the colors, note the reasonable prices, and then simply… walk away.
Let’s just speculate that my hands may be the one feature of my physical self that seems to be okay to neglect. (Well that and the bikini gap, bridge, dam, or any other feat of engineering.) These big hands with their dryness and absurd muscularity are my badges of honor. With these very same hands I wiped snotty noses, soothed little heads, cleaned toilets (not in this order), prepared meals (usually with some sort of scalding), and, more recently, I use them to exclaim dismay and disgust at any given wayward adolescent at any given time.
So, while I dye my hair, soothe the laugh lines, and moisturize my lips, I’ll just use my hands as my trophies. A sort of in-your-face-damn-right-I-don't-read-Cosmo non verbal message to the world.
Just when I get a free Sunday afternoon alone with a lengthy to-do list and new bottle of nail polish, I’ll polish the nails, ignore the list, and pretend I never wrote this blog entry. By evening, I'm waving my pretty fingernails around, pointing them out to my husband, my children, the neighbors.
And really, after all, isn't exclaiming dismay and disgust to your loved ones so much more stylish with polished nails? See? (I told you it's complicated.)