Top three dumb things I have done in my lifetime:
- Walking into a glass door and shattering it with
my face (accident)
- Putting my car in reverse on the highway soon
after getting my license (accident)
- Wasting my money at a nail salon (purposeful)
There was a huge variety of color options. Should I make a statement today and go for something red, or perhaps be subtle with a pale pink? But, the decision was not that simple…. There must have been 50 different shades of red and pink alone! While waiting my turn at the New York nail salon on 50th and Broadway after work, I looked down at my engagement ring and reflected on the past.
Whether I would even wear a ring or not had been a subject of anxiety. Years prior, my college boyfriend had asked me if I planned to wear a ring when I got married. I was perplexed by his question. While reasonable, it simply had never crossed my mind. The truth was, I was in such great fear of never finding someone willing to marry me, a physically imperfect girl, that whether I would wear a diamond on my hand was the least of my concerns.
But that was history. Given John’s unconditional love for me, and despite the fact he had never seen me wear any ring on my finger, it never even occurred to him that he should ask me whether I would want a ring. Rather, when I knew we were close to getting engaged, I brought it up. “Are you sure it makes sense for me to wear?” My question fell on deaf ears. “Why on earth would you not want to show off something beautiful on your hand?”
So, when John popped the question in Central Park that summer with a sparkling round diamond encased in four prongs with an accompanying platinum band, I was quite pleased that this life hurdle had been successfully jumped. And so, wearing the engagement ring represented yet another step in the direction of my journey toward self-acceptance….yet, I still had a long way to go.
I felt that I needed somehow to improve the ring’s appearance on my hand. To me, if my nails looked beautifully groomed, somehow people would not focus on the shape of my hands and the absence of fingers. During my first visit to the salon, believing longer nails might even look better, I requested special tips to be glued on. To be clear, the tips, once colored, were pretty enough, but the practicality of wearing them made no sense. Due to their length, they actually impaired my ability to do things like button my clothes and zip my pants.
When I got home that night, I showed John my upgraded nails and told him that the most awkward part of the experience was the clumsy hot towel massage of my hands, and the funniest part was the confusion over how much to charge me! John was amused and (wisely) kept his mouth otherwise shut.
My nail enhancement efforts lasted until I gave birth to Ethan. The practicality of changing the diapers of our newborn easily left me with no choice but to retreat back to a life with non-fabulous nails. But there was a clear upside. Beyond being free to handle the physical activities of raising our son, I could now (once again) button my own buttons and zipper up my pants with ease. It finally dawned upon me that this effort to make my hands look more attractive simply was silly and a waste of money (okay, not much money, they hardly charged me given the circumstances).
As time has passed, other than declining invitations from close friends to get our nails done (spending so much time with me, they simply forget about my hands looking different), the only reason I walked into a nail salon was to get my eyebrows waxed. Now that made sense! But then, my ten-fingered daughter arrived and like most little girls, has found showing her friends her painted nails the equivalent of my showing off a great handbag. When Savanna turned five last September, I promised to take her to the local nail salon before her birthday party. Not thinking through her request, she added, “Mommy, you need to get yours done, too!” I hesitated, but then thought, “What the heck?” I proceeded to join her and even had tips added to my nails with a glorious dark shade of pink. As I began to pay, I struggled with my new additional nail length, and quickly remembered why this was such a ridiculous idea. Later that night, this time after almost thirteen years of marriage, John took one look at my pink nails and laughed. “That looks pretty dumb.” Indeed it did.
These days when I take Savanna to get her nails polished on special occasions, I sit back and leave the polish to her. Like her mommy before her, she typically chooses an awesome shade of pink. As for me, I’d rather spend the time waiting for her writing.