It's curious. Since I've started painting my nails black (to be precise, it's called Lincoln Park, and it's more eggplant, with an undertone of plum beneath the black), people address my hands. Store clerks, servers, friends. Is it because the sight of a man with painted nails is that peculiar? It's 2018, right? Or is it the color against my pale hands which, of course, reflects my disposition: not quite black? Am I Severus Snape? Marilyn Manson? Do I stir a cauldron somewhere?
Honestly, I don't know how women -- or drag queens, or other men who choose to paint their nails -- do it. There's all of this cuticle nonsense, soaking and pushing and softening. Dark colors chip so easily. I find myself being overly protective of my fingers, the way women in the 50's wore hairnets to bed to insulate their curls from muss. The lady who did my nails, Lilly, actually suggested I don gloves to cook. I laughed out loud. To garden, sure. Change a car tire (if I knew how), alrighty. But to stir marinara? And then I thought: wel, maybe this polish, as it flecks off, is toxic. Bits of it among the meatballs might be carcinogenic.
Lilly also inquired this time if I wanted a pedicure. I hastily replied no and probably looked stricken. I am not a foot man. There is no toe fetish in this home. I wear sandals -- it's Florida -- but they are for comfort, not for style, and I doubt I own a pair that retailed for more than $10. I also go barefoot a lot, and my soles have the same general consistency of the asphalt they trod. My attempts to trim my toenails are haphazard, at best; some might mistaken them for being gnawed-upon by an animal. And don't get me started on my heels, cracked and thick and resembling cauliflower. I don't even think of my feet. They're just something at the end of my ankles. I am aware of them when they ache or when I get a toe spasm but, otherwise, they belong where they are, on the floor, propelling me forward.