Sunday, September 19, 2004

Red in (tooth and ) claw

I don't get the appeal of long, polished fingernails. I always assumed that it was one of those things that women do for other women, like wearing fashionable shoes. Apparently there is some element of sex appeal, though, at least if Ms. Fowler's commenters are representative.

My nails are very weak and thin, so I keep them almost boyishly short; as long as there's enough nail to scratch itches and gain purchase on fine work, that's enough for me. Painting them always seemed nasty, since I like to nibble (but not bite or tear) my nails, and getting shreds of paint in your teeth is an unpleasant surprise. Toenails stay painted almost all the time, but that's because they are ugly and should be covered. I did have fake nails once, but even the mid-length ones I had were so cumbersome that I wasn't able to remove my contacts without putting out my own eye, so I drove around Houston the Sunday after senior prom looking for a salon that was open that would take them off. Ugh.

One a related note, I've been going almost entirely without makeup for the last several weeks. I have noticed several things:

-My skin is better. If I have a blemish, it gets a dab of concealer, but the rest of it gets to breathe and, evidently, likes it that way.
-I am acutely aware of how much makeup other women wear. I have a better sense of the artificiality of their appearance now that I have had a chance to see the difference between my old made-up face and its freshly scrubbed incarnation. I wore some lipstick yesterday and it looked corpse-like and weird. Similarly, the strangeness of other people drawing lines and painting bits of their faces has been highlighted. I wonder what other women would look like without their makeup.
-I am better at picking clothes. Not wearing makeup forces me to confront the fact that some tones and colors are just not flattering, instead of telling myself that with the proper shade of red lipstick a red hat wouldn't wash me out.

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