I am fond of saying that the best physical trait I inherited from my mom & her mom is my fingernails. Not the lovely long, lean dancer’s legs. The fingernails (but not the toenails. I have no idea what theirs look like. Mine? Not so pretty). They grow like wildfire and are so very strong. They’ll get to about half an inch long before they start to peel and then eventually break.
I’ve been asked if they’re fake, and speaking of “fake” nails, I flirted with them once, long ago and far away. In my junior year of high school, before prom I decided I needed acrylic tips. I think I kept up that foolishness for six months – $20-25 every two weeks to get them filled or a new set. At the end of it, I got tired of paying for what I already had and then spent almost a year getting my nailbed back in shape. I’ve not been tempted since.
I remember being very little and my mom or my grandmother doing my nails, filing them into that classic oval shape that you can’t get the nail shops to do anymore. I have a vague recollection of my mom telling me that I needed to take care of my hands, that they’d one day be one of my greatest assets because that’s where women show age first. I don’t always succeed at that – I forget to wear gloves when I’m working in the yard, I don’t always wear my sunscreen (even though I’ve had skin cancer and I KNOW better), I I go months at a time with ratty cuticles and chipped polish (even when I worked at a cosmetology school and got whatever services I wanted for free). So far, though, my hands have been lucky. They’ve not spent years driving a truck and battling the elements like my mom’s.
I suppose if I can’t have dancer’s legs, I’ll settle for the nails. They really haven’t been that bad of a bargain.