The Nails Have it… Hands Down!
by Betty Dravis
Whenever anyone asks what I notice first about a person, I always answer: “Everything––from their hairstyle to their choice of shoes! But that’s my initial impression when seeing a person from a distance.”
When anyone gets close, the first thing I notice is the face, starting with the eyes and mouth… Ah-hhh, the smile is what gets me every time, and if the person’s eyes have a particular twinkle to accompany the smile… Well, then I’m a goner. I could spend a lot of time with that person.
After the eyes, I notice the hands. For a variety of reasons, hands have always fascinated me… There is a certain elegance (and often comedic value) in their expressive way of gesticulating that almost makes words unnecessary. And there is exquisite artistry in the various shapes; some are squared-off at the knuckles, some have long, tapered fingers, while others are short and squat. All are beautiful to me, as I find differences in humans quite appealing, entertaining, natural and often amusing.
I could write about hands all day, but I chose fingernails as the subject of this blog because those ten little bits of protein at the tips of our fingers have evolved through the years from ugly ducklings to graceful swans. Er…well, in most cases… Some people would call this fingernail example an atrocity, but I think it’s fun, funky and creative, emphasizing this person’s personality to the max. You would have to be young and carefree to “nail” this look. I also think her ring bling adds more eye candy, don’t you?
I won’t go into the history of fingernail painting and when it began because that would take too much time and space; the information can be found in this interesting article by Kimberly Heit athttp://www.helium.com/items/1377528-nail-trends-in-history
It’s interesting to know, however, that fingernail painting has been traced back as far as ancient Egypt where Cleopatra used henna to tint her nails. But what fascinated me most is this tidbit: It wasn’t until the 20th century that nail polish was invented. Initially it was referred to as nail enamel because it was developed from lacquers originally designed for automotive painting. This hit the market during the 1920’s. At that time bright colors were shunned by the well-to-do people because they were associated with the working class. Upper class women were also expected to grow their nails long. However, the iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel made both short and red nails chic before the end of the decade.
And then In the 1970s long, neutral, artificial nails took off when the nail manufacturer Orly brought out home French-manicure kits. Hollywood embraced French manicures because they went with all different looks, thus eliminating wardrobe changes.
With nails reflecting the social trend of the times, in the new millennium there is a broad choice of fingernail treatment…as there is in people’s choice of attire. Anything goes, it seems. Now people do so many things with their nails it is very difficult to pinpoint a consistent trend. The French manicure and red nails are still immensely popular, but so too are shimmer, metallic, frosted and glitter polishes. It is also quite common to see a wide range of nail ornamentation from water decals to rhinestones, crystals, striping foil and even charms that hang from artificial nail tips. (See accompanying photos for a sampling of various looks.)
In fact, the care and upkeep of fingernails has evolved into a billion-dollar industry, as evidenced by a profusion of shops all around the country. Nails are becoming so attractive, they not only command attention, they demand it!
Now that you know more about nails than you possibly wanted to know, I think it will be fun to share photos of us five authors who comprise The Dames of Dialogue and see how we choose to do our nails. The first author photo is Maggie Bishop; second, Christy Tillery-French; third, Caitlyn Hunter; fourth, Laurel Rain Snow; and fifth is my photo. I think it will be a fun exercise for our readers to try to guess some of our personality traits, character and interests…from our fingernails only. No fair, peering into our eyes… LOL