Whose old hands are these?


I never had much luck with fingernail polish. Seems like I can apply a smooth coat of polish to–at best–five of ten nails. I’m sure that is related to the fact that I’m left-handed and all the “good” nails are on my right hand.

I know several women who go for a manicure each week and their nails look lovely, but that’s not for me. First, it involves making an appointment during the week when I’m working. More importantly, I consider those nail salons to be toxic time bombs and my hunch was proven correct by the New York Times recently.

So, I just buff my nails and that seems to work for me. Besides, my hands are not very attractive. I’m glad that I never aspired to become a hand model, because I would be among the long-term unemployed in that field.

What is a hand model, you ask? It is a professional model who is only hired for his or her attractive hands. Their hands appear in images such as the above, although I do detect some retouching on the photo. Is it my imagination or is the skin tone on the fingers pinker than on the hand? Maybe it’s makeup. (It’s a tough business for hand models, apparently.)

My hands work perfectly well, thank you, and that is all I ever ask of them. My fingers are long  enough to exceed a one-octave reach on a piano by one note. That’s a personal source of quiet pride that would be even more satisfying if I actually played piano.

What I don’t like about my hands is that the veins are quite prominent. This makes nurses happy if they need to insert an IV. They say, “Oh, those veins are lovely!” and, before I can warn them that said veins do NOT remain stationary when poked, they try to insert the needle–and miss. As far as I can tell, there is no benefit to having prominent veins on your hands, unless you want to volunteer them to help train student nurses and lab technicians. (And I don’t.)

I’ve lived inside this body of mine for many years and I still feel the same as  when I was a youngster. Unless I’m standing in front of a mirror, my hands are the one part of my body that I see throughout the day. I see then when I’m driving or when I’m typing. Sometimes I wonder when they stopped being smooth or when that age spot popped up.

Despite all this, my hands suit me perfectly. They function as designed and are not gnarled with arthritis or afflicted with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  For this, I am grateful.

And on those evenings at home when they look like an old woman’s hands, I just take off my glasses make everything  a little blurry. That works for me.

Who needs Photoshop?

8 thoughts on “Whose old hands are these?

  1. I have what I call “worker hands” which is exactly what they’ve been doing all my life. I try not to focus on their aging look (with mixed success) and remember, as you say, what they’ve done and continue to do for me. And I’m grateful my face has fared better! (So far)


  2. Cooking professionally for a living prevents me from ever applying varnish, which is just as well. I wonder if you came across the long series of articles the NY Times recently published about the treatment of workers in nail salons and the high risk of debilitating illnesses they are subjected to through the chemicals they inhale every day. If I ever needed more reasons to go au natural….


    1. I did read it. And it was because I could smell the chemicals every time I walked past a salon in a shopping mall that I always made me wonder about the health of these young women in the salons.
      This article proves me right, and I take no comfort in that.


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