She Does Nails
By Kit-Bacon Gressitt
She struts in on someone’s arm, a support she doesn’t need in the slightest and promptly abandons. Her hennaed hair, engineer’s boots, magenta fingernails and matching lips; all five feet eleven inches of her are more than enough to stop everyone mid-conversation and carry their attention with ease.
And when she sits down — her legs spread wide in black leather pants fitted for a stunningly identical mold — she’s still bigger than any man in the room. And they are, all the men, riveted as tightly to her as her pants. So, in fact, are the women.
The accountant she’s pounced next to, a guy who surely counts his luck at being close enough to smell the mixture of her leather and patchouli, stares agog, visibly struggling for a way to initiate verbal contact. With a burst of courage born of investing every personal asset at hand, he asks her what she does.
[caption id="attachment_485" align="alignright" width="270" caption="Ventilated fingernail polish guards c.1940"][/caption]
“What I do,” she tells him with black eyes flashing and one of those long limbs wrapping around his chair leg, “is nails. I have a gift for it. Like Picasso. Only I paint with acrylic.” And she snags every pair of eyes in the room to her serpentine finger as she draws an abstract in the air just beyond his sternum. “Call me,” she breathes close to his ear, “I’ll do yours,” smoothly tucking a business card into his pocket and gliding off to taunt the hors d’oeuvres.
I watch her work the party, annoyed with those pants and the vamp shtick. There are more important things to do than attract men. The world is fraught with compelling issues that demand our attentions from such foppery as nails and Egyptian hair treatments. She probably has a weird body part piercing, too.
After reducing a PR man to a blithering idiot, she abandons him and heads in my general direction, leaving the man dribbling margarita down the front of his heavily starched Brooks Brothers. I feel a pang of pity, but figure he deserves it for succumbing to her silly mating rituals, and I wonder which male is behind me. But there is none.
She crosses the room in three determined strides. “Hey, I hear you’re into politics,” she says. To me!
“I used to be. Gave it up to have a life. The system is corrupting, and I didn’t want to start disliking myself as much as I did my clients.”
“You’ve gotta still follow the game,” she insists, leaning deeply into my personal space. I wonder if maybe she’s bi.
“Well, it is a bit of an addiction.”
“So, like, what do you think of the Republicans?”
I pray for a man to come distract her improbable focus.
“And, hey, what about that last debate thing? What a slam! Palin and Biden, they were both kind of duds, but their handlers must be all high fives that neither crashed and burned. Still, a girl for vice president, shit hey! But what’s she good at? You know, that’s it! That’s the problem with her; you just can’t see her in the Oval Office except for maybe like a photo op. Like, right? Besides what real woman’s gonna vote for that hair. Now McCain, he’s whack and old — and I’m no ageist. He’s doing his classic self-destruct thing, man. Take one look at him on camera and his whole aura flashes ‘Eject! Eject! Eject!’ Obama, now, he’s got swag, he’s the dude to do it. We’re not gonna get any better. What was that line, change we can believe in? Change is hot. That’s what this country’s gotta be all about, dude, you betcha!” and she gives me a wink over her shoulder as she heads for the next male.
So, what I bet is that her startling analysis, whatever it might be lacking, is brilliantly honest, unlike most. That she would even attempt to distinguish the duds from the dudes gives me hope. And those nails, they’re kind of growing on me.
©2008 Kit-Bacon Gressitt