Violinists don’t get manicures…

In my whole lifetime, I have probably been to the nail salon less times than I can count on one hand. Not for my wedding. Maybe two times visiting my sister in LA because her nail lady was so cheap and “amazing”. Once with my daughter when we moved away from England. I think that’s it! My nails are super short. I have short nail beds and playing the violin doesn’t allow for much leeway. Any hint of length and my double stops are strained, vibrato is compromised, and my trills collapse. So, my nails are short always, and usually marked by my nervous picking at hang nails or dry skin. A bad habit, I know. It’s not pretty.

This week I have a business trip to attend so I thought I’d better look a bit more polished.  I walked into Nail’s by Tiffany at a local strip mall and immediately dreaded the lecture I was about to receive.  EVERY TIME (all 4 times, ha ha) I have had my nails done, the technician shakes their head in disapproval as they examine my short nails, ragged hang nails and thick calluses on my finger tips. “Why you do this?” they have always asked. I try to explain I play the violin and apologize for the lack of length to work with. I tell them to leave the calluses alone, but they ALWAYS whip out the rotating sander contraption and attempt to get to work on filing them down, again, shaking their head in disapproval. This is followed by taking trimmers to the calluses, to which I have to object.  STOP RIGHT THERE!  I NEED THOSE CALLUSES! Am I the only stringed-instrument musician they have come in contact with? Apparently so. IMG_9945

This time, the man taking care of my hands kept telling me to let them grow and come back, “I will fix this to hands so nice.”  The hand and arm massage was nice, my nails do look polished and cared for, which was the desired outcome, but as much as I like the result, I don’t know if I love it enough to want another hour of disapproval from a total stranger who doesn’t have a clue what I am talking about when it comes to the importance of my nail length and calluses. It is definitely a time and money commitment I don’t think I want to keep up with either. I will stick with trims at home and maybe hit up Matt, my husband, for more hand massages, because that part was awesome.  Really awesome.

These hands do a lot of work. Practicing, yes. As a mom, so very much beyond that.  The man that did my nails actually told me to try to not use my hands for so much work. I glanced around the large room full of all types of women getting their nails done and couldn’t imagine that their load of work was any less, but then again, I have never had long nails to be careful with. I can’t know. I do know I am grateful to have hands that can work and accomplish much. The words to a hymn, “Have I Done Any Good?” often fill my mind as I work through my days.

Have I done any good in the world today?

Have I helped anyone in need?

Have I cheered up the sad, or made someone feel glad?

If not I have failed indeed.

Has anyone’s burden been lighter today

Because I was willing to share?

Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?

When they needed my help was I there?

Then wake up and do something more

Than dream of your mansions above.

Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,

A blessing of duty and love.

–Will L. Thompson

Will I go back for another manicure anytime soon? Yes. This gel polish apparently lasts a long time but has to be specially soaked to be taken off.  We’ll see how I feel about another round then. Until then, I will focus on the good these hands can do and enjoy my polished hands.



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