Saturday, May 22, 2010


People, it is edging to 80°F today and its amazing. I'm about to head out for the first mani-pedi of the year and I can't wait. British women seem to think it's okay to wander about the streets of London in flipflops and sandals sans painted toenails, and frankly it's been weirding me out. I'm by no means disgusted by feet - actually, I think they are really interesting as shapes and I used to draw my own feet a lot in art school - but in the summer, when you've got rad new sandals on, you need to paint your toenails. At least file them, and get rid of the nasty bits around them.

This is symptomatic of a great English/American divide in beauty treatments and maintenance. I'm probably going to get a lot of comments about this, probably of the not so pleasant kind, but it's been my observation that women in the UK tend to not be as fastidious about general beauty maintenance. Which is not really a bad thing - and it's much more suited to my style and wallet. But definitely there isn't as much regular waxing, nail painting, facialing, etc. Girls here do a lot more DIY (leg waxing in particular, which stymies me), and definitely finger nail polishing, and trendy girls will always be on top of the style and beauty treatments. But older women especially just sort of go au naturel.

I can't decide how I feel about this, whether I think good for them that they don't buy into the whole "must spend a lot to look good to feel good" routine - the beauty-industrial complex - or whether these ladies are just a bit more relaxed when it comes to standards of beauty. English women are seen sometimes as the frumpier amongst Europeans, lacking the style and poise and general elegance of their Continental sisters. But there is a bit of the salt-of-the-earth, Blitz-spirit, stubborn grace about British women that is beautiful in its own right. British women aren't manufactured or plastic like the way American women can sometimes look, and it's actually sort of nice to see errant eyebrows every so often.

While I admire the way British beauty is often fresh and natural, I am still American and frankly resistant to change. I might go a bit longer between waxings here than I did in NYC, but I still moisturize everything every day and I cannot abide by summer toes showing unpolished. So excuse me, but there is an Asian nail parlor waiting for me.

PS: NSFM = Not Safe For Men.

1 comment:

  1. I think the first thing to realize is that there is nothing permanent about fashion. It changes all the time and what fashion gurus regard as wonderful today they will regard as comical or worse tomorrow. The one constant is the human body, love it or hate it.

    It really pains me to see young women with their faces caked with useless make-up. Youth is the best cosmetic ever invented. Tigger doesn't wear a speck of make-up and never has, but she looks fine to me and my heart lifts whenever I see her.

    There is only one make-up you need: cleanliness. As long as you are clean in body and clothes, that's all you need. Anything else is gilt on the gingerbread.

    Though a mere male, I have been known to paint my nails. It amuses me and is great for drawing attention. I can therefore hardly object to women painting their nails but the thing to remember is that it is an extra, not a necessity.

    In the West, we are living in the first age when you can wear whatever you like. Take advantage of it. One person's "frumpy" is another person's "comfortable". I admire people who go their own way.