Thursday 17 June 2010

Faking it

Not that.

So I’m back from the land of the free- and it turns out of the fake- fake tans, nails, teeth, I suspect rather more fake faces than I’m used to and just an astonishing amount of fake boobs.

I’m afraid the fakery leaves me cold and in the numerous cases of what must have been barely eighteen year olds with new, large and frankly just silly looking boobs actually quite upset. Boobs are just boobs though, the idea of near children having surgery to change their faces is always something I’ve been uncomfortable with- although I accept that if I had the nose of a Roman general I might feel differently. I am far, far away from perfect and I’m sure if I walked into any cosmetic (not plastic as they do do some remarkable work) surgeon they would like to improve me in many ways- but where does that end?

Nevertheless I am vain and easily led and thus found myself in a salon having my nails done while on holiday. I don’t think is anything wrong with that.

Unfortunately the nails I got given were very wrong, for me. They are gloriously plastic, wide and with those white tips that are sartorial suicide. Great- I paid for this. See I fail every time at being honest when hairdressers, beauticians et al ask if I like something- I always say yes when the answer is no. So when I said something natural looking and started getting anything but I didn’t have the courage to say on what planet is this natural? I actually said yes those are really lovely (it was like an out of body experience).

Now the point of this is not to share my pain with you all- but to say how funny-peculiar the fakery is making me feel. I literally have fake plastic stuck to me with super glue, I cannot get it off with my own hands. It’s not actually how they look it’s how they feel- there is more of me there than there should be and when I touch things, hit the keys, hold the pen, my hand doesn’t feel my own. I can’t open cans properly and when I touch someone, something it’s not quite right; the flesh of the apricots in the shop last night was find under my palms but when my fake hands got the side it felt like nails screeching up a blackboard.

These are just nails. How must it feel to have alien collagen inside you, or indeed have some of your bone cut away, or bits of tissue moved around? Perhaps I am just funny and it feels wonderful to some, most people. It’s not for me though if I’m honest. It might be the path to more mass appreciation (and here my nails are a bad example, there are plenty of people who are cool rather than me with my wide scary white nails, who probably aren’t all they seem, from a fake bake here to some subtle work there) but you have to be comfortable in your own skin don’t you. Or I do- and I’ll take the consequences.


Tania Kindersley said...

Am in a perfect FRENZY of agreement. The fakery makes me so sad, especially in the young girls. But then, the middle aged ladies with the frozen faces and startled expressions make me melancholy too. I have the feeling that this pressure to look a certain way is growing more extreme, but I cannot quite work out why. Anyway, thank you for this marvellous post.

Cwybrow said...

You've described my own experience of fake nails perfectly. And my god, the PAIN every time I reached through an inanimate object because I'd forgotten about the centimetre of plastic protruding rudely from my usual nail-bitten finger.

Linda said...

Dear Rose,

This is a post completely after my own heart - I am all for making the best of myself, but as for trying to regain youthful looks with botox just leaves me cold. And nails - I'm so glad that other ladies have had the same experience. I asked for "natural" looking nails, and what did I get? Disgusting pink and white talons which meant I couldn't even pick up a piece of paper, or my earrings to put them in! AND they ruined my own natural nails, which took several months to return to their healthy state.
Anyway - I love your posts!
Best wishes,

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Yow. I'm all squirmy just reading this. I am blessed with fingernails that grow rapidly, and strong. But I keep them incredibly short because they are constantly in garden dirt or bread dough. My manicurist always scolds me for "not leaving her anything to work with!". I cannot imagine how dreadful fake ones would be.

As for all the other plastic you discovered. Unbelievable, isn't it?

Karen Jones Gowen said...

So funny LOL! I've never had fake nails or fake anything (except hair lightening lol) because I can't stand PAIN. I asked a manicurist once about it and when she said "file them all the way down every 2 weeks" I said no thanks!

pitbull friend said...

Ah, but please don't think we're all like that. You went to the most plasticky part of the US. (Of course, there are pockets of it in many communities.) Where I am, we have plenty of flabby, pale, imperfect type folks.

After I had a breast reduction, it took quite some time to adjust to the space I was no longer taking up. I could now hug people closer than my wrists without them thinking I was being provocative! Having had that huge burden lifted, I can't fathom why someone would do the opposite. (Though I'm guessing that fake boobs don't weigh as much as real ones, so I guess they don't have neck pain like I did? But so many of them still look really wrong to me, esp. the ones that start right under the chin.) It is a puzzlement.

Rose said...

Hi Tania- thank you, I love your writing so am thrilled you liked this. The pressure is growing more extreme definitely- and spreading. I was told by a 'friend' that I really should think about having botox at 28 'you have lovely skin but time is marching on' er thanks but no thanks.

Hi Om- I don't know what posessed me- a mixture of peer pressure (yes at my grand old age) and that idea of changing yourself holidays inspire. I won't be doing it again!

Hi Linda- you're very kind- hairdressers and it seems manicurists have to be watched constantly it seems or they will run wild

Hi Pamela- I don't even like nails, that is the irony, I like short groomed, neat ones- I think a totally naked hand is the nicest if you have lovely hands but a bit of polish perks things otherwise. Yes the plastic! I had no idea it was prevalent- and every single waitress has the enhancements- it's such a cliche.

Hi Karen- you are right not to... don't get tempted

Hi Pitbull- of course I know it's a particular case and I love America- and Americans (excepting one or two with the surname Bush) but it was so interesting- it's going this way here I just am not as exposed to it. Thanks for stopping by- love your picture!

lady jane grey said...

Dearest Rose,
you're so absolutely perfectly amazingly RIGHT - thank you !

Anonymous said...

I'm a first-time commenter from the U.S. I'm totally with Linda... the only time I ever had this done, my nails were ruined for months (paper-thin and scraggly).
Reading your post was so timely... I was just looking in the mirror thinking, man, my eyes are baggy, but I'm just going to live with it. I'd rather someone appreciate me for me, rather than appreciate me for fakery.
Great post - thanks!


The Daily Connoisseur said...

Rose- lol oh no! not the fake nails! I've never had them done because I am not a fan of the look but it's always good to try something once no? Otherwise how would you know! I would have loved it if I saw you while in LA- next time! And thank you for your lovely comment on my blog xo

Jayne said...

I have never gone for fake nails (spend most of my time chopping off the ones I have to type!) but I do know so well that weird out of body experience when I am sat somewhere going 'oh that's lovely thank you' while inwardly thinking 'no it's awful!'. I remember with one particular hair cut thinking what have you done?! I still thanked them.

ScentScelf said...


(Sometimes, it is a sigh that comes out in response to this kind of stuff; sometimes, I burble with upset. Today is a sigh.)

I know what you mean. I empathize...and I really, really wish it would go away. But this rearranging of shell of self business keeps on coming bigger and bigger. Here's a horrible, awful thing; I once met a young girl who left one school because, among other things, her peers were happily participating in a culture where they were being promised plastic surgeries for the fifteenth birthdays as they marked their thirteenth. (Can one sigh and burble at the same time?)

It's a big country, here. There is the other extreme, too, of course; unkempt, selves hidden beneath neglect or abuse, rather than artifice. But somehow it is the artifice that bothers me more.

On the particular topic of nails...a friend once made a movie which revolved around the assumptions one makes about women by looking at their nails. This, too, has always bothered me...I'm generally a clean, clipped, done kind of person, so I invite a few stereotypes, none of which bother me except that they stand in the path of what is true. Anyway, the glue on thingies? I can't do that...I feel weird enough on the rare occasion when my nails are both long and painted. ;)

MyPerfumeLife said...

Great post - and totally agree. I'm also one of those people who sees hairdressers/manicurists et al doing terrible things to me. And I just sit there, saying, 'Looks great' whilst inwardly cringing and wondering how long it's going to take me to get home and get rid of it.

Please please - a photo of those nails!

Rose said...

Geordan- welcome! good for you, I'm sure you look great anyway and who wants to be a fake

Daily- yes I really didn't think about it until I was flying out and checking e-mail at the airport- such a pity. They were meant to be- so my friend said- very natural and the length of my own nails and just easy to maintain- well the manicurist has other ideas! I won't make that mistake again!

Hi Scentscelf- yes yes America is enormous in both size and variety and I'm very envious of all that amazing country. For the most part I think also much more groomed and together than us Brits too- I really don't think many Americans would want the nails I got either! I always wear mine short and normally naturual or perhaps occasionally vampy or bright red but it's rare.

MyPerfumeLife- camera won't charge and also they have been ripped off (which wasn't pleasant and I don't advise!) just imagine Jordan I'm afraid!