Tonight, a strange man caressed my hand and now I can't stop rubbing my thumbnail.
See, it all started a week or two ago when I couldn't find a thing
to wear on a Saturday morning. I had a blue-jeans crisis, which I solved later that weekend by marching myself into Eddie Bauer and plucking a pair of denim jeans from the shelf. I didn't even try them on and didn't have time to take advantage of the buy one, get one half-off sale. I was in a huge hurry.
Since then, I've regretted my hasty purchase of only one pair of jeans. I love them and I want another pair so I can rid my closet of the others that I hate. I had a rough week with the kids, so the second my husband came home, I went shopping. First, I went to my favorite store, Marshall's, where I found an Easter dress and pointy-toed pumps. After that, I headed back to the mall to see if I could get another pair of jeans for half-off the original price.
I parked outside of Macy's and zig-zagged through the store to the mall corridor. I had my force field up, yet the penetrating gaze of a kiosk employee caused some kind of malfunction. I never, ever, ever, ever
take a survey or listen to a spiel or even make eye contact in a mall. I just don't. It's a gift, a special psychological shield which protects me from such nonsense. Plus, I have the fat-housewife invisibility thing going on. Works great. Usually.
Yet, this dark-haired man reeled me into his space and asked me, "Do you have natural nails?" And I held up both my dish-pan hands and with a laugh said, "Of course! I'm a housewife!"
He looked at me with pity and compassion and took me by one dried up, wrinkled hand with its one age-spot and said, "Oh, I can help you."
"Let me show you this," Mr. Smooth said. And he gazed into my eyes as he held my hand. I'm afraid I had a little smirk (which he may have mistaken for a grin) on my face because I was so amused and I was thinking, Oh, just wait until I get home! Perfect blog material!
His eyes twinkled and I couldn't help but notice his long lashes. And he had some kind of accent, but I'm afraid I couldn't tell you if it was Middle Eastern or Italian or Latin. All I know is that he was buffing my fingernail with a small rectangular block and I was thinking, I'm SO not buying anything. I wonder how much that thing is
? and if I ask him how much it is, he'll think I'm going to buy it and I'm not.
I also remembered how my sister once gave me a nail-buffing kit and how it was fun to make my nails shiny and smooth one time and then it was just too much hassle. I think I sold that kit at a garage sale.
Meanwhile, Mr. Smooth is shining and buffing away. When the thumbnail is done, it glimmers and glows and Mr. Smooth smiles and blinks at me and insists I smell the different lotions that accompany the rectangular buffing tool. I sniff each one, make a face at some. He tells me his favorite and asks which one I like. I know where this is going.
Sure enough. "This kind of product would sell for $59.95! But we don't have television commercials. You just tell your friends and I can sell this to you for $29.95."
I raised my eyebrows in a Do-you-think-I-shop-at-Nordstrom's-because-I-just-came-from-the-Marshall's-clearance-rack-where-I-purchased-a-silk-dress-and-patent-leather-Ralph-Lauren-pumps-for-a-grand-total-of-$60-dude
-look and said, "I don't think so."
He said, "No?"
I said, "No."
He leaned in conspiratorially and said, "Tell you what. You're probably my last customer of the night, so I can give you the lotion free and the whole thing is only $19.95." I grimaced and said, "Uh, no."
"No?" he said.
He must have mistaken me for a desperate housewife who would fall prey to the handsome hand-holding antics of a long-lashed accented man, but no. I'm no floozy. And I also wouldn't dream of paying $19.95 for a fingernail system when I could buy something similar at Target for half the price.
He said, "Why?"
I said, "Too expensive."
He raised his hands in despair and shrugged and he was done with me. No lingering fingertips on my palm, no fluttering touch on my wrist, nothing. No more flirty gazes into my eyes. My force field snapped back into place and I was invisible again.
I said, "But good job!" and hurried off. He didn't even say good-bye. All I have to remember him by is my silky-smooth thumbnail. I can't stop circling it with my index finger. Mr. Smooth! You have ruined me! I was perfectly content with my neglected nails and now, I am obsessed with the ridge-free zone, the way the light glints off my thumbnail.
So if you a woman walking around tomorrow making tiny circular motions on her thumbnail and pressing said thumb to her upper lip to feel the smoothness, that would be me.