This summer, I have definitely made use of my hands. Instead of sitting in front of my computer, I have stained furniture, done more gardening & weeding than usual, made a bunch of tie-dye shirts, and scraped and scrubbed an old grill. All of this showed in my hands, specifically under the ol' nails. I will admit, I liked going into Home Depot with crimson wood stain down my arm and fingers (I never said I was neat, or even good at any of this stuff). I liked walking by the professional contractors who were covered in saw dust and spackle. I was one of them with the remains of my craft in my cuticles. It took some self control not to yell out, "oh...you guys building a a two-story deck? Yeah..I stained four drawers and will probably weed my 3' x 5' garden later. Take it easy."
My daughter had some friends over a few weeks ago, so we tie-dyed shirts and then I scrubbed down our old fire pit. My hands were stained from the dyes a lovely mix of tangerine, night sky and clover. Then the wet rust from the fire pit pulled all my badassery together quite nicely. I honestly felt like I could walk around my neighborhood saying "who wants to mess with me?" and the neighbors would take one look at my filthiness and flea. Of course, if they followed me home to see the hangers of colorful tie-dyed shirts hanging in the tree and the gaggle of 10 year old girls making s'mores over the fire pit, they might question how tough I am after a little soap and water.
My mother always weeds her garden (and mine, thank you mother) barehanded. No gloves. She says she likes the way it feels. I follow in her soily fingerprints. I like the feel of dirt on my hands and being able to feel a weed loosen in my grip. I guess I feel like hands are meant to get dirty. So long fingernails don't make sense to me. I prefer chipped, chewed, dirty nails that show that I really like to get down and work or play hard.
As a note....I do scrub my hands quite a bit and you can invite me out for a fondue dinner without the fear that my grimy hands will be hovering over the cheese. And while I don't mind my husband coming in after mowing the lawn, smelling like grass with black under his nails, I do typically guide him to the bathroom sink after a while to suds up. And even though I have some strange aversion to painted fingernails, as I write this, my toenails are painted bright red and decorated with butterfly stickers. I mean, dirty toenails....that's just unnatural.