I read once, in one of those pre-teen books that are printed in quirky, curlicued fonts meant to imitate a fifth-grade girl’s actual handwriting, that green toenail polish – preferably of the leprechaun/shamrock green variety – makes your feet look smaller. I must have been about ten years old when I came upon this little factoid… if you could even call it a “factoid”; I’ll admit that I have yet to thoroughly investigate its credibility. For all I know, green toenail polish makes your feet appear disproportionately monstrous, far more Shrek than Tinker Bell. But for whatever reason, my ten-year-old brain attached some kind of vital significance to this information, flagged it as both “Important” and “Useful,” and stored it safely in the back of my brain, somewhere between my multiplication tables and the State Song.
I’ve never even had big feet, nor am I particularly foot-conscious. I mean, let’s get real: if I could paint any given part of my body green in order to make it appear, either by black magic or optical illusion, significantly smaller, you can be sure I would have an empty gallon or two of paint before I got anywhere near my toenails.
Okay, yes, all twenty of my nails are currently painted green. But that’s just a silly coincidence. I swear I don’t have some deep-seated insecurity about the perceived size of my extremities. I just like to buy overpriced designer nail polish in daring, off-beat colors with clever, edgy names that almost invariably include puns. For example: “Do You Lilac It?” or, another favorite, “Ski Teal We Drop.” But I’m afraid I’ve gone a shade off topic.
I find it interesting the seemingly useless, random things we remember so clearly – things that, true or not, have become so deeply ingrained into our psyches that they may even affect our behavior years after the fact.
Someone once told me, with the utmost self-assuredness – and I’ve never forgotten it – that a person’s face is at its most attractive after he or she has been working on a crossword puzzle. Something to do with the brain stimulation involved. To this I say: if brain stimulation is all it takes to reach one’s maximum potential of attractiveness, then why, as I stood in wait for my breakfast sandwiches at Panera on the mornings after all my long, sleepless nights of intensive thesis work, weren’t the men flocking to me in droves? My brain was fried, I should easily have been a 10. (I mean, it couldn’t have had anything to do with the baggy sweats, the greasy hair, or the residual sugar coating my face from all of the Sour Patch Kids. Right?)
But even in light of my skepticism, I have continued to incorporate at least twenty minutes of crossword puzzling into my routine preparations for a night on the town. Right between the makeup and the hair. Because who knows?