In 1939 the film “Gone with the Wind” came out onto the big screen and made its way into the hearts of countless fans for decades to come. While some of the most notable quotes refer to kissing and never going hungry again, another one crossed my mind as I stood over my bathroom sink: “Mother always said you could always tell a lady by her hands.”
As I looked at my own hands it made me think about all that they have been through. Can you ask yourself how clean your hands are? More importantly, can you really tell a woman by her hands?
This is not a story about personal hygiene but, instead, personal insight. After what could only be described as an undeniably difficult few days, I stood at my sink, took a deep breath and grabbed my bottle of soap. As the few remaining drops of marshmallow pumpkin latte antibacterial soap trickled down into my waiting palms, I thought to myself that they really didn’t even look too dirty. It was then that they met the water. As I rubbed my hands together creating a soapy lather, I could see it slowly turn from marshmallow white to beige then brown and finally black.
What happened to these hands?
Upon closer inspection, I noticed there was traces of mascara from a cry earlier that afternoon. Any girl trying to hide the fact that her heart was broken can pull the “there is something in my eye” card like the most suave poker player.
That explained the black.
Tears of loss. Loss of friendship, love, goals, hopes, dreams, family and tears of frustration. Sometimes we cannot help but have those tears trickle out our eyes and down onto our faces.
These hands are hurting.
The brown was dirt. Trying to maintain a home, indoors and out. Keeping it clean and presentable surely leaves its mark on you. I never gave my mother enough credit for this when I was a child. Life keeps happening. I take pride in my home. If that means pulling weeds when its 30 degrees out or shoveling snow or taking out the trash, it needs to get done.
These are the hands of a hard worker. These are hands that my father inspired. He is a man who can never sit still in the best way possible. I hope that when I am his age that I too still have the spunk and endurance to be the working bond that holds the family together. These hands are proud.
Finally, the beige. The traces of makeup that transferred from my cheeks to my hands as I sat for countless hours at a desk with my face buried deep in my palms. If I had a dollar for each time I asked myself how I got into this situation, then I could probably afford to not work. Alas, I still get up every day and go. I could never be one of those people who just stop. No matter how hard things get, how frustrated I become or how menial the tasks are, I still get up and go.
These hands are frustrated.
As the last of the bubbles made their journey to the drain I took one more deep breath, looked in the mirror and then carried on to go make dinner. I will be washing my hands again shortly, who knows what will come off them next.
You really can tell a lady by her hands.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live and WBRE.