I have the hugest hands in the world. Seriously, they’re Man Hands, like that episode of Seinfeld.
It’s rarely a problem, except when I go bowling, which is never. I hate bowling because it’s a sort of sport that people do involving crappy beer and mediocre music and me walking in front of people with big slippery clown shoes on (I also have huge feet, but this isn’t a post about that), bending over, and hurling a ball towards some pins, then turning around and feigning disappointment when it inevitably rolls into the gutter. But the worst part about bowling is that they don’t make balls for weakling girls like me who also happen to have gigantic man fingers. Nice, light, pink balls have dainty little finger holes that I couldn’t cram my fingers into if a gun was held to my head, so I have a choice between carrying a 75 pound weight-lifter’s ball which will fit my sausage fingers or just forgetting about the damn holes completely and rolling the ball between my legs with both hands and hoping no one notices and tries to give me tips.
I guess it’s also a problem when I try to buy cheap costume jewelry, but I haven’t done that in years because I know better now and no matter how cute those rings look I just walk on by. It wasn’t a problem when Lance proposed, though. Lucky me, he knew my ring size because (wait for it) his hands are the same size as mine.
But I can do some things other people can’t do, which is kinda cool. I can play barre chords on the guitar like a boss. I can stretch my hands across the piano like you don’t even know. I can palm a damn watermelon, which has for sure come in handy when I’m holding a baby and trying to grocery shop. (I can also palm sports balls of all kinds, which I have been told is bitchin but for the life of me I have no idea what to do with it after it’s in my palm.)
Why am I telling you this, Reader? Well, for one thing, I’m across from a girl with dainty little pretty hands and I still struggle with always feeling like a beast, so it’s just on my mind. But mainly, I’m telling you this because we recently read fairy tales in Noah’s Kindergarten book, and one of them was Cinderella. In the story my children learned a very important lesson, and that is that Cinderella wins because she’s tiny. No really. Her foot was dainty and slender, and the step-sisters can’t fit their gigantosaur fat feet into the glass slipper, so they don’t get to marry the prince. Maybe this seems like an absurd detail and maybe you never noticed, but maybe you didn’t grow up with Man Hands and Clown Feet (oh look, my huge feet are part of this post after all). My women’s studies major friend would say that I internalized stuff like the detail about Cinderella’s teeny little small-boned self, and I know she is right because when I was reading it again it hit me like a heavy-ass bowling ball with correctly-sized finger holes.
My whole life, I felt too big. I shot up like a bean sprout in middle school, at least a head taller than all the boys (and the girls too, of course). I learned from a very young age to slouch, because when I sat up straight I was looking down on everyone. I remember giving hugs to friends in middle school and feeling like… well, a polar bear actually. Like a monster. My arms were so long, my shoulders so wide, my hands so big. My parents never made me feel like I wasn’t beautiful, so this feeling I had that big isn’t pretty had to come from somewhere else. As I read Cinderella to my kids I realized it. It came from fairy tales! The message in Cinderella is not a subtle one. It slaps you in the face! Big/fat = mean/ugly. Slender/dainty = kind/beautiful.
My daughter, full of my genes, will likely be tall and will likely have large(ish) hands and feet. Like most little girls, she loves princess culture (though how I’ve tried to shield her from it, y’all), being pretty (how does she pick this crap up!?), and dressing fancy. I was the same at her age. I wore my mom’s nightgowns as dress-up attire and imagined myself on stage dancing and basically just looking gorgeous. But as soon as I became tall and someone first pointed out my big ole hands and feet, I started to believe I wasn’t beautiful. What if my daughter feels the same someday? That would crush me, because I know first hand how it would crush her. I’m torn between wanting to de-emphasize beauty and wanting to pour her full of reminders of how truly beautiful she is, how beautiful BIG is.
I compromise by talking about my huge hands and feet often, especially to my kids. I talk about them with pride. I look in the mirror and smile. Yep, I have big hands, big feet, a big nose, broad shoulders, large hips. Yep, I’m an Amazon. But how beautiful am I? It might not feel true all the time, but I’m all about faking it till I make it, y’all.
And fuck bowling anyway.