When I was in secondary school, I used to ride the bus with a grade-schooler named Jennifer. No, it wasn't the special "short" bus with the tinted windows. I attended a private school that had grades Pre-K through 12. In any case, Jennifer's people, be they her mother or older sisters, always made sure she was finely turned out. While kids in the upper grades had to wear truly appalling polyester numbers, the elementary girls had a navy jumper made out of natural fibers. Jennifer never had a hair out of place and her saddle oxfords were always well-buffed and shined.
One afternoon, during the ride home, she volunteered that she had prosthetic toes on her right foot. Of course no one believed her. She didn't look like she had fake toes...whatever that meant. Once she realized our incredulity, she propped her leg up on the bus seat and removed her saddle oxfords, then her socks...then whipped off her toes. Everyone's mouth had enough room for a swarm of flies to swoop right in. Jennifer was quite matter-of-fact about the whole matter; she'd spent her entire life with her fake toes. She said there'd been some freak accident during her delivery or it was a birth defect. I can't remember, as it's been 15 years.
The thing that impressed me the most about Jennifer (and her people) is that the prosthetic toes were painted in a beautiful ruby red enamel. Her fake toes were perfect. Of course they were. They don't manufacture faux toes with bunions and corns. She and her people understood the importance of a polished appearance, regardless of her circumstances. To put it in the punniest of terms: Jennifer put her best foot forward.
This was also the case when I interviewed for my first job out of university. It was at a prestigious publishing house and I wanted it desperately. The human resources manager who interviewed me was a lovely Blonde woman with a quiet disposition. As I recall, she had a Veronica Lake curve to her hair. When I looked down at her fingers, I noticed that all 10 weren't there. I tried not to appear obvious about it, but often inconspicuousness only leads to the opposite.
She, too, subscribed to Jennifer's school of thought. Some fingers had barely a nail. I'm talking the most modicum of matter; a scrap of a nail! But if she had a nail, there was polish. Again, that lovely ruby red color. Jennifer and the HR manager didn't opt for subtle French colors or shiny clear. Their nails made a statement.
While not everyone may be a fan of Ms. Heather Mills, it must be noted that she doesn't permit her lack of a leg to stop her either. She bops around in opened-toe pumps and sandals, proudly, in ruby red nail enamel.
My message is that there's never an excuse not to present one's best self. People with no appendages are walking around looking sharp. There's no reason why the rest of us should parade around in sloppy university sweatshirts and sneaker slides. In this new era of change, let's upgrade our personal style, too.
Jennifer should be around 25 now. There's no doubt that she's stepping out in her Loubous, leaving common girls (with all 10 of their real toes) in her dust.