28 February 2009

Size Matters

OK, now I'm going to tell you something counterintuitive. (Oh, that word is so pretentious. But I used it again!) It might not matter much in the scale of things, but here it is: Size didn't matter as much to me when I was living as Nick as it does now.

Now, you're probably wondering why I'm worrying about the size of that. Well, guess what: You have a dirty mind. I was being entirely literal. And, because I'm a lady, I would never, ever talk about that!

So the hormones haven't tempered my mischieviousness. Oh, well. The doctor didn't say that they would, and I never said that I wanted them to. What the doctor doesn't tell you won't hurt you: Is that how it goes? Or is it that what you don't want can't hurt you? Either way, I'm safe, I guess.

About the issue of size: I noticed it again when I went to get my nails done. On occasion, you'll see a man getting a manicure, but 99% of the time--even here in New York--all of the patrons as well as the nail finishers are female. I am taller and bigger than most women though, I'm told, I'm not at the far edge of the bell curve. On the other hand, as a male, I was average--almost militantly so--in both height and body size. As a matter of fact, when I was in shape, I was thinner than most guys and smaller overall, save for the shoulders I developed from weight-lifting.

Today I realized why I notice my size even more in nail salons than in other all- (or mostly-) female environments. Just about everyone who finishes nails, at least in this city, is Chinese or Korean. The half-dozen women who do that work in the salon I usually patronize (Hannah and Her Sisters in Astoria) are Korean. And so were all of the nail technicians in the places I patronized before I started to frequent Hannah and Her Sisters. Next to those women, I seem like King Kong.

I haven't had my nails done outside New York yet, so I don't know if the situation holds true everywhere. From what I could see, it seemed to be the case in the part of Florida where my parents live, but not in Paris or Istanbul. Before going to those places, I had my nails done, so I didn't have to avail myself to the local equivalents. Now I wish I had, just to see what they were like.

Some sociologist or labor historian should undertake a study that would explain why seemingly every nail technician in New York, or any urban or suburban area in the US, is from China or Korea. We know why, for example, Jews came to dominate the garment industry and how they and Italians pretty much were the film industry. Or why for more than a century, the vast majority of cops were Irish or machinists were German. But why are nail technicians Chinese or Korean?

Maybe the answer won't matter that much. But less consequential matters have consumed great amounts of intellectual and other kinds of capital.

For now, I guess I'll have to get used to standing out in a nail salon the way an NBA center next to one of the jockeys at Aqueduct Race Track--at least until Amazons take over the nail salons of this city.

Will size matter then?