As an optometrist, I have a lot of wonderful and interesting patients. One day, this fairly normal looking, thirty-year-old man, who’d just graduated with a Master’s in film/production/writing, comes in for an eye examination. He’s moving out of state, and this will be the first and last time he’ll be coming to my office. He’s nice. He’s funny. We’re having fun. I’m feeling a little slap-happy as it’s late in the day and I have a three day weekend ahead of me. I can’t help noticing his hands; and then I begin to obsess over them.
“Which is better? One? Or two?” I say, but my eyes and my mind are on his hands.
You see, he has an impressive amount of dark hair on his arms, not ape-man or anything, but impressive. As I casually gaze down his arms towards those hands, quite suddenly (and shockingly) the hair is gone! Right at his wrists; it just disappears into lily white hands. Where is the hair? What happened to it? I’m concocting all sorts of scenarios in my head: he’s filmed a hand cream commercial in one of his last classes and he was the star; he accidentally dropped his hands into a vat of Nair; he has some really strange disease where hair won’t grow on his hands; hand chemo?; he singed all his hairs off in some bizarre grilling accident . . . ?
Well, it’s driving me nuts, so I finally think to myself, “You know, Karen, you’re never going to see this guy again. Just ask him.”
So I do.
“This may seem like a strange question,” I say, “but it’s not like I’m going to ever see you again . . . I just have to ask.” I pause a moment -- think about keeping my mouth shut, but then I just can’t. “What happened to the hair on your hands?”
He looks at his hands, flips then over a few times and says, “Oh, I shave them.” In all my concocting it never occurred to that he would do this purposefully and repeatedly. He goes on to explain that he never liked the way his hands looked, so he pulled a few hairs off and he liked the way it looked so he yanked out a few more . . .
“Well,” I, stupidly add. “It gives you something to do.”
He’s still admiring his hands as he says, “You know, no one ever notices.”
Of course, I’m thinking, but manage to keep inside my head, “Everybody notices! They just don’t have the balls to ask.”
We part on the best of terms. I shake his hand ‘goodbye’. “And really,” I think, as he leaves my life forever, “the man has beautiful hands.”