But here's an odd one. When I was 11 I saw the movie "Trading Places." There's a scene where Jamie Lee Curtis -- a prostitute with a heart of gold -- tells Dan Aykroyd -- a pathetic, childish, pampered businessman -- that he has baby-soft hands, meaning he has never done a hard day's work in his life.
As a kid I wasn't worried about being masculine (surprise!) but I WAS worried about being lazy. And since I spent most of my time reading, typing, and crying my hands were -- predictably -- baby-soft.
After this I worried about my soft hands for many years. I felt they identified me as a person who never did any work. During my summer jobs I revelled in every blister and callous I could get, but my traitorous hands always healed again. Nowadays, of course, I'm THRILLED that my hands are soft, but that comment by Jamie Lee Curtis haunted me for a long, long time.
I bring this up because I'm reading "A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution" by Orlando Figes. While eating breakfast this morning (all that Russian famine can sure make you hungry!) I ran across this sentence regarding the revolutionary People's Court:
Judgements were reached according to the social status of the accused and their victims. In one People's Court the jurors made it a practice to inspect the hands of the defendant and, if they were clean and soft, to find him guilty.Startled, I dropped my bacon. I rubbed my hands together...yes, still soft.