While your primas were having fun playing with barbies and giving each other makeovers, you were busy playing freeze-tag and basketball outside with the boys. While being a tomboy is a ton of fun, it also has a few downsides…
If you grew up as a tomboy, one thing you couldn’t stand was when your mom would dress you up with cake-topper dresses.
CREDIT: JESSICA GARCIA
This was absolute torture.
Once you grew older, however, you had more freedom with your wardrobe choices including Halloween costumes.
CREDIT: DALILA MARTINEZ
There was no fun in Halloween without some fake blood or scary mask to put on.
Maybe you didn’t dress up like a cute little princess like other girls, but you always looked like a total badass.
Anyone traveling to the Dominican Republic this summer has likely been met with the cautionary warning; “Don’t drink anything from the minibar.” Eleven tourist deaths on the island in 2019, ranging from natural causes to counterfeit alcohol consumption, have spurred FBI and State Department investigations. Though news of flight and hotel cancellations abounded, I missed my family and refused to let fear stop me from seeing them. Since I lived to tell the tale, here are a few things I learned about my father, about myself, and about the precarious paradise that keeps calling me back.
Billy Joel and Nas have interpreted the “New York state of mind,” and if you have ever visited the Dominican Republic beyond the purpose of tourism, you’ll know that there exists a Dominican state of mind too.
Credit: Dan Gold / Unsplash
Whenever I exit Las Americas or Puerto Plata airports, humidity slaps me in the face, and my Dominican mindset is immediately activated. On this island, electricity does not run 24/7. When the electricity goes, or as we say “se fue la luz,” water doesn’t run from the tap either. All that is left to do is swap your sneakers for flip-flops, and exorcise your need for immediate gratification. It takes practice, and I re-learn this lesson with each visit.
The Dominican Republic is changing fast.
Credit: zonacolonialrd / Instagram
There is new construction everywhere you look. I sit on the balcony chatting with my father and stare across the street trying to remember how it looked before the apartment building was constructed in that space. I can see from an open doorway on the ground level that wooden boxes are being stacked, and hauled out in front of a business. I tune out my father’s voice as I focus on the shape and size of the boxes. My Spanish needs work, and I ask my father, “Papi, what does ataúd mean?” The business slogan translates to “Quality Coffins.” I think about magic realism traditions in Latin American literature, and I am reminded that so often a country like this juxtaposes disparate images and experiences in such a casual manner. I don’t think I would be able to live across the street from a constant reminder of death anywhere else but on this incongruous island.
We drive to the countryside of El Seibo for a few days.
Credit: fedoacurd/ Instagram
My father syncs his playlist and he directs my sister what song to play next. The first song is by Boy George. I watch my father sing along, and I can’t help but think about the Dominican Republic’s homophobic culture steeped in hyper-masculinity. Same-sex marriage is not recognized on the island, and members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination and violence. I talk to my sister about this later that night, and she tells me small changes are coming to the island. The city of Santo Domingo hosts inclusive events like Draguéalo, where you can even sign up for a Vogue class.
Credit: Draguelao / Facebook
My father’s playlist continues and I’m struck by his selections ranging from Taylor Swift to A.I.E. (A Mwana), a song by a 1970s group called Black Blood, featuring lyrics in Swahili.
I watched this Dominican dad jam across continents, decades, cultures, languages, and race. I realize there is so much I don’t know about him, and so often we shortchange our parents’ knowledge and experience, reducing them to stereotypes and gendered tropes.
After a few days in the countryside, my sister and I rent a hotel room in La Zona Colonial. We ready for a night out when she looks at my outfit and asks me, “Um, is that what you’re wearing tonight?” I thought my yellow jumpsuit was poppin’. My sister pulls out a little black dress from her overnight bag and kindly suggests I wear it. The dress is tiny. It’s skimpy. It’s super short. It’s absolutely perfect. I channel my inner Chapiadora, Goddess of Sex Appeal and Free Drinks, and dance all night.
Growing up in the 90s, I styled myself in oversized men’s clothing. It wasn’t until that one magical summer in the Dominican Republic when the heat was too oppressive to wear jeans, so I wore—gasp—a skirt. That was the first time I felt sexy, and learned the power of sex appeal. Though I wielded that power throughout my twenties, it fell away in my thirties. Wearing my sister’s LBD I realize I still have “it,” and in the Dominican Republic, sex appeal is ageless. Be careful when you come here. You may fall in love with a local, or you may just fall in love with yourself again.
The island leaves me with one last lesson.
It comes late one night, sharing a few bottles of wine with my father and sister. No hay peor ciego que el que no quiere ver—the worst blind person is the one who refuses to see. I could say the current political landscape in the U.S. reflects this willful ignorance, a refusal to see; yet it is the same human experience felt across space and time.
I come away wondering about my own blind spots.
I board my return flight thinking up ways to combat willful ignorance at home, thinking about maintaining that flexible DR state of mind and thinking about buying a little black dress. As tourism in the Dominican Republic picks up again, and unfavorable headlines drop out of the news cycle, this changing island stands in its own plurality welcoming visitors, and offering endless opportunities to teach us something new.
We’re currently in the thick of summertime and you know what that means: sun’s out, toes out. And this year, the toenails are looking quite a bit different than usual. That’s right, the newest trend lighting up Instagram is one we never thought we’d see: extra-long toenail pedicures.
Fortunately for us, the toenails that are catching the most attention are super-manicured and appear to be acrylics. That means the length isn’t due to neglecting a toenail clipper (thank god), but due to paying someone to make the toenails longer with a little glue and some press-ons. So next time you take a trip to the nail salon, think about asking for the newest beauty trend: long toenail acrylics. You’re sure to be the coolest girl on the block.
We’ve compiled some of the most popular looks to offer you some inspiration.
We’ll start off gently
Yes, these toenails are long, but they’re relatively mild compared to what you’re about to see. This is the standard look for the long-toenail trend. The color is solid, the shape is square, and the length isn’t so long that you can automatically spot them as acrylics.
These ones are a little more intense
It’s not the big toe that’s the most surprising of this look, but rather, the length of the small toes. It appears that this woman invested in acrylics for her small toes because, as we know, growing out your smaller toenails usually just ends in a lot of painful in-growns.
These big toes look suspiciously like duck bills
We can’t say we’re a fan of these ones. While the previous looks (mostly) kept their biggest toes on the more natural side, these ones are so freakishly long that they’re obviously not home-grown. No one’s big toenail can get that long without curling over!
This is about as mainstream as the “long toenail trend” gets:
Here we have a perfectly lovely pair of feet (never thought I would write that sentence) with medium-long lengths for all her toenails. Yes, the length is a little longer than mainstream, but you wouldn’t be shocked to see these on the street. It’s also worth mentioning that this is one of the few pairs of feet not rocking toe rings, so it seems this person favors a more conservative look.
The long French pedicure
The people who say French manicures are making a comeback probably didn’t have this in mind. The number one rule of a classy French manicure is that the white tips aren’t longer than the pink base. It’s a no from us, dawg.
The “Real Housewife” Look:
Although this acrylic pedicure is pretty shocking up close, we could actually totally see it on a wealthy, married woman of a certain age.
Long and round pedicure
Here’s a look that deviates from most of the other looks. While the other women seemed to opt for a squared-off look, this woman decided on rounded toenails. This is definitely one of the more unique pedicures we’ve ever seen. But of course, there’s more…
The bird talons
The sheer length, width, and curve of these toenails are downright shocking. But what’s more shocking is about the number of fans this look has. The comments on this look’s post are very complimentary, to put it lightly.
The white claws:
Although we love the look of a white pedicure, they’re not known for longevity. Unlike nudes, pinks, or other more neutral colors, a white pedicure can become ruined really quickly because the chips are so noticeable. We’re sure that long toenails expedite the chip-factor.
This pedicure looks like it would scrape the ground while walking
You know your toenails are too long when they hang off the side of your open-toed sandals. It’s pictures like these that make us remember why short toenails are the go-to standard. They’re more livable and more convenient! This pedicure looks like it would be chipped by the sidewalk just from a brief walk.
The long red look seems to be the go-to style for pedicure acrylics
The reasoning behind that would make sense. Anyone who’s spending the time and money to make their toenails that long would definitely want them to stand out. And red polish is just another way to bring people’s eye-line down to your feet!
And finally, the long-nailed pedicure look that takes the cake:
If you were shocked by any of the previous ones, then this one is sure to send you over the edge. We’re not quite sure why anyone would be interested in getting toenail acrylics like this. But one simple Instagram search proves that there’s a market for this look.
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