By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com
At Versailles, during the reign of Louis XIV, it was considered gauche to knock on a door with your knuckles. Instead one scratched the door with the little finger of the left hand, and for this purpose courtiers let that particular nail grow long.
Fast forward to the end of the 19th Century in Southern Italy, as well as in other parts of the world, you will find distinguished men with long pinky fingernails. Certainly, this tradition was not to copy the French aristocratic style, but it ushered in a new status symbol.
By the 1900’s, 80% of Italy’s population was engaged in agriculture and hence working in the fields was a common undertaking. By growing a long fingernail, men were able to convey to his fellow citizens that he had arrived and he no longer toiled the land. This minor move up the social scale was very important and needed to be communicated to the world. Certainly with a manicured fingernail one could not possibly be a peasant.
This custom was short lived as Italy shifted from an agrarian to an industrial economy but will it reappear again in the future? As we enter the digital age and electronic gadgets are available to the masses, you are just a click away to explore the entire universe.
A little tap on your iPad, iPhone, or iWatch will display apps or a small keyboard to access everything you want to know. Unfortunately, keyboard and app displays are getting smaller and smaller with every new digital toy that comes out.
I would not be surprised if one day we will revert to having a long and pointed fingernail to be able to accurately aim at the function just like having a Stylus pen.
However, I’m a bit concerned whether SIRI on my iPhone will eliminate the keyboard and apps altogether in the future!
Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.