When Sunny Gets Blue: Sex on the Beach, Mosquitoes and Karen Silkwood

There are lots of songs about being blue, in fact of course a whole genre of music is called The Blues.  “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues,” “Blue Moon,” “Blue Christmas,” “Blue Velvet,” “Blue Hotel,” “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” “Love Is Blue,” “Tangled Up In Blue,” and “Mood Indigo.”  Blue in a song usually connotes sadness, but of course “When Sunny Gets Blue” took on a whole other connotation after Klaus von Bulow allegedly poisoned his wife Sunny putting her into an irreversible coma.   Sometimes being blue is literal and dangerous.  But enough about me; I can write about that in a future blog post sometime.

Blue has lately been making quite a fashion statement in nail polish colors:  Blue Blowout, Navy Narcissist, Blue Freeze, Poolside Passion, Blue Rhapsody, Beach Bum Blue, and Sex on the Beach (honestly, I don’t think Sex on the Beach is blue, but I did think it would get your attention.)  Sometimes at the nail salon I simply marvel at the names of nail polish colors and wonder who gets paid to make them up.  What an amazing job that must be.  I usually go with something like Gucci Mucci Pucci, Tennis Corset,  Angel Food or Negligee, but I am pretty conservative about my nail polish colors, only an occasional foray into something like Fishnet Stockings, Berry Naughty, Affair in Red Square, Skimpy Bikini or Clutch Me If You Can.

I love getting my nails done: the soaking, the filing, the hand massage and the little back rub as my nails dry.  Oh my God! And then there are pedicures…..And you know what?  I love the women who do my nails at the little shop I have gone to for years in Closter, New Jersey called Lux Nails.  As they file and massage and polish we have gotten to know each other.  We talk about our relationships.  The holidays.  Vacations.  We talk about our kids.  I have met their daughters and they have met mine.  I have had my nails done for celebrations, professional events and sometimes when I have been sad and blue, because the women bonding in the salon is very comforting.

So in no way is the following information meant to discourage anyone from enjoying their mani/pedis or abandoning their favorite salon friends.  I do think we all need to get some information about the products that are used in our nail salons.  I got some at a very interesting information at a forum I attended sponsored by NYCOSH (New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health) called Beauty at What Cost?  Hazards Associated with Exposure to Beauty Care Products on June 20, 2012.

Here is the issue in brief: there are some really hazardous chemicals in those lovely nail polish colors and the other products used in nail salons.  In addition to various other chemicals, there is what is referred to as the toxic trio:  toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate which are all quite prominent in nail polish,polish removers and artificial nail products.  They cause breathing difficulty with asthma-like symptoms, headaches, dizziness and have been associated with cancer and kidney disease.  All of these of course should be totally avoided during pregnancy.

For those of us who go to have our nails done once a week, every two weeks, whenever we want to feel good, the effects are most likely a non-factor in our health (but ask your obstetrician if you are pregnant.)   For the women who work in salons, our dear friends with whom we chat and sometimes share our deepest secrets, the health effects can be dangerous, deadly.

There are safety precautions that can be taken:  ventilation is really important.  Your salon should have good exhaust fans, windows, vents to remove the chemicals from the air.   Chemicals should be labeled.  And long sleeves can keep chemicals from getting into exposed skin.  With harsh chemicals gloves should be worn.  Here’s what it says in a Health Hazards brochure from OSHA:  Most work in nail salons will not require respiratory protection:  good ventilation and good work practices should keep exposure to gases, vapors, and particulates to a minimum.

So next time you have your nails done, you might just want to look around the salon.  You don’t have to be the Salon Police and you certainly don’t want to hassle the workers.  You might just want to make some suggestions or ask a few questions.  You can get the Safety and Health Topics at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/nailsalons/chemicalhazards.html

Don’t we just love the women who so caringly do our nails, massage our hands and talk to us even when we are blue?

As women we all deserve to be beautiful and healthy.  All of us should be able to enjoy Safe Sex On the Beach.


Mood Indigo:  Duke Ellington   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GohBkHaHap8


Or you might like the Harlem Ramblers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akd7F_w0als&feature=related


And here are the lyrics by Ella Fitzgerald:

You ain’t been blue, no, no, no

You ain’t been blue till you’ve had that mood indigo

That feelin’ goes stealin’ down to my shoes

While I sit and sigh, “Go ‘long blues”

Always get that mood indigo

Since my baby said goodbye

In the evenin’ when lights are low

I’m so lonesome I could cry

‘Cause there’s nobody who cares about me

I’m just a soul who’s bluer than blue can be

When I get that mood indigo

I could lay me down and die

You ain’t been blue, no, no, no, no, no

You ain’t been blue till you’ve had that mood indigo

That feelin’ goes stealin’ down to my shoes

While I sit and sigh, “Go ‘long blues”


Mosquitoes and Karen Silkwood coming soon to a computer near you in my future blog posts. 

Stay Tuned!