Man Hands Lizzie

Many years ago, a young composer played her piano opus for her wise old professor.  Afterwards, in pregnant silence, her thoughtful mentor reached for her hands, grasped them firmly, and said:

“You have man hands.”

Until he had spoken those words, she had  thought her hands, if not pretty, were pretty feminine.  But he had mischievously pointed to the well-defined base of her thumb and then to his.  He was, irritatingly, correct.  Hers did look more masculine than his, she thought, puny pansy appendages.   And just like that, his words turned her into ‘Man Hands Lizzie’.

Downhearted … for a minute, she decided this was, in fact, a good thing.  Hers were the hands of labor: two bony branches of endurance and hard work.  This explained why, as a youngster, her aunt had to pry her blistered hands off the monkey bars when she wouldn’t stop swinging for an hour; why she was able to play the piano for 12 hours straight everyday, and this included at least a couple of hours of scales, Hanon, and what she likes to call the Phillip’s Torture Series; why she was able to bear making wire jewelry, all that twisting and cutting, with her bare hands; and why, for a happy year (too short), she boxed and was able to knock the bejeezus out of that arrogant thug of a sparring opponent who thought he could scare her off because she had boobs.

Her hands were small but strong and tough.  Had they been a man, they would have been Tim Roth. 


I’ve been juicing my brain for a new blog name for a couple of months now.  I have a blog but I named it on the fly and it felt like a loose-fitting shoe eversince.  And then today I looked at my hands and suddenly remembered my professor’s wise words.  Man Hands Lizzie seemed very apt.

My hands are life.  I experience the world through them.  I am sensual.  Tactile.  I love touching things.  Making them.  Handling tools.  Getting dirty.  Cleaning up.  Sketching plans. Tinkering with things.  Fabricating fancies.  Crafting music. 

Through the years, I’ve finished quite a few projects but never got to document them, something I truly regret.  This blog will help keep me from making that mistake again.  It will serve as my project journal-of-sorts so that when I’m old and my hands have withered like gnarled roots, I can browse through these pages and smile toothlessly. 

You are all invited to look around and leave a message or two.



5 thoughts on “Man Hands Lizzie

  1. cato says:

    oooh. is this your very first entry for this blog? 🙂 i was wondering at the name. this answered whatever questions i had. 😀

    my hands are pretty much my life too. the only thing i do where i don’t use them much is tap dance. haha! 🙂 i love picking things up and fiddling them around in my hands. 🙂 i’m not sure what my life would be like without my hands or my fingers.

    There was once an up and coming pianist who got into an accident and her car rolled off a cliff. Instead of protecting her head or face like people instinctively do, she hid her hands thinking it was her life. Needless to say, her hands survived the crash but her brain didn’t. After years of rehabilitation, she was able to have a concert again but, as expected, she didn’t do well. She would forget passages or repeat them. Really sad.

    So, do you still tap?

    • cato says:

      that sounds scary.

      yeah. i still have tap sometimes. but we don’t have class often anymore because my teacher can’t teach us anything more. which is a pity because that’s as far as i can go here. and i get a bit frustrated when i see all the creativity abroad (i.e. youtube videos of really cool tap performances). i think that’s the only problem when your teacher’s not updated with stuff or training for new choreography styles or whatever. if i want to get excited about tap again, i think i have to go abroad. then again, there isn’t much career for me here as a tap dancer. just sad.

      It’s sad that you have to stop doing what you love because you’re thinking of your future and how maybe it’s not a practical option for you. 😦

      My mom’s friend had tap lessons at the PE dept in our university. But that was years ago. Why don’t you inquire about that? It might still exist! 🙂

      • cato says:

        it still exists. but then, the teacher at UP learned tap under MY teacher. hahaha! really, i think we need more people to go abroad to learn and bring it home here so that we have something new and exciting to learn again! i was at the peak of my excitement when my teacher made us do Acapella tap a few years ago because it was so different from the usual thing we did. and we learned THAT out of a video from the US. but nowadays my teacher just revives old choreographies that i still sometimes have in my head. boring naman. hahaha! 🙂

        Ngek. That would be boring! I hope it bores her, too, enough for her to go abroad and learn new steps/choreography. 😀

        • cato says:

          nah. my teacher’s old na. siguro late 30’s or early 40’s (most likely the latter). she’s settled down here na with her kids. i don’t think she has enough motivation to go and learn abroad pa. i think she’s still a good choreographer, if not outdated. but she’s the best at tap. i have not seen a better tap dance teacher yet. i might inquire at a different dance studio this summer but most likely, wala din. tap dance here really doesn’t have a market. no students, no teachers. kakainis lang minsan. but that’s life. 🙂

          since my teacher feels she can’t teach us anything more, i’ve felt i know all there is to know about tap. at least here in the Philippines. and based on videos from youtube, it still isn’t much. there’s more creativity out there circulating that doesn’t reach here.

          30 – 40 is OLD??? I used to think that way until I stepped onto 30. It’s not the number. It’s having kids that make you old! Just kidding.

          • cato says:

            for someone who’s supposed to be in the field of dancing, late 30’s to 40’s is kinda old na. you’re not as limber as you were before. siguro choreographer pwede pa but for learning things.. in the arts, being that age is old na. and harder to learn new things. my mom’s always complaining about it. hahaha!

            I agree! I’ve been around dancers when I was in theatre and some of them were in their 30s. They all looked and moved great but that’s because they never stopped dancing or training. Of course they have complaints that all people have at that age but I think, because of the discipline of constant training, they are always ready to learn new things. But that’s in the theatre. And in my particular theatre group. People there are all crazy suffering for the love of it!

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