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At the beginning of my career, I began volunteering, and then proceeded to get hired for an M.P. It was a wicked introduction to the world of politics, and its inner workings. The M.P that I worked for was a genuine soul, who actually wanted to do some good for his adopted country. One of the other ladies in the office used to show up with wild nails and matching nail polish, she was one of those women who screamed out, I am wearing every fashion trend, but I am 10 years behind. Our boss tried in his own unique way, to break it to her that most of what she wore, was completely inappropriate for the office. One morning, she looked at me, and said “you need more colour, you need to stop looking so proper.” She and I were only 5 years apart in age, but a world of sensibility apart. My parents from an early age made nail polish a banned substance, so I had never worn it, ever. My boss heard her giving me a lecture about colour, called me into his office and gave me a lecture. He calmly told me “Don’t ever come into an office with polish unless it is clear or neutral…if you want to be taken seriously, nail polish stays home and is for weekends and vacations” So I walked out, not understanding what the significance of the discussion was. It wasn’t until a year into working at Foreign Affairs that I had a discussion with a woman who was high up in the U.N, and coincidentally a friend of my Father’s. I asked her about makeup and nail polish, she bluntly said “women who draw attention to themselves by wearing loud makeup and colourful hands, plunging necklines and short skirts, are not seen well by other women. If you are pretty, play it down, don’t give a reason for another woman to stab you in the back. Men don’t care, but women do, distractions are not diplomatic.” Harsh, yes, true – probably, so I had never worn nail polish, but during my mat leave, I decided to go wild and try a little colour! I feel liberated! So for all those years of banned polish and proper sensibility, I am wearing a dark purple on my hands, to be taken off for Monday’s presentation, but will enjoy it over the weekend.