Originally I intended to write a very serious post about writing, but I’m not going to. Maybe next week. This week I rather talk about something else.
It all started when I was leaving Trader Joe’s. It was 8:43 on a Sunday morning and usually, with the exception of church -goers, nobody looks good in a market on a chilly Sunday morning. Those of you who are early morning shoppers understand this. Everybody is in sweat pants, their hair is barely combed, there isn’t an ounce of makeup to speak of. This is the only time I allow myself the freedom to leave the house looking like a hot mess. It’s okay because I feel like I’m with my people. Nobody is judging me because they look just as grubby as I do.
I usually don’t look at people closely when I am grocery shopping, but one woman caught my attention as I was loading my car. The first thing I noticed about her was neon green. No, it wasn’t in her coat or on her body but on her face. Her eyelids to be exact. Bright green eye shadow that was plastered up to her eyebrows.
Don’t judge, I warned myself. It was Sunday morning after all. Nobody looks good on Sunday morning.
Or in neon green eye shadow.
In that moment I was infinitely glad my youngest brother wasn’t with me. He always seems to know what I’m thinking and can’t keep his mouth shut about it. I know if he were there a myriad of jokes would have followed. It wasn’t just her face but the entire ensemble that kept me captivated. She wore a red velvet dress, the kind that Mrs. Claus would wear, only much shorter and Uggs. Not the knock off kind. The label was proudly displayed on the back. She wore a man’s jacket, her gray hair was loose and hung halfway down her back.
I’m ashamed to admit I couldn’t look away. It was like a beautiful wreck. She caught me staring, so I did the only thing I could think to do. I smiled and said, “Good morning!”
She smiled back warmly, returned my greeting and headed into the store. I finished loading my car and drove off, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the lady with the half neon green face.
She must like the way she looks. She must feel beautiful. Who am I to judge when I got a chemical burn the size of Rhode Island on my face.
Yes, I said chemical burn. I have a secret. His name is Fred and he visits me about once a month. Fred is my moustache. The only visible with a magnifying mirror and spotlight moustache, that nobody else sees but me. And in order to remove the eight tiny fine hairs that NOBODY else ever notices, I put hair remover on it. And left it on too long. That’s right, now I’ve got a peeling 2nd degree chemical burn around my mouth that is a heck of a lot more noticeable that my eight tiny hairs.
I walked into my school’s nurses office with my discolored, peeling face, begging for help. She looked at my with sympathy in her eyes and said, “Bless your heart,” and then proceeded to tell me about the time she rubbed iodine and baby oil all over her body and fell asleep in the sun, only to wake up to sun poison and blisters. Eeek!
I should be embarrassed to tell you all this, but I’m not, because I know I’m not the only woman in the world with this problem. Walk into any drugstore and you will see a substantial section devoted to women’s hair removal. And it’s not just hair removal that women go through to look beautiful.
How many of you have gotten a perm you regretted, or dyed your hair a color you can only find in a big box of crayons, or cut your own bangs, or plucked your poor eyebrows to oblivion? I have been the recipient of more than one bad brow waxing and have walked around looking surprised for the better half of two weeks. My mother’s hair once turned green due to an all natural hair dye.
Why do we women put ourselves through this? The days of corsets are gone but Spanx
and shapewear have taken over and if you’ve tried stuffing yourself into one of those things you understand the pain that goes into beauty. We get Botox and butt implants and lip implants, and fillers shot into our faces. We wear shoes that are so stupidly high we can barely walk in them and plaster our faces with makeup that damages our skin.
Is it for men? I honestly don’t think so. More than anything I think women dress for other women and ourselves rather than men. Because when you walk into a room of people you don’t know, every other woman there is sizing you up, taking in everything you have got on. Every woman does it on some level and I’m not suggesting it’s in a catty way, or that we’re all superficial. It’s just the way we are programmed. That’s why shows like the FASHION POLICE exist and red carpets and makeover shows. Searching for and dissecting beauty seems to be human nature.
Maybe writers are more prone to this, because by nature we are a more introverted group of people and therefore do more observing than participating.Always catalouging things, stealing bits of information to use in our writing. See I knew I could link this to writing.
Let me know what you think! Have you ever had a beauty blunder? Why do you think women go through all we go through? Ever use a person you saw on the street in your writing. Agree with my beauty rant? Disagree? Any and all comments are welcome.