Perhaps it was because, from the age of eleven, I was raised by a man—a man’s man, a manly man, all man, a man in full. Or, perhaps it is because my older sister was a tomboy and shares this strange proclivity of mine. Clearly, though, unlike my mother before me and the two gifts who share my double-X chromosomes, I am not a girly-girl.
Just as science has never been my thing, neither is glamour. I know—when you look at me, all dolled up and sassy looking, it’s hard to believe, (#sarcasmatitsfinest) but it’s true. If you happen to like what you see, know that what you see is a result of situational serendipity and nothing else. If anything, I often sabotage any worthwhile efforts to look good. I just don’t have the patience to try on clothes, to make a hair appointment, or to consistently participate in any kind of beauty regimen.
Take shopping. In an earlier post, I believe I firmly made my point regarding my animus toward the whole shopping experience. As it is presently the season to be jolly and empty out one’s bank account by purchasing gifts, I find that I detest shopping even that much more. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, and I love giving gifts, but the “shopping experience” is one that I prefer to practice with a click and a drag. As for clothes, I like nice clothes, and I have a serious penchant for shoes, but to actually enter a mall and weave in and out of retail establishments with the purpose of handing over my hard-earned cash for something I really don’t need, well, I would rather do just about anything else. A colonoscopy, perhaps.
Incidentally, would anyone care if I were to shove a shiv into the anorexic mid-section of the girl with the $250 blond highlights who greets me with, “It’s a great day to be at Hollister!”? Anybody?
Nah, just kiddin’.
Take my purse. No, really, you can have it. Unlike many of my contemporaries, I am not a purse person. I am not a pocketbook, nor a handbag person, either. To me, carrying a satchel, a bag, or any other repository for the stuff that I’ve collected or the crap that I think I might need is an anathema to my sensibilities. And it absolutely escapes me as to why any rational woman would spend more than $25 on a handbag, let alone schlep around with a Coach bag on her arm. I would just as soon carry my stuff—if I must carry stuff—in a Marsh grocery sack. The plastic kind. Not that I have anything against those of you who tote around designer bags—it’s just that I don’t get it. It’s a girly thing.
I also hate wearing makeup, but at my advanced age, it’s a necessary subterfuge. If I could hire that sweet man at Sephora to live in my spare bedroom and twinkle on in to my bathroom every morning to do my makeup, I would be happy to wear it, but to me, the process of applying makeup is a colossal pain in the ass. And I never know what shade of foundation I look best in—I have weirdly dark skin for a white girl of Anglo-Saxon origin—and when I’m standing in the midst of the L’Oreal aisle looking at the 9,768 shades of foundation available, no matter how brown I think it looks under the fluorescent lights at CVS, once I slap that business on my face, I look like Mary Pickford.
And I’ll say it—I’m not proud. I only have my hair cut twice a year. Can you tell? Of course, you can. My ends look like I chew on them. Ironically, though, I color my hair every other week. Notice I didn’t say, “I have my hair colored.” I said, “I color it.” And it looks like it. Do I follow the directions provided for me in three distinct languages tucked inside of the box of Clairol Nice-n-Easy? Nope. Do I scrub that shit into my hair like it’s Prell shampoo so that I don’t miss any gray roots? You bet. Is it evident? Most definitely. Yet each time (once in the summer and once in the winter) I do go to the hairdresser–and it’s never the same gal twice–she says, “Oh, you can’t tell that you color your own hair. You must be really good at it.” Do they teach that at beauty school? Lie to the client, flatter her, tell her that her DIY boxed hair dye looks good on her then she’ll be sure to come back to you for even more salon services? Seriously, I would have thought hairdressers would be more honest. According to the chart that hangs on the wall in Great Clips, having your hair professionally colored is rather expensive, ergo, more profitable for hairdresser and salon. So why do they lie to me?
Astonishingly, someone told me this summer that I had beautiful skin. I’m not sure what she wanted from me, or how much red wine she had to drink, or how many milligrams of Wellbutrin she was on, but I looked at her rather bemusedly and asked, “Really? What about my skin is at all appealing?” Because I really wanted to know. She gushed, “You have no wrinkles! And it’s so smooth! I just have to know– what’s your secret?” Oh, it’s a secret babe, an embarrassingly dirty, dirty secret. Did I dare tell her of the abject abuse with which I’ve plagued my skin in the half century I’ve been living inside of it? Do I tell her about how, when I was a teenager, I would pick at every zit on my face just so I could hear it pop, and if I didn’t hear it pop I’d get out a needle and make it pop? Do I tell her that I once let Becky pop the zits on my face in exchange for her letting me wear her elephant leg jeans? Do I tell her about how, in the summer, I would slather baby oil mixed with iodine all over my face and body then spend the next eight hours in the sun–every day, seven days a week, all summer long? Do I tell her that, even now as a grown woman with disposable income, I seldom wash my face before I go to bed? (Nor do I change into pajamas, but that’s an altogether different blog). If I have nice skin, I only have my parents to thank—it sure as hell wasn’t anything that I’ve done.
My only concessions to femininity are my paws and claws. To the wonderment of most of my friends, I get a mani-pedi twice a month. Why this and not simple, routine maintenance on my hair? The first reason for my mani-pedi fetish is that I am a nail biter—so much so that I will bite my nails down to the quick and then some. So now, because I am a grown woman with disposable income, I have artificial nails, which are much harder to bite. I know this because I still bite them, but when I bite, nothing bad happens. As far as the “pedi” of the mani-pedi regimen is concerned, anyone who knows me knows that I have an obsession with feet. Feet, by nature, are not man’s best feature; however, with a little tender loving care, feet can look pretty awesome. And mine do. They always have. I have pretty feet and I prefer that those around me have pretty feet, too. Did you know that I once broke up with a guy who had ugly feet? And from then on, I would not date anyone seriously until I had scrutinized each and every one of his piggies?
So here I am with my ironically dazzling self and my nasty nail biting habit (which is almost as bad as going to bed in your clothes and without washing your face) and my silent film era-looking makeup and Jerry Springer audience member hair wearing clothes that don’t fit me because I don’t try them on, carrying a Marsh grocery bag full of crap…
…walking around with some really pretty feet. You should see them.