First and foremost, I hope none of you were feeling particularly young and vital tonight, because I would hate to rain on your optimistic parades. I’d love for you to keep thinking you have your whole lives ahead of you and that time is nothing but an esoteric construct and that age is nothing but a number.
Unfortunately, I can’t let this go. LOOK AT BINDI IRWIN, you guys:
That photo makes me feel like this:
Secondly, and less importantly, I live my life as a woman in blissful ignorance. I don’t color my hair or get bimonthly eyebrow waxes or own sexy gym clothes (which makes sense, considering I don’t have a gym membership). Most of the time, I just simply cannot be bothered.
However, this week, in preparation for OPERATION AUCTION GALA: DEFCON 1, I’ve spent more time and money on my physical appearance than I have in the last three years post-wedding combined. This is partly because I want to look like I at least come from the same planet as the mothers who will be in attendance. This is also because I found myself absentmindedly twirling my own mustache like an devious villain the other day and that was just about the only wake-up call I needed.
Since Monday, I have had my brows threaded and my upper lip waxed, and I’ve gotten a spray tan in an effort to look less like a tragic translucent shut-in on Friday when I wear that lacy teal human sausage dress. And while I was doing it – getting hot wax ripped off my face and waiting for the aesthetician to bring me a tissue for my weeping eye, and standing topless in front of the stranger I was paying to airbrush dye onto my body – I kept thinking to myself, without irony and with total sincerity, “It’s so nice to take care of yourself.”
I will be honest now and admit that my legs look awesome with some living color to them and I feel less like a scowling man with my new bare lip. I am glowing like the California Gurl everyone not from California expects us all to be. With the temperature in the low eighties this afternoon, I drove my new tan through In-N-Out for a strawberry shake and some fries and felt so cool.
However, despite enjoying the fruits of my grooming labors, I spent the last few hours having deep thoughts and now I am also troubled by my brief and fleeting encounter with “taking care” of myself. I’m not suddenly horrified that women are held to absurdly high beauty standards or that there is an inequity in how much work women are required to put into their appearances when compared with the effort required of men. That’s old news and, I think, a universal that annoys everyone. What I am newly horrified by, because I am basically never a participant and this experience is fresh, is the expectation that as women, we are to put our dignities aside on the regular (like, say, every two weeks) in order to complete some prescribed round of “beauty treatments.”
Simply put: I am a grown up who cried while getting her face waxed by a stranger in public yesterday. When I actually consider how stupid that is, I am blown away.
Riddle me this, dude readers: when was the last time you exposed yourself to a stranger and allowed them to a) tear hair out of your face/arms/legs/crotch, or b) squeeze the blackheads out of your skin while remarking on how many there are, or c) spray your naked body with a cold chemical tanning mist? I’m guessing probably never, unless you’re a porn star or the experience was a one-off. (Either way, do tell! I wanna know all about it.) There is no giant churning fashion/beauty industry expecting this embarrassing shit of men, and that upsets me. I’m an equal opportunist – if you expect me to humiliate myself with regularity, you better be willing to do it yourself.
So, male fashion magazine publishers of the world, until you’re getting the most sensitive parts of your body waxed every three weeks, I’m going to pretend I don’t even know what waxing is (well, until my villainous stache grows back, that is). As far as I know, “the Brazilian” is a car wash invented in South American, or that guy I dated in college who would only come over at night.
(Incidentally, my husband’s only opinion on the spray tan is that I “smell like soy sauce” and that that is “not good.” It would appear that I married someone I can impress just by not smelling like a condiment. Win, win!)