I love being a girl. I really do. I like all the trappings and the primping. I like getting dolled up and smelling good. I like the response I get to it, sure, but that is only a part of it. There is something heady and powerful about looking your best and feeling good about it. It is a uniquely female experience and no matter what those mirrors reflect back to us and what horrible things that inner bitch says, we have all had the high that comes from knowing you look your girly best (the additional appreciative male and envious female glances are a great bonus, too!).
There is something reassuring in the rituals of bathing and pampering. It is self-care and it feels pretty good. I remember reading 17 Magazine when I was a teen and trying out the honey masks and the beauty tips. I think I may have actually used mayonnaise as a conditioner and I know I have used egg, yogurt and oatmeal face scrubs and masks on more that one occasion. Funny thing is that I have not done that in years. I did that kind of thing when I was 15-25 – yeah, those years when I did not need to.
Now, at 40, it would probably do some good, but when the hell am I supposed to do it?! Well, maybe last night would have been an option, but it was only the 33rd time I had seen Shawshank Redemption (in addition to reading Stephen King’s original short story Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption probably twice that many times) and I just had to watch it again! I mean I found it on AMC at a really, really good part, too. But really, it was just after Ezra’s bedtime and after a full work day, a meeting with the manager of Ezra’s daycare (because my ex-husband is a drama queen – and Ezra is only 3! The next 15 years are going to be sooo much FUN!) and coming home and cooking dinner, all I could possibly muster the energy to do was lay on my left side and let the unborn son kick to his little heart’s content read the story notes about Shawshank (and fall asleep totally missing all of The Daily Show, dammit!).
I have night creams and eye creams and one prescription med for beating back the wrinkles time will inevitably give me (unless I die early, and given that is the other option, I will take the %$#&*^% wrinkles), but I rarely use them. Now, I do a quick oh-crap-I-have-to-be-out-the-door-in-5-minutes routine in the mornings that includes a quicky wash and a good moisturizer with sunscreen, but that is about it. Once every 2-3 weeks I do a manicure and pedicure (well, right now I am paying for the pedicure as I cannot breathe and paint my toenails at the same time and toenail painting does not fall into a category of husbandly chores Jay is willing to do).
I have lotions and potions to keep my elbows supple, my cuticles soft and my lips chap free. I have some nice lavender scented sprays for the evening that relax me and signal that aromatherapeutic end of the work day. I have a more energetic tea tree body wash and a minty and citrus spray that gives me a boost in the morning and can be as important as my coffee.
I will not even try and describe my makeup bag, but suffice it to say that I have plenty. I can use a little so it looks like I am wearing no makeup or I can do some light work-appropriate color OR I can go all out night-on-the-town glam.
Then there are the tools. The bowl for foot soaking and the PedEgg to rid my little feet of all those nasty calluses (calluses not good when snuggling up in bed with my man). The tweezers and razors. The sonicare toothbrush. The pumice stone and loofa. The nail brushes, face brushes, hair combs and brushes. The makeup brushes. The nail files and the cuticle trimmer, the buffer cube. And so on….
None of this even considers the shampoo, conditioner, various hair treatments, body wash, lotions and other things like mousse, hairspray, blow dryer, curling iron, pomades and shine creams that I use on a daily basis. Oh, and razor and shaving cream.
I think that is all. If not, I am fairly sure I do not want to admit anymore for fear of coming off as a bit neurotic and narcissistic. Ok, it may be a bit late for that. But I am not outside of the curve at all. As a matter of fact, I have had no office procedures (chemical peels, dermabrasion, etc.) and I have no prescriptions from a dermatologist (well, I do have one that was covered by my insurance, but I just could not bring myself to pay the $200 for Retin-A out of my own pocket when they told me it was not covered. However, should there be money left on my Flex Spending Account at the end of the year and I need to spend it or lose it, you bet your ass I am going to go get it). Nor have I had any botox or other enhancing procedures to include plastic surgery.
I am 100% au natural… I have all my original parts – including tonsils, appendix and gall bladder. I have never broken a single bone – not even a little toe. And have no, um, upgrades (to date).
But I am a girl and I have spent my fair share on looking good. And I have pared all this down in my old age. You should have seen the bathrooms of my late 20s and early 30s. I would love to have back all the money that I wasted on beauty products over the last 20 years. I could be in Europe on that money.
Jay, on the other hand, has a shampoo, a soap (sometimes bar, sometimes body wash), razor and shaving cream. He has maybe some eye drops, a fancy Hugo Boss after shave lotion (that I used to smell on him on a much more regular basis *sigh*) and one of those little trimmer deal-e-o’s with all the little attachments that guys need (some guys need this more than others. Unfortunately, the ones who need it the most never seem to have one, now do they?). Oh, and he has deodorant and a brush.
So, there you have a fundamental difference between men and women. I will let you draw your own conclusions. This difference led to my moving out of the master bathroom (and this post) very soon after we moved into our house. Jay loves that we have separate bathrooms. I don’t blame him.
One night upon my completing my bi-weekly manicure/pedicure during our Sunday night HBO shows (which includes foot soaking, callus removal, cuticle maintenance, toenail trimming, shaping, buffing and polishing and lots of Burt’s Bees Salve), Jay looked at me and said, “Oooh, that smells good. Wow, it takes a lot of work to have pretty feet, uh?” I just smiled and said yes. But inside I was thinking, “He said my feet are pretty!!”