Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Relying On My Personality

The other day, I was looking in the mirror and I thought that I really should start wearing makeup. The thing with me and makeup is that I had a friend in high school who used to take two hours a day to get ready for school and a large portion of that time was applying makeup.

I told my friend Amanda about this and she was horrified. "You mean," Amanda said. "She looks at herself in the mirror for two hours every day?!"

It seemed like the height of vanity and I had a bad attitude about this. Especially since most of the girls I knew who were consumed with fashion and makeup seemed to have very little else to offer. Plus, the whole thing with makeup, I find, is that it's all about the re-applying. Makeup WEARS OFF, practically from the first moment you put it on. So the whole rest of the day is spent obsessively looking into mirrors to make sure that pieces of my face didn't rub off.

I realized the other day that I am the opposite of the girl who relied on her looks and never worked on her personality. When I had just graduated college, I had my wisdom teeth pulled and I went to work anyway with a swollen face and wearing an ugly white sweatshirt with orange cuffs and collar. I remember pulling on that ugly sweatshirt and thinking that I wanted to look as bad as I felt.

That day, a new guy came to work. A really cute new guy. We all hung out after work together and when things were winding down, the guy asked me out. I was stunned. You mean, I can look like a slob and cute guys will still like me? Wow. Only in New York! (By the way--this would NEVER happen in Westchester. They like their girls made up, with long colored nails and wearing tight mafia-wife type sweatpants.) (And yes, whenever I mention New York, I am not talking about the state, but THE CITY.)

When this happened, it was just positive reinforcement for bad behavior, because I hardly ever took pains with my appearance again. I mean, I brush my hair occasionally and wash my clothes, but I have twisted open a mascara wand less times in the past ten years than I have fingers and toes.

It doesn't help that EVERY MAN I've ever dated has not cared (or noticed) whenever I put on makeup. In actuality, the only people who care seem to be other women. At my wedding, my mother-in-law turned to me and said, "You're so BEAUTIFUL when you FIX YOUR FACE!" I took that as a compliment.

It's only recently that I've thought perhaps I should put a more presentable face to the world. It's probably my age. Although it's kind of funny to still get mistaken for a teenager, perhaps it's not such a good thing. I should look my age and do all the things my mother wished I would do--like fix my hair and not look slovenly. Oh! And lose that last bit of weight. So I went shopping with my sister today for grown-up clothes and I bought a suit. The thing is, that I'm between sizes, so a size 12 was a little too big, but a size 10 was too tight to be comfortable. At one point, I looked at my sister and said, "Honestly, which one looks better? Because I can't figure it out. A little too big? Or a little too tight?"

"Uhm. Well, I think the best thing to do is for you to lose five pounds so you can look really good in a size 10."


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