Megan has been writing here about feminine maintenance and her own slap-dash attitude to it, and that reminded me of similar musings I was having today on a bus.
When I was a teenager, there was a brief period when I did at least try to read and understand the articles in Jackie magazine. Like Megan, I became aware that everybody is supposed to have a particular face shape, but could never work out what mine was, or what I was supposed to do about it. I managed to get to grips with eyeshadow and eyeliner, but lipstick and foundation and hair always went a bit wrong. I made a few vague attempts to master them, but mostly failed. I suppose these skills are supposed to come from mothers and sisters, but my mother was brought up in the countryside and educated by nuns and was far more interested in books anyway, and my sister made a point of looking the other way whenever I came near.
I didn't care much anyway. I liked myself for who I was, I had long ago accepted that I didn't fit in and was already starting to relish it. It wasn't long before I decided I was a lesbian, shaved my hair off and gave up on make up altogether.
But I had this vague idea that anyone could be beautiful, and one day I would get around to it too. I had a good figure, good skin and glossy hair. My chin, nose and ears were all too big, but a clever haircut and some cunning make up, a bit of attitude, a bit of style... were all I needed. And one day I would find them. Maybe I would go into a department store and get one of those make up girls to teach me about make up. Except that they all applied their own with a spade and looked universally dreadful. Or maybe I would find a book to teach me, or get a girlfriend who would take me under her wing. Maybe there would be a wedding day. Women always look beautiful on their wedding days. I'm not sure how, but maybe I would have a wedding and learn some lessons. Except I couldn't / can't be bothered with all that, and neither can my non-husband.
It was never a priority, I never got round to it, and now it's too late. The things that are wrong with me are permanent. Saggy, wrinkly, greying, fat, drawn, tired, haggard...
Yesterday the checkout man had a conversation with my 2-yr-old son about his nan. He meant me. It's not the first time it's happened.
OK, so hair can be dyed and weight can be lost... but the same problem exists as always did. I don't care enough. Hair dye only works if you reapply every time the roots come back, and I'm never going to be that on-the-ball. The idea of wasting my precious time on tedious beauty routines irks me. I don't even moisturise. Shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, eyeliner and mascara are the only items in my spongebag.
I can't think of an easy way to end this post other than with a faint shrug, so I will move onto the reason for my presence on a bus, which was a trip to the dental hygienist. Who are these people? Who would voluntarily do that to people all day long?
I can be very obedient when instructed by people with medical degrees, and I was there because the dentist told me to be. But WHY? I was stabbed and poked and prodded and made to bleed, and it was all thoroughly unpleasant. It HURT. And I felt thoroughly battered about, and for what? My teeth weren't decaying, they just had a bit of scale on them, and it was all sitting there quite happily. It wasn't causing holes. Indeed you could say it was providing an extra layer of protection. And surely it can't be good for your tooth enamel to be scraped like that with a sharp thing? Isn't it a bit like cleaning a non-stick pan by scraping at it with a fork? Here I was paying good money, giving up good time, to be attacked with painful pointy implements, and I hadn't even asked why. And nobody had attempted to explain it to me.
And what is all this dental hygienist business, anyway? Last time I got scraped and polished it was done by the dentist herself, and it was bloody ages ago.
"See you in three months," said the hygienist.
"You'll be bloody lucky," I muttered under my breath, and ran away very fast.
They do feel quite nice now though, my teeth. I'll give her that.
Dirty Ol’ City
16 hours ago