The Things we do to look nice….

You know, there are just some inequities in this world that make me mutter under my breath and shake my head in disgust. One that always gets my panties in a twist is the inequity between how men and women approach self-beautification. Oh, sure…it may very well be society’s fault that women are held to a different standard. It may even be our own fault for buying into that standard, but it’s still a major harrumph in my life. Until men suffer from having ANYTHING waxed in an effort to look more attractive, I don’t want to hear them complain about the burdens THEY carry in this area.

I recently took stock of some of my self-improvement rituals, and I’ve decided that the time has come to confront a few of these beasts of burden and see JUST how critical they are to me. The Critical Rating Scale ranges from 1-10; 1 being the least critical and 10 being a ritual that allows me to leave my bedroom every day. So let’s get started….

 * Alignment Issues: No matter how many times you see a man reach down to “adjust” himself, I’m still more than half convinced that they actually enjoy those special moments. I, on the other hand, have decided that I should invest in a laser level to help me get The Girls (lovingly named after those madcap gals, Lavern and Shirley) aligned every morning after they’ve been safely holstered. There’s nothing worse than looking in a mirror at the end of the day only to realize that Lavern has been in a perky mood all day, while Shirley has been a little down, so to speak.

Critical Rating: 5 Critical Rating on a Cold Day: 10 

* Brush Strokes: Makeup is a powerful force in a woman’s life. We are lured by promises of pearlesque skin, lips that beg to be kissed, and eyes that say “Come hither” with absolutely no shame. The sad truth is that no amount of foundation is going to disguise the fact that I’m a 40ish year old woman who still suffers from the teenage indignity of occasional blemishes. No artistic application of eye shadow will make my eyes anything other than a gloriously average brown. And no amount of lipstick is going to make my lips whisper an inviting “kiss me” while I continue to enjoy garlic as a condiment in my life.

Critical Rating: 4 Critical Rating on “Add a New Picture to My Profile Day”: 10

 * Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: When I was a young lady, I could confine my hair removal to the usual areas: legs, armpits, and eyebrows. As I age, I’ve noticed that the scope of work and time commitment involved has increased exponentially. I now do a daily once over to check legs, armpits, eyebrows, upper lip, and chin. I think it’s a cosmic conspiracy, frankly. Some poor man no sooner loses his hair than it immediately finds its way to a woman somewhere in the universe. It’s a sad thing. And it’s getting sadder. To help in this battle, I have a lovely Vietnamese woman who waxes stuff for me. Her promise is always the same, “I make you look like Pretty Woman, Ashee. You see. You be happy with me.” After the wax and hair has been cruelly RIPPED from my skin, she holds up the removal cloth like a trophy to show me that my $7 was well spent. A necessary evil? Yep. I never want earn the title “Stubbly.”

Critical Rating: 10 Critical Rating In Low Lighting: 9

I could go on and on. Pantyhose, high heels, underwire bras, perfumes that cost more some third-world countries, jewelry and accessories, matching ensembles, tone, texture, style…we have to consider them all! It’s not a thing for the faint of heart.

Now, on to men…when they roll out of bed in the morning, THEY never look like they should iron their face! They hop in the shower and emerge five seconds later smelling like Safeguard. A swipe of a deodorant stick, five more seconds with the blow dryer, a couple passes with a razor and *poof* they are done. The only remaining decision is which of their 50 gazillion tee shirts they’re going to wear with jeans. I think I hate them. I really do.

It’s exhausting being a woman in search of beauty. It’s expensive. And it’s also depressing because despite all the hard work, all the expense, all the hopes for success, you know darn well some smart aleck teenage Adonis is going to call you “Ma’am” and offer to help you across the street before the day is over. When he does? Step on his foot “accidentally” and tell him you poked your eye out with a mascara wand and couldn’t see well.