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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It would seem that I am a hag and didn't know it.

"Hi, Xenobia*," said the goofy jerk at the dry cleaner's.

I'm not Xenobia, which he realized, but not quickly enough to save my ego. He felt compelled to tell me how much I looked like his friend Xenobia, who happens to be the sister of a local public figure, who happens to be nearly seventy years old and looks like a man. He thought I was old enough to have a sister who's older than my parents...and looks like a man. I haven't seen Xenobia, but I have seen her sister and, while I'm not the prettiest person alive, I really don't think I look that bad. Or that old. Or that mannish, damnit. What a jerk.

Not that I care too much about my looks. Well, no more than any woman. Some days, I wish I was smarter or more employed, and others, I just wish I was prettier and had better clothes. But I digress. When I was in college, grunge ruled and we made a point of not being pretty. I didn't shave my legs** and I wore combat boots with granny dresses and mini skirts, when I wasn't wearing overalls and a tank top. Messy hair wrapped up in a rubber band ruled and I at least pretended not to wear makeup. My girlfriends and I wanted to prove that we didn't have to go out of our way to make ourselves attractive to men (oh, the folly of youth!) The whole look was supposed to scream, "NOT SEXY!"

Which is why I felt mildly annoyed at a local bar the other night (Hint: The name is kind of like "Aerial Platter," but not.) The waitresses there were rocking my college look, but all wrong. They had the ugly plaid mini skirts and boots, but they had added tons of makeup, hair gel and, in several cases, fake boobs. It seemed so hypocritical, tarting up grunge that way. Of course, I didn't really care. I'm not so old that I don't know that every generation will do their own thing, fashion wise. And I was probably a teensy bit jealous of the fake boobs; I'm not that brave, but it sure would be nice to have those.

I did want to tell them that they didn't have to try so hard. It's true what your mother said, by the way,

"Just be yourself and you'll have plenty of friends! But put on a little lipstick. You look washed out."

Every time I tried too hard to be something I wasn't, I ended up with a boyfriend or friends I didn't really like. I don't blame them, either, because I made every effort to seem like I was their sort of person. "Be yourself." "Remember who you are." "Act natural." However you want to put it, your mother was right. She was right about the lipstick, too. You do look washed out, just a little.

At the end of my grunge phase, when I was headed into my garish lipstick and high heels phase***, I went on a camping trip with a bunch of people, including a boy I liked. I'm so not a camper and one of the best things about my husband is that, like me, he will only camp at a Westin or some place even nicer. I love him. And I love the Westin. Anyhow, at some point during the trip, Outdoorsy Boy caught me surreptitiously putting on lipstick, just like my mama taught me. He was merciless, ignoring my protests that the color was called "Twig," hardly a color at all, and was made by MAC and had never been tested on animals. He was nice enough, but all wrong for me and I should have known it right then. Be yourself, and you'll end up with someone who's just right for you. Try and be someone else and you'll end up with their boyfriend, who, no matter how attractive, you do not want. But put on a little lipstick. It really will brighten up your whole face.

Namasté, y'all!

* Name has been changed because I live in a small town.

** Correction, I experimented with not shaving my legs. That counts, right?

*** Which I'm still in, by the way.

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