October 27, 2009

how to be a girl

I have been traveling a lot lately, and inevitably the entertainment comes down to trashy magazines. My laptop battery is decrepit, I run out of new podcasts, and I need something more akin to cotton candy than whatever heavy, dense, fruitcake-of-a-book I happen to be reading (because, of course, it makes me feel good about my English-major-self to wade through books like this and check them off my list, but my attention span just isn't up to it). Enter: a glossy mix of celebrity gossip and fashion/personal care magazines.

They're fun and pretty and indulgent, but after flipping through two or three of them in a row, it starts raising all sorts of concerns in the far corners of my brain. For instance: I do not have a Skin Care and Beauty Regimen to speak of. The magazines declare this is a critical problem because, if I do not adhere to some sort of 5-step program, my skin will spiral into disrepair and LOOK OLD. Never mind the fact that it will, in fact, one day BE old--nasty, wrinkly, crone-face old--I never under any circumstances should look my age, and the time to moisturize is now. The magazines instill a sudden Sunscreen Paranoia I never knew I had. Usually I just wash my face when it starts to feel greasy; who knew that I was unwittingly propelling it even faster into the future?!

I can't even enter the Fashion arena because, a. even if I had the disposable income to spend on a purse with a four figure price tag, I couldn't bring myself to do it, because WHAT PURSE IS THAT AMAZING? and b. clothes are fun, and I like to look cute, but beyond that I am not terribly fascinated by the coming and going of trends.

Outcome of all this? I am a shoddy female. I probably spend the most personal care time on my hair, but that only happens every three days. I DO NOT SHOWER EVERY DAY (If that's a friendship deal breaker, I understand). I wear makeup, but usually when I'm forced out into the public. I hope my husband isn't too fond of the makeup, because if he tells me I'm beautiful too many times without it, I might just quit.

I guess this is where I'm confused: if all this "Personal Care" is really for myself, to make me feel good and for my own well-being, why is it so focused on what I present to the world? My (many) insecurities render me susceptible to how everyone perceives me, although I really really REALLY do not want to care what other people think about my hairshoesjacketeyeshadowrockhardabsjewelry. But I DO care, and I can't help it. We all do, even if it's just the slightest lack of confidence in one small area. And the glossy magazines are getting to me. Evidently there is all this stuff I should be doing, products and regimens to care about in the name of womanhood; an ever-expanding realm of personal care to be insecure about. I suppose there will always be some aspect of my body or appearance that I'm not whipping into feminine shape & order (And I don't even live in L.A., Manda- the body obsession must make you CRAZY).

Yeah, I'll be taking a break from the magazines for a while.


  1. Girl that is a HUGE can of worms. HUGE. LA is the most boiled-down, concentrated version of that crap expectation that you find in the magazines. There are just so few FAT people here. It's SAD. Not that I want people to be unhealthily overweight or something but JEESH. And I WILL digress into the whole "If I'm slightly overweight people automatically assume that I'm pregnant because it's LA and why ELSE would you be slightly overweight?!" thing ONCE AGAIN. GAAAAAHHHHHH.

  2. I know a GREAT Mary Kay consultant if you want one. :)

    But that being said, the one thing I have learned is that just because you take care of your skin does NOT mean that you are trying to defy the odds and look 30 when you are 80. THAT BEING SAID, most of our products are to lessen the effect that time has on your skin, and it's hard for sometimes for exactly the reasons that you listed. I don't care about aging skin... in fact, i welcome it. I think older women who have lived their life and are showing signs of it are BEAUTIFUL, and really, why would you want to erase that? But THAT BEING SAID... you tend to have fewer problems (acne and such) if you take care of your skin, and if you take care of your body. so... who knows. can you do it for yourself without getting caught up? I've lost about 15 pounds, and it's hard to not get caught up with the number, and oooo if i just could lose this belly I would look so HOTOTOTOTT. But I feel good. More energy. And that's what I am trying to focus on.

    I hope that this made sense. I am not going to go back and read it all because it's too long. :)

  3. Oh man, I feel the exact same way when I go to the gym...there is just something that creeps into your mind that makes you feel not good enough.

  4. Laur, I totally hear you- if you're doing all this stuff for YOU then I'm all for it- it's the external nudges/obligation that I get bogged down by. it's definitely important (well to me, i guess) to take care of yourself for health/family/children's sake.

  5. Brava, love this post. I know your reading list is long, but check out Eat, Pray, Love again or for the first time. It might be exactly what you need. Or Anne Lamott and Mary Kaar both have new books coming out. Cheers.

  6. i don't know if we can be friends, sans showers. just sayin'. ;)