When it comes to women and beauty….. well, we all have some baggage. The bags under my eyes are just one example. I might also mention the bags of unused beauty products — samples, giveaways, and just plain mistakes — lurking at the back of my closet.
On a more positive note, what about those glamorous shopping bags that you see in the movies, or in paparazzi snapshots, or on the street, dangling from the delicate wrists of impossibly gorgeous (and probably rich) women? I always fantasize about what is in those bags — sparkly clothes in smooth, swishy, luxurious fabrics, of the sort that I would never buy because, well, I’d spill coffee on them.
But of course, for most of us, you don’t have to dig too deep to find the real baggage. The sister or best friend who was prettier than you. The hair that was too curly, or too straight, or too “ethnic,” or Just Not Blonde Enough. The varied features that weren’t acceptable in your particular town during your particular era.
For many of us, there are cruel nicknames lurking in those bags. Anybody who ever had a weight problem knows what I’m talking about, but my personal problem wasn’t that, per se. I just had an unfortunate combination of geeky glasses, hair with a stubborn wave that I didn’t know how to manage, clothes that never fit quite right, and body fat that clung to weird places. This went on for several years, and the bottom line was this: during a very formative time, the only attention I ever received for my appearance was when boys went out of their way to tell me how ugly I was.
I know that, compared to many, my baggage was minor. But even after I moved out of the awkward stage, got contacts, and truly believed that I looked ok, I still never quite believed it when I received any kind of male attention. Most young women learn how to spurn unwanted advances — a fairly essential skill. On the rare occasion when I actually noticed or believed that I was receiving such advances, I was too giddy and flattered to employ defensive maneuvers. Fortunately, I did learn, eventually. Nowadays the only attention coming my way is mostly from men at least 15 years older than I am. Does it still make me absurdly pleased when it occurs? Why, yes. Yes, it does.
I keep hoping that, as I age, the wisdom will suddenly kick in and I will no longer be so vainly ridiculous. But….. still waiting.
Meanwhile, I just keep juggling those bags. I shove them in the back of the closet, only to take them out again, open them up to see what’s in there, reshuffle the contents and then put them back.
My makeup collection has expanded from one tiny bag into three large ones. When I travel, I have (almost) reached the point where my beauty items fill one carry-on sized bag. (Ironically, though, I can’t carry it on, because now beauty products are relegated to those inhumanly small 1-quart ziplock bags. Just one more example of how the terrorists win!)
But I do have faith that, someday, I and all other women across this great land will — in one moment of great sisterly strength — set our bags down on the curb and leave them there.
But I’m gonna smuggle some concealer in my pocket.