OK you got me. As much as I hate click-baity titles, damn it if they don’t get you to click. No, this isn’t a tirade about how we all need to stop being vain bitches. That would pretty much be followed by this entire blog and my closet imploding out of existence. Obvi, I care about how I look. Presenting myself in such a way makes me feel dynamic, seen, important, expressive, a whole bunch of other things that I try to unpack and examine on the reg to make sure I am doing these things just for me and for the right reasons. But as with all things, a balance is ideal. And that is exactly what I am trying to achieve on my “days off.”
What are my days off? You’re looking at it! Nothing on my face but sunblock and Burt’s Bees topped off with a mom bun. I actually spend a full day in public like this. I walk through the posh population of San Francisco on the way to my office like this. I do it at least once a week, and not for extra sleep. Well, maybe just five minutes…
So here’s just a few reasons why I go so unglam so often:
So I Can Spend My Mornings Momming
Most days, I am on a schedule with little wiggle room. I’m up at 6:45 so I can have some breakfast in peace then I start getting ready by 7:30. My husband’s alarm goes off at 7:50 so he can start waking up while I rouse my son at 8, put him on the potty, get him dressed, then send him into the kitchen where *hopefully* husband is ready to make him breakfast and generally keep him away from me with his can I touch this? can I touch this? how about this? while I finish getting ready to leave the house by 8:45 to catch my train. Nowhere is there an allotment of time for any actual, real interaction between me and the people I hold dearest in this world. And before you start getting all sad (or disgusted, whatev), it’s OK. I do have time for that. I work four days a week, I leave work at 5 on the dot, and I think we do our best to make our evenings and weekends count. But three mornings a week, all I wanna do is put my best face on and say yo world, check meowt.
That fourth day, though. I need that just as much. I need to wake up NOT thinking about what I’m gonna wear and what color lipstick will go best with it. My skin needs to breathe. I need to breathe. I need five extra minutes of Good Morning America and to actually finish my cup of tea. I need to wake my husband up with nuzzles. I need to ask my son what he wants for breakfast and actually give him time to say hmmmm in his little sing-songy voice instead of grunting DUDE CEREAL OR OATMEAL PICK ONE. I need to hoist him up on the counter so he can put his own slice of bread in the toaster and open the cabinet to spend three whole minutes looking for the peanut butter that is right in front of his little face. I need to actually stop my frantic running around and let my husband hold me for one god damn minute. Most importantly, I need to enjoy that.
Every woman can tell you that the reaction she gets from people, strangers and known associates alike, can be dramatically different depending on how “done up” she is that day. I suppose this is also true for men, but the sheer fact that “done up” for dudes requires far less effort means women have to work a lot harder to be visually validated. The thing that kills me about the idea of being a successful woman is this–You can have the education, the family, the house, the job. You can be a great friend. You can be an active and conscientious member of your community. You can be a god damn saint. But the ultimate cap to it, the cherry on top that is constantly dangling over our heads is the coveted phrase, “and she looks good doing it.” Watch any makeover show and you will see a woman who has every ounce of her shit together, making her the most deserving candidate of said makeover of course, but man does she officially “have it all” once she looks ten years younger.
Fuck that noise.
And having it all sometimes comes with a shiny face and sparse eyebrows. Which leads me to my next reason. The biggest weapon against the male gaze:
Comfort in My Own Skin
Challenging myself when it comes to my appearance is just something I like to do. I have a visceral experience of personal growth every time I push myself to do something slightly uncomfortable. And being seen naked-faced and slouchy-clothed is just that. It’s nice not to give a fuck on rainy days and it’s great to have extra time away from a fucking mirror and I may look completely comfortable, but it is totally a work in progress. I am not zen about it. But that’s the goal. I’m close. And even if the closest I get to zen is my current state of realizing my insecurities are illusions and my feelings aren’t facts, this is a good spot to be in. I invite you to join me.
In closing, I’ll say that my comfort isn’t every woman’s comfort and my situation isn’t every woman’s situation. Thank god I work in a casual business setting that will even allow me to look like this on a Tuesday. Thank god I have encountered a series of people and experiences that have shaped my confidence so that I can even entertain the notion of not wearing makeup in public when so many women feel completely obligated to get gussied up every single day. Bottom line, if you’re happy with your level of done up, keep it up. If you’re not, take a leap of faith and try something different. Life is too fucking short to keep doing things that don’t make sense to you. You’re worth the trouble of finding that zen, so find yours.