Having friends that were ?model perfect,? while I was finding my footing as a person, gave me an early education on the art of being Manhattan pretty. My skin was always flawless and perfectly made up, nails manicured and buffed, and my hair was always cutting edge, but stylish. You learned to comparison shop at Saks and Bloomingdales for cosmetics and find cutting edge designers by asking other women who they were wearing. As far as jewelry was concerned, if it didn?t come in that powder blue box, I didn?t want it!
I remember back when I was in my twenties, having a ?I am women, hear me roar moment,? a friend and I showed up at our favorite bar (in the afternoon, of course) while we were waiting for our clothes to finish at the neighborhood laundromat. We were sans make-up or any other kind of cosmetic enhancement. I?m not even sure if my hair was washed. My thick glasses made my eyes, which were my best feature, look tiny.
The bar regulars, looked at us differently after that afternoon. All of a sudden, we became real people to them, and attainable. We had more conversations and more propositions that Saturday night, than ever before. It made me start thinking, about women, beauty and how we perceive ourselves, and what men think.
Here are some useless conclusions:
– Only married women wear flats. You should get married for that reason alone.
– A smile is a weapon, a smirk is a statement and an expression of amusement is a conversation getter.
– Men love women with long hair. Until they notice your hairs are in everything.
– Men love lipstick with an orange tinge. Women love lipstick with a pink or purple tinge. I?ll be darned if I know why.
– Men will always look at beautiful women first. It?s your job to make them think you?re beautiful all the time.
– Needy is not pretty look in a man or a woman.
As I got older, married and had a career, I didn?t want to look beautiful and attractive (except to my husband.) I wanted to look competent and respected. Light make-up and glasses, practical shoes and plain hosiery, clothes that hid my cleavage and my knees became my daily uniform. I too, took up the cult of the pants suit. It was a practical, you can go anywhere look, which took me from board room conferences to staff meetings, from client meetings to upscale restaurants.
I thought my obsession with beauty was over. Little did I know, it was hiding in wait, like a butterfly in a cocoon. Well, actually, more like a a very hungry hibernating bear in a cave.
I have hit that certain age in women where lines and wrinkles are beginning to form and I find myself spending just as much on cosmetics as I did when I was a twenty something. Except now, they?re called ?cosmeceuticals? and their purpose is to hold back the effects of aging.
It?s a good thing I gave up designer shoes. Beauty is not cheap.