Only ten years ago, as a dewy 24-year old, I used to roll out of bed, splash cold water on my face, throw on some clothes, and head out the door. I didn't have any kind of beauty regimen because looking radiant seemed to come naturally at that age-- even if I'd gotten drunk and slept only two hours the night before. This morning, as I shelled out big bucks for Oil of Olay Night Firming Cream, I realized that there are a number of things I do now that never crossed my mind in 1995, like:
-- Wear Make-up
-- Dye my hair
-- Whiten my teeth
-- Use various anti-aging creams
-- Worry about how haggard I'll look if I don't get enough sleep
-- Monitor intake of calories through Weight Watchers online (A great program by the way: if you do what they say, you WILL lose weight while still enjoying food, and the little graphics are so cute).
-- Wonder whether I should have my eyebrows professionally shaped
All this stuff takes TIME, MONEY, and MENTAL ENERGY. Maybe I should blame the patriarcy as Twisty Faster advises. I tend to blame my own vanity, but maybe Twisty's right. A lot of these new pre-occupations began around the time I hit 30. I once heard Howard Stern opine that the ideal time to catch a woman is when she's in her early 30s, because that's when she's starting to get nervous. I must have started getting nervous.
I've had a post rolling around in my head for a while called "On Once Having Been a Cute Girl," but I've been nervous about writing it. I don't know if I will, or not. It's kind of a wierd thing to write about -- I know it's something I could never talk about with anyone I know. But I think being considered, or having once been considered, attractive (at least according to conventional standards) has had an effect on who I am -- an effect on how people relate to me, and a corresponding effect on how I view the world and my place in it. It will be interesting to see how my self-image, or the image people have of me, might change as I grow older.