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Mascara, Bras, Tweezers and Pain

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“Beauty is pain.” My grandma uttered these words to me as I watched her struggle into a pair of pants in the late 1980’s. She was wearing, from the inside out, on top, a bra, a camisole, a silk shell, a lace blouse and a wool jacket. On bottom, from the inside out, underwear, a girdle, panty hose, a silk slip, a wool skirt and an a pair of high heals. She spent an hour in the bathroom, time starting after the shower ended. She came out of the bathroom in a cloud of Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion, backlit by the vanity lights over the sink, and she looked like a movie star. She grabbed her “pocketbook” and headed towards the door, determined to outshine everyone else. Now, Grandpa, on the other hand, had a very different experience in the bathroom. Fifteen minutes, start to finish, including shower, shave, and getting dressed. Here’s what he had on an undershirt, underwear, socks, shirt, tie, jacket, pants and shoes. He looked dapper, like a Rat Packer. He spent the next 50 minutes downstairs, watching the Playboy channel, waiting for Grandma.

The point? Women have a deep-seated need to be beautiful, and many, many of us were not born naturally beautiful. “Maybe she’s born with it … maybe it’s Maybelline”. It’s Maybelline, Cover Girl, L’Oreal, Clinique, and thousands of other cosmetic companies, out there making millions of dollars making women beautiful. I used to work in the cosmetics department of Walgreens, and almost daily I’d have little old ladies ask me what product would make their skin smooth again, or what hair dye will look natural, or how to cover those brown spots on their hands. We have to be beautiful, or we will be less of a woman. We dye our hair till it splits, we tweeze the shit out of our eyebrows, and we wax our bikini lines, and wear contacts in our eyes. “Beauty is pain”. We shave our legs, paint our toenails, pierce our ears, perm our hair, use facemasks and exfoliate every inch of our bodies. Some of us, though, abuse the privilege. Example: Tammy Fay Baker, rest her soul, she abused a substance called Mascara. God only knows how many coats that woman would subject her poor, tired eyelashes to. I think she did it on purpose, so when she cried (every show) she would only loose the first three coats.

There was a woman I read about a couple of years ago who went in to have lipo, and never came out. They literally lipo’d her to death. There is another woman they call the “Catwoman”, she has had so much plastic surgery that there is no original skin on her face. She’s gotten so many face lifts that the skin on her face used to be on her chest. I wouldn’t be surprised if they transplanted her nipple from her cheek back down to her chest. Then there are the Botox-ers. I’m not sure what Botox is, but I’ve heard that it is snake venom. It numbs up your face and smoothes out wrinkles. You know, the wrinkles you earned, laughing and crying and living. Why get rid of the crows’ feet around your eyes? They are laugh lines, you got those smiling and laughing. They let people know that you loved and were loved. Go ahead and Botox those frown lines, or the scowl lines between your eyes. They tell people that you are unhappy, and don’t enjoy life. Not that I’m judging anyone.

You know when you see an actress in a movie that looks like she’s not wearing any make-up? Well, it took anywhere from two to three hours to make her look like that. After Jennifer Aniston had her haircut into the now famous “Rachel” do, millions of women flocked to their hairdressers, begging for a “Rachel”. It was a cute cut, but it probably cost Jennifer Aniston $1000. And every time she left the house, she had to pay a stylist to “do” her up. Most of us don’t have $1000 to waste on a haircut, and we can’t afford to pay a stylist to do our hair. How weird would that be? Everyday, getting up three hours before work, sitting in the make-up chair for one hour, hair chair for one hour and the last hour with your stylist deciding what you were going to wear. Some people would think that would be great, but I don’t agree.

“Beauty is pain”. Well, yeah, it is, but we are women, hear us roar. Mee-ow!


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