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Monday, January 13, 2014

Why don't you put on a little lipstick

I went to a fantastic event this past weekend.  It combined a trinity of my favorite things. Art, wine,  and friends. As I get older I prefer this kind of event to just going out.  Well, who am I kidding. I don't "just go out" anymore.  I need to have a reason. Going out takes a lot of preparation. First, if possible a nap.  I can't be expected to be up past 10 if I haven't had an extra hour of sleep.  Secondly, a babysitter.   As I was getting ready I was thinking about my college days.  It would usually be a group of girls and around 9 PM we would all start getting ready, listening to music, contorting our bodies over each other to get the best light in the one good mirror in the apartment.  Changing our outfits two or three times, stopping by an ATM on the way.  We wouldn't usually arrive to our destination until after my current bedtime.

A lot has changed.  I have to schedule my shower between making dinner, giving baths, wiping a butt, fixing a lego airplane that fell apart and being the referee in the constant battles that occur between 4 boys.  So what should take me an hour takes me three.  What hasn't changed is the numerous outfit changes but for different reasons.  If any article of my clothing makes me look even the slightest bit pregnant, I can't wear it.  If it poofs anywhere it shouldn't I can't wear it. If I'm showing too much cleavage, I can't wear it.  Too much leg, can't wear it.  I have always loved fashion, but all of these restrictions make my only option: black.   I still hit the ATM but its usually on the way home to pay the babysitter and outrageous amount that makes me re-think my career path.

I could wear a ball gown and my son's wouldn't notice but if I wear lipstick they always make sure to tell me how pretty I look. I could have only a bathrobe on and wear lipstick and they would immediately take notice.

Thankfully this event was themed with the art and we were asked to wear black and white. So I fit right in.  My husband had left early, and the first skirt I tried on was too short. The second made me look 3 months pregnant and the last was perfect.  Except for the back zipper part.  It was fitted so I couldn't zip it and spin it so I enlisted the 2 older son's to help me.  After a lot of sweat, a broken toothpick (long story) we got it zipped.  Sometimes I wonder what memories they are going to suppress and at the worst time as an adult remember. They deserve at least a few pro-Bono therapy sessions for all the  help they have given their mom with my numerous wardrobe malfunctions.

When I arrive I immediately take notice in other women's outfit choices. I know it takes effort whether you have kids or not.  But what is weird is that women are the hardest not only on themselves but other women.   Women are mean.  Mean in a way that would make a grown man cry if he ever experienced it. A woman may compliment you to your face and immediately make fun of you as soon as you turn around.   Women like to compare themselves to other women and hope they win.   We have all had fashion misses,  I'm all about expressing oneself, but their is a BIG difference between expressing and exposing.

I have mentioned previously that I have had a heck of a time with female friendships.  A couple friendships have ended very badly.  When I look back as to why, it was always about a guy.  But even as a married woman, with not one but four dependents plus a dog, I can somehow give the wrong impression. The impression that I want your husband.  I can assure you that even if your husband looked like the late great Desi Arnez I would not try to move in and snatch him.  I have more sausages in my cart than a Ball Park vender.

I often wonder why women view each other as competition. What are we competing for? If she is thinner than her, does that make her more of a threat? To what? If anything my husband would leave me for a heavier woman because at least he would know she was a good cook.  Ut-oh, maybe I should be worried.  Back in college, girls were looking for guys, I understand the competition, but now my race is over.

This year I'm trying to not judge other woman in an effort to make myself feel better. I'm super guilty of this.   A perfect example of this was the Golden Globes wrap up today.  Women's images put side by side in competition as to who wore it better.  I bet each of those women dieted, spray tanned, worked out and tried their hardest to look their best.  To be publicly humiliated and voted on is no different then the girls at the junior high table whispering about your new Guess overalls. (Yes, that wound is still fresh)  But now, with the internet they can do it autonomously.

Rather than judging each other, acknowledge the work and thought that each of us put in just trying to look our best.  Our best is enough and I think men sometimes forget to tell us that.  And we have to ask, and then we get mad that they didn't notice without you asking.   I was in a grocery store on a Sunday morning and two old ladies passed each other decked out in their Sunday best.  They stopped their carts, and told each other they looked fabulous. No joke. I felt bad that I was in my yoga pants.  They get it. They know that sometimes just acknowledgment on our efforts makes us feel beautiful.

Before I left, Jack asked me if I was wearing lipstick, I said yes and immediately he told me I looked pretty. I later found out that Don had told them that if I have lipstick on, they should give me a compliment.   If that is the only lesson they learn to make a women feel good, then they are on the right path.... because it worked. 


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