After hitting the speed bump at sixty, being seen out and about without all my makeup on and my hair perfectly coiffed [is that a great word, or what?] no longer seemed to matter so much. Here in my neighborhood at least. The days of knowing I'll run into some guy I've been dying to date [and vice versa] are so over. The last time I had a guy in my house it was for a wellness check. I kid. He was checking for a gas leak.
I simply save the war paint and styling for important things, like lunchtime meetings in fancy offices in the city, where you don't want to be mistaken by the guards for a bag lady who stole somebody's computer.
Of course, in the end, it ain't the guys you have to impress, it's the women. They're tough as Nancy Grace after a verdict. Some bitch recently asked why I hadn't had a facelift yet. Not that I looked bad, but think of the improvement. [Note to self: don't start conversations in Jiffy Lube.] At a party another babe had to show me where Botox could do me some good, tracing the myriad "character lines" that form the Mariana Trench in my forehead.
It occurred to me that I may have taken this no makeup, bad hair, casual dress thing a little too far, when I stopped to chat this AM with a neighbor as I waited for a cab to the train for a meeting downtown. To set the scene, I was wearing clothes that didn't have a Carhartt label and my shoes had no treads. Meanwhile, she kept staring at me as we discussed her trip to pick blueberries in Michigan. More accurately, I was telling her about MY trips to pick blueberries in Michigan. Her kids began staring too, when they came outside to join us. They stood a couple of feet below me, looking up, eyes wide, mouths open, the way kids do when you're a complete stranger they've never met before. Or just someone they can't place. You could be the woman next door, but something's very different.
When there was a lull during my monologue, their mom said, "Oh, you've got makeup on. You look nice."
There it was, the unfinished sentence. "You look nice..." Did she mean I didn't look nice those other times? Who am I kidding, of course she did, but not so much in a bad way. Just an acknowledgement of how we all use our yards and driveways as extensions of the inside of our homes, like Tony Soprano wearing that raggedy robe outdoors to get the paper. Or clipping your toenails on the front steps.
But mostly, it's the uncombed hair and lack of makeup thing that I have taken to heart. Along with wearing outfits I swipe from the Goodwill bag when everything else is dirty. [However, no matter what pair of paint-stained shorts or faded softball tee I'm sporting, I always wear a bra. I'm 67. Enough said.]
Where was I before getting sidetracked with a visual of the pendulums swinging? Oh yes, Wearing make up. Combing hair. Or not.
After surprising my neighbor with my great facepaint job while impersonating a woman yesterday, I woke up today and decided that from now on, do the hair and makeup. No matter what. No matter where. Hair and makeup and maybe use the Tide stick and get rid of that stain on the front of my blouse. Or, here's a thought, how about a clean blouse? I can do this.