Friday, August 4, 2017

Healthy Girlish Vanity

Aunt Helen's treatment for making me presentable was the wearing of gloves and a shady hat every time I went outside; and she insisted upon me spending a proper time over my toilet, and would not allow me to encroach upon it with the contents of my bookshelf.

"Rub off some of your gloomy pessimism and cultivate a little more healthy girlish vanity, and you will do very well, " she would say.

From My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

I suspect even we women of a certain age, especially we retirees, could use a little more "healthy girlish vanity." I do notice the temptation to let different little things within "my toilet," aka beauty routine or regimen, slide.

When I was maybe thirteen or fourteen I begged my mother to let me shave my legs. "Once you start, you'll have to do it every day," she warned. Still I wanted to do it, and eagerly did.

By the end of high school, I was keeping my nails polished at all times and loved that whole process.

Well, since now I never show my legs, I don't shave them except before a doctor's appointment, and I polish my nails about once a year! There are other things that I'm "hit or miss" with as well. 

Where is my self-respect?! 

Lately, my pierced ears have become a conundrum for me. I no longer want to wear earrings at home, or even to run casual errands. But on the other hand, I don't want the "holes" to grow over, or whatever they do, because I might want to wear my earrings sometime in the future. (I have oodles of earrings, but no reason to wear them.)

But I make myself put in my most casual pair of earrings, the tiny gold balls I've had since I had my ears pierced (in a doctor's office, by a nurse) the summer of 1972. And they don't look casual enough to me. Yet I'm not sure what style of earrings would look casual enough for spending every day in jeans and a t-shirt. I used to like my earrings to be noticed; now I want them to be nearly imperceptible. Well, much ado about nothing, and no doubt time will bring a resolution.

I so envy French girls whose first beauty regimens were/are taught them by their mothers and who were/are even taken to aestheticians to learn more about skincare, soaps, and makeup specific to their needs. My mother didn't seem to be inclined that way. Perhaps she thought I'd figure it out on my own. (I know she sometimes would say, "Dr. Spock says ...", which studying his 1946 book may have contributed to her largely letting me raise myself.)

But going back to today's quote, I do think a little healthy vanity might be just what I need these days. I'll have to see if I can do better in that regard: a little less reading, a little more pampering!

PS: If you'd like to see more of this vintage beauty publication, click here.

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