The sun was shining when I glanced down at my warming knee and started to laugh. I was kayaking so my knee was bent upwards and highly visible. Dozens of stubbly hairs were glinting in the morning light. They were all between one quarter and one half inch long and sticking out in all directions. How long had it been since I shaved my knees?
My legs, or at least the part below my knees get a quick whip, whip with the razor in the shower every couple of weeks. I never know how thorough the job is because I can’t wear my reading glasses in the shower to see what I am doing. And besides, my legs are covered with freckles, moles and other so called beauty/age spots that act as camouflage against any hair or stubble, which allows me to get away with it. But apparently my knees are often neglected even though I spend my time in shorts and skorts when the weather is warm. As for the rest of my legs, that can be iffy. And I never ever shave the jungle that is my inner thighs. No bikinis for me thank you.
I am not a girly girl. I have no desire to spend hours and hours trying to make myself look closer to all those women in magazines. There are so many other things that I would rather do. I would rather clean than primp and that is saying something because I really dislike cleaning. I am not saying that I don’t want to look nice. I like to look nice and I do check the mirror before I leave the house. I just don’t want to get too bogged down in the nitty-gritty of hair, makeup and shopping.
I can go months and months without going to a mall or clothing store. When I do go it is usually because I need pants or shoes or some other specific thing. And then it’s a nightmare. I have a high waist so things don’t fit well, and finicky feet so I look for specific features in shoes. There is nothing I hate more than being stuck in a dressing room after trying on ten pairs of pants only to find that none of them fit or wandering through the shoe store to find that none of the shoes on display have arch supports. I tend to find a brand or store that works for me and stick with it. I tend to wear things until I wear them out. I tend to focus on plain, classic and comfortable. I have no intention of always wearing what this year’s models are wearing. Did you know that the fashion industry is one of the largest polluting industries in the world second only to the oil industry? Believe me, I’ve done my homework on this.
When it comes to makeup and a beauty routine, again, I don’t want to spend too much time on this. I can rub on my CC cream, and my very-necessary concealer so I don’t get all those are-you-ill-dear questions, then add a bit a blush, powder, eye shadow and mascara in about five minutes if I have good light and my magnifying mirror. I take a bit longer for special events, which are very rare. I am not a morning person so doing this stuff quickly was important to my routine both before and after I retired. However, I am a little bit vain and I don’t want to scare people away so five minutes for the sake of humanity seems like a reasonable price.
What I don’t understand is the fetish over eyebrow curves. I have overheard more women discussing eyebrow curves than I have ever thought possible. And these weren’t short conversations. Some women are very adamant and judgmental about eyebrow curves. I do see my eyebrows in the mirror and will pluck two or three hairs a week when a they reach mad-scientist style. It is not a pleasant task. What I really don’t understand is why someone would pluck all of their eyebrow hairs out then draw in a new brow that usually looks like something from a children’s colouring book done in brown crayon or coloured pencil. Really, can someone explain the purpose of this to me? Are these colouring-book brows washed off at night? And does that creep one’s bed-sharing partner out? Just asking.
And then there is hair. I have thick wavy hair that does what it wants; so other than use a blow dryer, I give my hair a lot of freedom. It is currently long with silver streaks that I just love. Long is easier. Short hair would require daily washing and coiffing. Long hair only requires two washings a week and a quick brush in the morning. At home, I often wear my hair tied back, Jane Goodall style, which suits me fine. As someone with environmentally-friendly tendencies, I have no intention of ever dying my hair. I have no intention of ever putting those chemicals on my head every six weeks or so or being responsible for letting them run into the ground water, which is where they will all end up after you rinse them off. I know some companies are marketing more environmentally friendly hair dyes these days, but you can be darn sure that the process to make them is far from nature friendly. I also doubt that the entire ingredient list is naturally based. So when it comes to dye, I bow out. My grandmother sported the most beautiful head of naturally silver hair and I plan to follow in her footsteps.
I feel the same about fingernail polish. The last time my nails were painted was my wedding day over thirty-one years ago. It was more to give my mother something to do. I have since developed a stubborn conscience and will not touch the stuff. The chemicals that make fingernail polish are toxic. Remover is made to dissolve that polish. Think about that. Think about the environmental impact of this stuff. Again, even if there are so called environmentally-friendly versions of nail polish, the production processes are not. Then what happens once you remove it from your fingernails? Whether it is dissolved by remover or just peeled off, the remnants go into the waste and leach into the ground water.
So I am quite happy with my non-girly-girl status. It is something that works well for me and my strong opinions. I can still put on a nice dress and look good. I can still wear pink if I feel like it, although I prefer the darker shades over pastels. I occasionally wear a pair of pumps or a bracelet. But I am not interested in it being a life-long passion. I find it too time consuming and fluffy and shallow and wasteful and expensive. I save a lot of money not being a girly girl and a lot of wear and tear on my conscience.
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Photo: Jenn Stone