Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More Than a Pretty Face

Have you ever noticed that you've been doing something consistently, maybe daily - but you don't even know you were doing it until the day you stop?

Every morning when I wake up and trudge to the bathroom to start the grooming process, I stand before the mirror and take a look. I spend a few seconds evaluating what position, height or smooshiness my hair decided to form itself into during my sleep. Ponder any puffiness or pillow lines in my face. Then wonder to myself, "Am I pretty enough for a husband to love?", "Is this a face a man would be happy to wake up to each morning?"

I have no idea when I started doing that. My gut says it began about the time my relationship with Mr. Burns ended. Maybe it was way before that.  Perhaps it has something to do with my brother glaring at me across the breakfast table, years ago on a weekend visit, when I had short, layered hair which tumbled and hovered all about my head by morning, and saying, "Sheesh, I feel sorry for the man who will have to wake up next to you."

But each morning, after sizing myself up, I have determined, "Yes, I'm pretty. Someone should feel fortunate to see this face each day."

Back in my 20s when I was still optimistic on first dates, if I liked the guy, I would take a moment to assess if his was a face I would want see across the dinner table every day for the rest of my life. (it was not so much about how attractive he was, just if I liked his face. Because admit it, there are faces you don't want to see across from yours every day!) I guess I assumed they did the same to me.

Well, about a week ago, I stumbled to the bathroom one morning, studied the mirror for a second before thinking, "Who cares? It doesn't matter."

That may sound like success.  But it was when my BFF said, "Good for you!", that I realized, no, it's not success. It's not progress. It's something more like despair.

It felt more like, "If there is never ever a day in my life that I get to wake up next to my husband, what does it matter if my face is pleasing?"

Imagine there's a lovely painting that went straight into a dark dusty attic before ever having an audience, then the house burns down and no one ever got to appreciate it. Does it matter how pretty it was? What care the painter put into each brushstroke? Nope. It's a painting that never fulfilled it's destiny. Calling it a shame is generous. What you mean is that it never mattered.

It doesn't matter. Who cares?

That's one of the things that I struggle with in just my daily life. Everywhere I go, I see couples. Out to lunch, at the mall, even driving down the street. Most places I see couples, I wonder what brought them together. Did they simply find each other attractive? Do they ever even discuss the wonder of God's gifts to the world? Have they ever even been to church together? Do they visit the elderly? Volunteer at the city mission together? Then why do they deserve to have a companion in life?

Of course, I know attraction has to do with more than just the physical. But I also realize if a man is ever going to fall in love with me, he'll have to find me attractive first.

I don't like to admit this, but sometimes I look at couples and find the wife to be frumpy or homely and it just makes me frustrated. If I'm doing my job of looking good enough, and being dismissed - how did Ms. Frumalump over there get a husband? Hey, I'm not proud of these thoughts - but there they are. It possibly has to do with the emphasis my mom put on always looking my best. As though it's disrespectful to thrust yourself into society without a bit of blush and lipstick. It's just common courtesy to be put together. Why wouldn't you look your best?

That's part of the agony of being single during the entire span of your life. You know that your other fine qualities are more important in sustaining a relationship. But no one will ever notice all those fine qualities if they don't notice a pretty face first.

Ultimately the pretty face doesn't really matter, and after a lifetime of making sure you possess that okay-looking face, it's a harsh truth to realize. Worst of all, then what?

Saturday, October 05, 2013

7 Quick Takes #7

I feel like I'm in a place that Jen Fulwiler has described, about going into survival mode. The difference is, as a single person, I don't have any kids wearing me down and messing up my house. I'd really like to know who IS responsible for making it messy!
Last night one of my girlfriends started in on a little light nagging about how I don't seem to have time to do anything but workout, keep my house clean and do laundry. She's worried that I don't seem to be socializing much. She's right, to a point. But the fact is, I'm in survival mode. I'm dealing with some inner turmoil that she doesn't know about. There's work stuff, family stuff, and these days I'm acutely aware of how many friends I've lost to marriage and children - HATE that phenomenon!
That combined with my moratorium on dating, I just need to lay low right now. My friends don't get it. They think I need to be "out there". I've been "out there" for more than 20 years! Can I just relax for a minute?
So I'm a homebody. If I were married, no one would care if I stayed home more nights than I go out. But as a single person, it's like some kind of crime if I stay home. Now, granted, it's probably not the best idea for a single woman to stay in. But after 20 years can't I just relax sometimes?
You have no idea how exhausting it is to be disappointed every single time you go out. It's better for my heart and soul to stay in for a spell. Survival mode is a lot different for a spinster than for a mom!
Last month I wrote a post explaining the basic tenets of dating, and it's getting a lot of views. I had to write it because it has become clear that men no longer how to date. I don't know if it's my age group, or if it's the result of too much technology and social media. Or the influence of media, TV shows and movies that demonstrate the complete opposite of the right way to date.
If you know any men who are still in the dating stage of life, please share this post with them. It may make the difference in their success rate. Young single women should read it too, so they know what they ought to expect.
Plus, we'd all love to hear from you married folks if you agree or disagree about the rules of dating.

I was working on a couple small home improvement projects this week. I had my handyman come by to fix a few small things, one of which is my stove.  Ever since I moved in to my condo, I've tried to ignore the fact that every time I put cooking oil in a pan, it rolls to one side making it impossible to cook things evenly. Seriously, I have ignored the problem for nine years! So last weekend I had my handyman level the stove by twisting the little feet on the bottom.  Totally simple, but it does require two people to determine leveling without having to scramble up and down from the floor to the stove.
Makes a surprising difference! I can't believe I put it off for so long.

Speaking of the handyman, he was initially here to help drill some holes to install a curtain solution in my dining room/ living room. Sadly, it failed. My walls are composed of 60 year old plaster, and the soffit surrounding the window crumbles when you try to put a screw in it. So after 9 years of living here I still can't solve how to hang curtains in that room.  I had it solved for a while, until the one of the screws fell out. Hanging curtains in this room is still unsolvable.
All I need is a tension rod that spans 90 inches and doesn't require center support once the curtains add weight. (hint: they don't make those.)

This seems a bit odd to share, but in the spirit of home improvement, have you ever experienced the simple joy of discovering that you solved two problems for the price of one? As I have mentioned, my condo is in a building that is almost 65 years old. Considering the galvanized metal pipes throughout, and heaven only knows when the water tanks were replaced, when I moved in, the toilet bowl sported what was probably 60 year old rust stains. (okay maybe only 10 years - but still). The stains were such that it looked like I just didn't do a good job of cleaning my toilet. One of those you just have to grin and bear... because replacing a can like that is no easy feat. And since there's not really anything wrong with the toilet, why bother.
So last year, I found this eco-friendly cleanser and for no particular reason other than the fact that it's eco-friendly, I bought it. And last week I realized, the rust stain is GONE!  Whoo!

I'll spare you the detail shot. That would be worse than peeing scenes in movies (why anyone thinks those are neccessary is beyond me - I'm looking at you Shrek!) , even though I assure you the bowl is sparkly white! So if you're looking for an eco-friendly cleaner that does amazing things... here ya go. Look for it at your local crunchy-granola grocer.

I have had the strangest three weeks of a sore throat, and cough.  It is seriously ridiculous. I even ran into a sales clerk, who recognizing my weird cough, told me that she had it and that it lasted three weeks. I'm approaching the end of week three and still hacking cough. Oh come on!
It sounds awful. One of my co-workers said, "That sounds gross."  So the next day I stayed home.

I haven't been working out lately due to the weird cough and sore throat. But this week, our trainer came in with a crazy workout challenge. I suppose everyone else already knows this song, but it was the first time I heard it... and just now looking it up on URturbe there's apparently a well known challenge associated with it.  This one is different from the torture our trainer put us through... she started us with weighted squats... down and holding until the "Bring Sally up" lyrics. Let me tell you, it takes long enough! Barbell squats for the entire song, then again with kettlebell squats - whole song, followed by the pushups you see in the video.
So for the last couple of days my thighs hurt in a magnificent way that they have never hurt before. So knock yourself out. It works!

I feel better seeing these guys flake off and sit down when they fatigue out of the song. Sheesh. It's a killer.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!