Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bonfire of the Vanities

"You're so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You're so vain
I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't you?"
Carly Simon

I'm so vain, I often think this song is about me!

It's not that I think I'm hot or strut around like everyone should be looking at me. Mostly I believe the opposite and try to keep the lowest of profiles. Not being noticed is what I try to be. Still, I've never met a mirror I didn't like. The reason being I hate to be teased and/or embarrassed. God forbid I should have something green stuck in my teeth!

I grew up feeling pretty insecure. I was taller than my sisters and most of my peers. I was skinny enough to be called "toothpick" by the people whose opinion mattered most to me. I wore glasses before little black glasses were cool. I lacked the ability to use make-up to improve my teenage nerdiness. My father often assured me the blue eyeshadow I used to make my eyes look sultry or flirty, looked more like the bird poop.

But over the years I kind of got into my own groove, at least as long as I could check myself out on a regular basis, i.e. passing by store windows, the 3-way mirror in a dressing room, the rear-view mirror while stopped at a red light. I didn't stare at myself or make pouty lips. I'd just do a quick glance to make sure that everything was as it should be.

Then I hit my 40's and something called peri-menopause. Just like when I was 12 and my mom handed me a book to read published by the Kotex company I was suddenly on my own to learn what my hormones were going to do next.

Night sweats ... check.
Mood swings ... check.
Hot flashes ... check.
Chin hairs ... chin hairs? This is a joke, right?

Apparently not. There I was at work one day and my co-worker reached over and yanked a black hair off my chin. I had an immediate conflict of emotions. While I wanted to crawl into a hole because I was so embarrassed, I was also grateful that the offending hair was taken care of.

That's when I started paying even closer attention to my face. I dare say I spend as much time in the morning facing the mirror as Sweetie did before he stopped shaving. I stretch my cheeks taut, and contort my chinny, chin chin this way and that, ever on the look out for any stray whiskers.

Will someone please tell me how it is if I go to bed at night relatively hairless, I can wake up with stubble? Okay, so I exaggerate a little. It's not stubble exactly, but a bristly coarse hair at least a quarter inch long can be just as upsetting. And why is it that the hair on my legs has almost quit growing and I have little hair under my arms, but my chin suddenly sprouts hair like it's been hit with a shot of Miracle-Gro?

Every Monday I change my father's bed linens, bathroom towels and give everything a good coat of Lysol. There is a full-length mirror on his bathroom door, so naturally I check myself both going and coming. Yesterday to my horror, I discovered, not one, but two, of these cat-like vibrissa just hanging out on my chin as if they belonged there.

There are many stages of womanhood. I think I've successfully maneuvered my way through all of them with the exception of menopause which seems to go on and on. I think when it is finally over I will have earned the right to sit, wrinkly, wizened and whiskered in some rocking chair dispensing wisdom to young girls who seek the meaning of life.

But until that time comes, I will continue keep my tweezers handy.

Wishing for you a reflection in the mirror that makes you smile,
Merry ME

P.S. According to Pamela Redmond Satran author of the book, How Not to Act Old, "the only thing more boring and unseemly than discussing getting your period is discussing not getting your period," [pg. 35] so I thought this talk of menopause and chin hairs might be uncool. However, if you Google "chin hairs" you'll find it is a very common topic. Go figure!


QnDani said...

Oh Mary.......

I loved this!! And didn't find it boring at all!! You can at least handle your chin hairs with a pair of tweezers....I have my own electic razor. I have a friend who says she realized God had a sense of humor while in menopause -she lost the hair on her legs, under her arms and on the holiest of holies - only to have it all show up on her chin!!

QnDani said...

uh.....make that electric razor...


Merry ME said...

It is good to know I am not alone!

Laura Paine Carr said...

aaahhh, hahahhaahahahhhhaaahahah!
Thank you, MM. If not you, who? Of course we must talk about all of this, with one another, in our writings and musings... there is such rich stuff here! Who cares if it is politically correct, or what-ever?! (Like the generous usage of ((!!!)), which, I read somewhere recently, is definitely NOT cool) Who is in charge of the cool-meter, anyways? Regardless, I love this post. And just so you know, I have a little, relentless chin hair which horrified me at first, and now I just laugh and clip it off again and again and again.... heeee! Isn't this fun?