Encore: Pure “Ramblage” on Being a Girl

My mother tried to raise her daughters as “low maintenance”

but it didn’t take.

She would give us Toni home perms, get the neighbor lady to cut our hair or, when we got older, took us to the Beauty College to have a student practice her shearing skills on us

two unassuming adolescents who were too shy for any violent emotional outburst when the trimming went to hell in a hand cart…

which it often did.

She never bought or encouraged us to wear make up and when “back to school” shopping would ensue we’d be limited to a couple of pairs of corduroy pants a sweater and a shirt or two.

Now as adults, we’ve more than made up for her conservative spending habits when it comes to spending money grooming and clothing ourselves. As soon as I knew the possibilities were endless I was dyeing

and polishing,


and curling.

And I was the tomboy of the family.

What triggered this uncontrollable slip into all things “girlie”? Certainly not the media. I grew up with “farm TV”: two channels of equally scintillating broadcasts with very few advertisements. And the only magazine in the house, that I remember was National Geographic

where pretty much all the women exist au naturale.

And my mother wasn’t one to fall victim to the feminine constraints of society. I always thought she looked fabulous and the only makeup I remember her applying ever, was lipstick. True, she did subject us to the torturous beauty routine of plastic rollers wound tightly in our hair every Saturday night so we’d have curls for church on Sunday…a ritual carried over from her childhood I’m sure (maybe sleeping in tight plastic curlers make little girls more penitent?)

To “prettify” has become more than just an obligation. Sure one must look professional for work, and respectable in public, but to what expense?


I’m going to conduct a bit of an experiment, and yes I admit that I just purchased a stupid amount of clothing whilst in the big city last week so my experiment is well-timed…

AND it’s summer a time when, as a teacher, I don’t have a lot of opportunity to “dress it up” any

which doesn’t make the consequences all that dire.

The experiment??

I’ve decided NOT to spend a dime on clothing or makeup for the next two months.

Seriously. And this could be traumatic…I’m precariously close to running out of mascara.

I don’t think it will be that difficult.

I think I’ll enjoy being a hermit.

It’s not like I’m swearing off books,

or wine.


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