Though Janet Reno and I do not share the same political leanings, I never once questioned her appearance. In fact, I didn’t understand what was wrong with her appearance. To me she was an intelligent, sensibly dressed woman. She was not Paris Hilton and I bet a million dollars she wouldn’t want to be. I also suspect her simple clothing choices were selected for comfort to hold up through what must have been very long tortuous days.
Same with Barbara Bush. I’m not a Bush family fan but it has nothing to do with their physical attributes or lack thereof. She is not Shakira and doesn’t pretend to be. Why would she even care about her appearance other than to be expensively and modestly dressed, neat and tidy, with her signature white hair? I do not care for the woman for many reasons but her appearance is not one of the reasons. In fact, she has a friendly motherly demeanor though I believe she is as far from that as a barracuda is to a bunny. (I don’t believe respect for the elderly is a given. It’s earned. She didn’t earn it. There are many people in rest homes that do not receive visitors and it’s not because they have mean families though there is that too. It’s because they made enemies. White hair doesn’t mean you’re sweet.)
Carly Fiorina’s accidental open mic comment about Barbara Boxer’s hair amazed me because it came at a time when political crappola was flying and she should have been concentrating on issues and not hair–I thought. I realize Carly didn’t mean for that comment to hit the airwaves via the open mic but though it was a mistake the fact she said it and thought it makes me wonder why she felt it was important enough to repeat at all? If she has nothing else pushing her brain cells around but Barbara Boxer’s hair is she worthy of public office?
It’s like Clinton and the blue dress. Was he a good president? Did the blue dress matter? Yes, it mattered. Being the leader of our country should have made him tend to his zipper while in office. Total lack of judgment. Did I want that man with access to the button if he couldn’t zip?
The paparazzi of course are responsible for most of this. We also sometimes hear such nonsense from our mainstream “reporters.” They have created the monsters we’ve become by blasting us with comments about celebrity appearances. If a celebrity is seen at a grocery store in sweats it’s the lead story on the evening tabloid “magazine” show. TMZ, the most repulsive of the bunch, is particularly disgusting when it comes to catching people at leisure, some when they aren’t feeling well and look like they’ve been run over by a steamroller. As I’ve mentioned in a few postings I’m preparing a blog on TV and I’ve forced myself to watch certain shows to get a feel for their contributions to society. Argh.
When I garden sometimes I find I have to dash to the nursery to get something I need. My gardening ensembles are frightening. They are also stained with countless spots obtained from years of gardening and house projects. I wear them over and over because they are comfortable and protect my skin. I have transparent skin. I can get sunburned watching the sun set in a movie. Snow White doesn’t hold a candle to me.
So my outfits used for gardening and projects are intense and ugly. They are always clean. Before I begin each project I leave the house in a clean gardening outfit. I also select a project hat to cover my head and protect my neck from the sun. If I need to dash to the hardware store because my fence is about to fall unless I buy supports I don’t change and wear heels and makeup. I jump in the car and run through the store and get my item and head home. While there I see plenty of other disheveled shoppers crouched over and running to avoid eye contact. If I was a celebrity I’d be on the evening “news” in my special outfit. I’m sure the tag would read “Sharon Strawhand Garner was observed at Sam’s Nursery, drunk and disheveled and behaving bizarrely,” with video depicting my hunched over dash to the car.
For many years I’ve observed appearance “issues” in the work place. As the years progressed casual dress began to surface. My first work experience was in San Francisco in the financial district. Though the city was filled with flower children during that era there were those of us who wore sandals and peasant dresses and beads and braids on the weekends but traded it all in on Monday mornings for nylons, heels, and smart little dresses and suits, our hair coiffed and unbraided.
I’ve lived in many cities over the years and most of the offices I worked in were somewhat formal for men as well as women. In most offices way back then (yikes) men wore their jackets all day. They didn’t hang them on the back of their office doors, they kept them on. No tie loosening either. I was happy when the dress code began to relax. I switched from heels to flats or one-inch pumps and toward the very end of my career I wore slacks exclusively with knee-hi stockings rather than nylons. Today many women do not wear nylons at all. I don’t like it but I applaud it. (When I grew up we wore gloves when we went shopping in San Francisco. White gloves for children, kid-leather for moms.)
Years ago I wore makeup in whatever style was popular in the magazines. Some eras were ghastly but I still got up way too early and put on my face. I couldn’t eat breakfast because it would take time away from applying my makeup. About fifteen years ago I developed a problem with mascara and though I tried many brands I finally had to give it up. I live in a county known for allergies and I believe it wasn’t the mascara but the tiny particles drifting in the air which then adhered themselves to the mascara. I tried wearing the rest of my eye makeup without the mascara but it looked odd to me. So I gave it up. Next I gave up foundation. I now wear sunblock and lipstick. I have a publicity photo with full makeup including the aforementioned mascara. When I got home from the photo session, which was held outdoors in a beautiful setting, my eyes were almost swollen shut.
What’s truly strange about my transformation to a natural look is that at first I thought I looked ugly. Maybe that’s too strong. Unattractive might be a better choice. Plain might be even better. I’ve come to love plain. In fact, I like that I look “clean” with a fresh face and no greasy makeup. I still wear lipstick because as I mentioned above, I have transparent white skin and without lipstick it is difficult to determine where my mouth is. My family and friends might find that amusing since my mouth is rarely closed.
I took the time to explain all that because over the years through the various changes we were all going through in our appearance it was frequently discussed by coworkers who commented negatively on the changes of women who were changing. “Oh, she looks terrible. She doesn’t wear any makeup at all.” “Oh, she looks terrible. She doesn’t wear nylons.” “Oh, she looks terrible. She never wears a skirt or a dress.” I heard it all and many more (she’s too fat, she’s too thin, she’s too plain, etc.). Again, I ask, why do we care? Often the people commenting on their coworkers were no visions of beauty themselves. We pride ourselves that we live in a free society and we can be individuals and do whatever we want but then we turnaround and criticize those who operate outside of current fashion trends.
I just read my blog from the beginning and I answered my own question. We behave this way because of the media. We are told what is pretty and what is not. We are told what to buy to be pretty and acceptable to the world. Baloney. Let’s not do that. We were born with everything we need to be perfect just as we are. Just put on a smile and walk out the door. You might need a little lipstick if your gene pool is similar to mine.
I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any girl who isn’t me tonight.
-West Side Story
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