It’s a process- the shower, spending extra time to shave and maybe taking the rinse and repeat seriously; then brushing my teeth extra carefully and using mouthwash; squeezing the water from my hair and brushing it out, putting in product to help with the curl; carefully picking my outfit and drying off, pulling on each item; taking the time to put on make-up, which is not a common occurrence; selecting shoes to match my outfit and adjusting the zippers or straps or buckles.
It’s a long, painstaking process, one that I don’t go through every morning. As I stand in front of my mirror, checking my appearance, I realize that I am putting on my armor- the clothes, the shoes, the hair, the make-up. It’s like I’m putting on another face or another skin, someone who is more confident and sure of herself.
And this is for something as simple as going to an office to drop off my resume after submitting an on-line application.
Each step is done to build a persona and I wonder how many women use their outfit and hair and make-up to present a certain face to the world. And when do they take it off? Is there ever a moment that they can be comfortable with themselves, when the make-up comes off, they were pajamas and sweatpants and twist their hair into a sloppy ponytail?
Some women do go to battle every day; they work somewhere where every action is measured and calculated and they have to prove themselves to others, and every day they need their armor. But I am a stay-at-home mom- armor is not always needed, at least, not in the form of hair, make-up and extra nice clothing.
I don’t often put on make-up and dress so carefully; although my outfits are chosen, most of the time, to present a certain amount of confidence, and my braid is done for practicality, rather than leaving my hair down and curling it. But when the family was on vacation, my sisters-in-law every day would do their hair and make-up; it baffled me.
And it isn’t from lack of pride in my appearance and I don’t lack confidence; I need a boost every so often, but for the most part, I feel sure of myself and my ability to do a job, even if that job is getting through the supermarket without a meltdown from my child.
I also don’t use the extras to attract attention, even when I was single. My husband doesn’t notice when I do my hair or put on make-up, but he pays attention to what I am wearing, whether it is a certain neckline or how tight my pants are that day. And before I met him, I didn’t want to paint my face and feel like I was using a mask to get a guy’s attention.
I only need the extras- the hair, the make-up, the special outfit and shoes- for certain occasions. I don’t go to battle every day, so I don’t need my armor on all the time.