Trying Times

A few weeks ago we got some new tenants in the office.  The are a small group of long format editors and they are a youthful bunch.  (I am not sure if child labour laws are now routinely being violated but it appears that every new hire I meet is about 12).  As I am working out of the office most of the time these days I was never formally introduced.  The other day I was in and I had wandered into the back kitchen area where the kettle and microwave live.  One of the young lads came in behind me to try to locate a garbage bag.  Without turning around I rummaged around and found him something suitable, then passed it back over my shoulder.  He turned and exited,  I followed and, having never made eye contact, I said “I don’t think we have met.  I am Jane”.  He turned around to face me.  And visibly recoiled.

I am trying to comfort myself with the idea that from behind I look younger than my years.  I was dressed in jeans, a hoodie and work boots and I do try to keep myself reasonably fit so perhaps he was expecting someone that didn’t look like the Crypt Keeper to turn around to say hello.

Earlier that day I had made my way in to work from my early morning exercise group and had caught sight of my reflection in a window.  I noted that I looked a bit wan and tired.  About a year ago I attended a make up lesson at my friend’s house and the host had told me that as I have strong features all I really needed to do on a daily basis was throw on a little mascara and lip gloss.  As I rarely wear either item I had immediately tried to negotiate for alternatives (concealer and eyeliner being the two things I do manage on a regular basis) but she was adamant and asked me to at least give it a try.  Which I did. For a few months.

I have never been a great make up wearer.  I am lazy and I thought somewhat smugly that all of my partners throughout my dating history didn’t care.  Then I realized to my horror that I could not possibly know this to be a fact.  Perhaps all of them would have appreciated a little effort.  It isn’t like they were going to fess up now, were they?  I can only imagine “Honey, would I look better with some make up on?” would rank right along side the dreaded “Does this make my ass look fat?” in the extensive collection of Questions You Never Want To Answer.  And it isn’t just make up.  I very rarely dry my hair in the more temperate months.  My wardrobe has deteriorated into jeans and T shirts and sweaters that perhaps have not been dry cleaned as oft they should.  I frequently wear sneakers as I do walk everywhere but the times that a more fashionable bit of footwear (and I have plenty to choose from) make the journey in a knapsack to my final destination and never actually see the light of day is growing at an alarming rate.  And yes, I said knapsack.

I decided that I need to make a bit more effort.  Not because I think it may fetch me a fella (though I doubt it would hurt) but really more for my own sense of self.  I have loads of clothes and an embarrassment of boots. I just need to spend a bit more time putting things together.

I was comforted greatly when I mused about my findings to several friends.  While I would consider each of them to be stylish people who have always seemed well turned out, all of them shared their own tales of letting things slide.  One showed me the under-boob stain on her dress. She had inadvertently rested her chest in her dinner and failed to notice only to have the mark reveal itself like a spaghetti Shroud of Turin on a subsequent wear some time later as she had neglected to have the item cleaned.

The stories come out about the corners cut.  The drunk darned sweaters.  The holey socked.  The stains on a jacket that would not be out of place at a crime scene from Law & Order.  It is comforting to know it isn’t just me.  So I am trying.  Just a little.  During work hours.

Baby steps.  If a baby wore mascara and lip gloss.


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