I always say that I am “bad at being a girl.” If you hold me up to some kind of acceptable grooming standard for mainstream American society, then yes. I have failed at being a girl. I’m perfectly fine with that. I mean, I am 37 years old and I have a pretty strong sense of who I am and what I’m about. I’ve got this shit handled, more or less.

And I have never been comfortable with people remarking on my appearance. I don’t do or wear any of the things I do or wear for attention, I do it because I find it interesting or I need a change or, for fuck’s sake, the only clean outfit happened to be my Harlequin-patterned running tights and a Phish t-shirt. So I was surprised, amused, and a little bit pissed off by an incident that happened to me the other day. Last Friday, I was so mad at my hair that I went to the salon and paid a dude a whole bunch of money to cut it off. It isn’t quite as short as I’d like it to be, but some days you have to take “better than it was” and just accept it.

Because it was a fairly drastic change (from chin-length to what would be a very cute pixie cut if it would all just lay the fuck down), I knew people would notice and say something. That’s fine, that’s normal, and I have learned to deal with it graciously because most people are being nice. But there was one… ugh.

So I’m in the grocery store, doing my grocery thing (I have a system), and a lady with whom I am slightly acquainted caught my eye and remarked on my hair. She asked why I cut it, because I “look better” with longer hair and I just sort of laughed and said “it was time for a change.” Then she said “well, it looks good on you. But it would look better if you would do something about your eyebrows.”

[record scratch]

Excuse me? It’s a measure of just how far I have come that I didn’t instantly punch her right in the tits, steal her wallet and take off. Instead I just raised my (admittedly bushy) eyebrows (because I cannot raise just one, to my eternal despair) and said “oh, indeed? Whyever would you say that?”

I have a PhD in Snotty Tones of Voice, and I knew instantly that my message had been received. She stammered something and I just stood there all “O RLY” until she was all “um, okay, bye…”

And then I went about my day.

Now, I get it. I am no stranger to talking shit about someone’s appearance and choice of outfit but I have rarely, if ever, said something like that to a near-stranger. I have a couple of very close friends who would be able to get away with saying “honey, did Andy Rooney and Michael Dukakis have a love child that is now stuck to your face?” because that’s what friends do. But that is a very small group, and none of those people were in the grocery store that morning.

I can’t deny it, though. My eyebrows are currently out of control. They require attention and maintenance and I just don’t have the time nor the inclination to do that. I get them waxed about every three months (when they look like they do today, so I guess I’ll add that to my list of things to do) and although I do own tweezers and a mirror, sitting down to yank hair out of my face is on the priority list just below “clean out sock drawer.”

Things fall apart.

To be honest, I have little interest in conforming to mainstream America’s impossible beauty standards. That requires a level of dedication that I don’t think I’ve ever applied to anything, ever. I can’t even be bothered to shower every day! I would love to be one of those ladies who is always “put together” with the eyebrows and the manicure and the eyeliner or whatever, but I never will be. Unless I win the lottery and can have a staff of people to do that for me.

I’m okay with this. When it comes time for Jillian to learn about makeup and whatever the hell else, I’m sure there is a class or something she can take. Isn’t there? Should be. If there isn’t, someone really needs to get on that.

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