~Rogers and Hammerstein (from Flower Drum Song)
At work, I dress like a boy. I wear t-shirts and sweatshirts, baggy (usually men’s) jeans, sneakers, and a hat or bandana to cover my hair. This is a necessity, as I am always filthy and comfortable cheap clothes definitely trump style and fashion for this occupation. I also work with 50+ guys and only 2 other females, and this has to be one of the least fashionable states in the whole country.
I dress differently on evenings and weekends. I don’t even like to stop by the grocery store on my way home from work in my stained and tattered work clothes. I am female, and I suppress it only for the reality of my (temporary – I hope) job. On weekends, I like to wear skirts and makeup and actually even brush my hair! Dare I say it? I might even be considered attractive.
When I run into coworkers after hours they have comments such as ‘Why are you dressed up?’ or, ‘You look different’. Well, yes, thankfully, I do look different, but it’s not ‘dressed up’ so much as work is ‘dressing down’, and why must it be phrased as an insult? Speaking of insults, the other day a coworker asked me ‘Are you sick? You look terrible’. Um no, I’m not sick, but thanks anyway.
So the other day I stopped by TJ Maxx. I don’t love TJ Maxx – it is very hit or miss – but the only other options in this town are a decrepit JC Penny, a GoodWill, and a Wal-Mart. I tried on a pair of shoes, black, 4-inch stiletto, peep-toes. They looked good on my feet, and they were so comfortable with cushioning under the foot, and the edge of the peep-toe didn’t cut into me. But sadly, and my inner woman is ashamed to admit it, I don’t wear heels like this very often, and I absolutely could not walk in them. Not five steps. Nope. No way. I put the shoes back on the shelf, and pulled out another pair. These were red sandals; isn’t red a sexy shoe color? They fit, and I could walk in them just fine. The heel was probably two inches high and had a wide sturdy base. These shoes just didn’t have the same magic as the black ones, so they too went back on the shelf.
I’ve had lousy skin since I was a teenager. Isn’t that supposed to *poof* disappear the day you turn twenty? I’ve tried most everything in the drugstore. I’ve been to dermatologists. I’ve been on prescription creams, pills, scrubs, you name it. Except Accutane and the one that Jessica Simpson endorses on infomercials. A couple months back I started using a toner; I’m still not sure what toner does. Boyfriend could smell it on my face one night and wanted to know why I smelled like denatured alcohol, a chemical we use at work to clean up epoxy. We frequently wear gloves, other protective gear, and respirators because of the harsh chemicals we are exposed to, most of which are known to cause premature aging, nerve damage, and brain tumors. It was also around this time that I started noticing some lines around my mouth. The toner went in the trash. I’m on a new skin plan regiment now. I’m using several Aveeno products, including a “face brightening” scrub, a day moisturizer with salicylic acid (the only thing that seems like it does something), a “calming” night moisturizer, and an eye cream. An eye cream! I feel so old. I’ll have to get back to you on how well this stuff works.
I need a shower before I head over to dinner with boyfriend (his place only has a tub, and no shower!), but for some odd reason, the hot water is off again in my building. Looks like I’ll have to make a stop at the gym to wash off the day’s filth. Sigh.