So yesterday morning, my dear blog buddy told me she was getting “all dolled up” for our trip to hear the marvelous NYT bestselling author Kristin Hannah read from her new novel, WINTER GARDEN. (If you enjoy staying awake until 3 a.m. with a box of Kleenex and a whole new appreciation of love and the women in your life, read Kristin’s books.)
Now, despite the fact that I love seeing Kristin and love going to Powell’s bookstore, I had planned to wear my customary Saturday attire–discreetly stained sweatshirt and jeans that smell vaguely of dog if you get too close to my leg. When I heard from Carolyn, however, I began to worry that perhaps I was not being respectful enough. Or that I’m lazy or possibly defeatist, so I figured I’d freshen up a bit, too.
A little trivia about Carolyn: She has a pact with the underworld and does not age. To those of us who went through premature menopause, this is very disturbing. Annoying, even. I try to say the serenity prayer before I see her.
Okay, so I figured it would take me ten, maybe fifteen minutes to “doll up” for the big outing. It. Did. Not.
With a career, a first-grader and a DIY kitchen remodel that could take us into the next millennium, I haven’t had a lot of time for makeup. Apparently since I last visited my modest stash, my husband used my mascara to darken his beard for an audition, and there wasn’t much left (and also, eew). My daughter “practiced” with the single lipstick I still own (looks more like she ate half of it), and my eyeshadow had gone a bit crumbly. I did, however, find a brand new lip pencil!!!!! I’ve always liked my lips, so I decided to concentrate on them.
Holy Mother of God.
I have a clear memory of watching my mother’s lipstick climb slowly up the lines leading from her top lip to her nostrils, and thinking, “Why does she let it do that?” LET it. I thought there was a choice. I was wrong.
At forty-eight I have never smoked a cigarette. Only rarely have I ingested liquid through a straw. Yet within seconds of penciling my lips red, I looked like I had a bloody nose.
It won’t be easy explaining to my daughter that I’ve used her college fund for my BOTOX injections.
So my point: Getting “all dolled up” is different now. It takes longer. It takes, actually, a little grieving and a lot of surrender. The gift, as far as I can tell at this juncture, is that the focus shifts from worrying about what you think of me to the simple enjoyment of being in your company. (Except, perhaps, for Carolyn’s company. Because, I’m sorry, but when she loses weight she gets a jawline, and when I lose weight I get a turkey waddle, and I’m just not that spiritually evolved. Yet. I’ll get back to you.)