Thursday, July 18, 2013

So simple, yet so deliciously rejuvenating

I’d like to take a moment to ask us to all stop what we’re doing, think about the topic which I am about to discuss, and then give it up…for grooming.

Go ahead, clap your hands in your cubicle, don’t be shy.

Now, maybe you don’t care so much about grooming, but, well, maybe you should.

First of all, I’m not talking about primping. I have little patience for primping, and about as far as I get in that regard is curling my hair about once every 4 – 6 months, and oftentimes the curls fall out by the end of the night.

In a recent conversation with my friend Morgan, we were discussing how much we like short hairstyles and how we think that short hair makes women look sophisticated. I told her that I think men will think women are hot even if they are bald, so really, who cares if our hair is long? So for that matter, who cares if it’s curled or not? In my mind, A)Life is too short to worry if your hair is curled, B)Men might appreciate curled hair but they also appreciate straight hair, and C)Curling hair is obnoxious and takes a long time.

(That said, I love gal pal bonding time, and if someone else wants to curl my hair, I will happily sit there and let her do so.)

To that end, I don’t plan to start wearing makeup anytime soon anymore than I plan to start curling my hair every day. That’s for a whole bunch of reasons which I will not get into now.

So. Not talking about primping here. I’m talking about grooming. Clipping your fingernails, washing your face, putting lotion on your feet, or forearms, or stomach or hands. Shaving your legs. A swipe of an astringent-soaked cotton ball over the lines of your cheek and across your jaw line, feeling it evaporate and provide a cool burst of refreshment on a hot and possibly humid summer night.

Despite its simple aesthetic pleasures, let me tell you specifically why I so very appreciate the act of grooming:

I am a talky person. A people person, a person who doesn’t always shut up easily. If you put me with people I will perk up.

But it must be said, to you fine people of the world, that eventually you wear me out. I need a time to reset. I get cranky, my voice gets tired, I need to spend some time with my TV, and my books, and my cross stitch and my nail polish.

Generally it is my practice to reserve evenings – or, these days, the daytime, since I’m usually not at an office during the day – for my meditative recharging. An evening with dinner, some Internet time-wasting, perhaps a phone call, a book and maybe some crafting is enough to get me back out into the world the next day at my Chatty Cathy best.

But sometimes I am not afforded this luxury. For example, sometimes my family likes to have these 48 hour marathon get togethers (and these can be literally or figuratively marathon in nature, as we often gather around the marathon races that my dad and several siblings run each year). Tight quarters, lots of talky, opinionated people in one place. Ergo, no place for extended Bailey-style alone time.

Other times – and this happens more rarely, since I’m not a college kid anymore – I get in situations with my peers where there is a lot of goofing off and carrying on that goes on for more than just one night. I have one of these situations coming up, actually, for a college friend’s wedding next month, in which six of us are going to crash at my parents’ place, road trip three hours away, party at the wedding, crash in a hotel for two nights, and then road trip back to continue the goofing off and carrying on at my parents’ place.

[I’ve also noted to my parents, who are so graciously hosting all of us, that my friends and I are all pushing 30 and so we are likely to eventually crash, offering them some relative quiet in their usually-empty nest.]

I won’t lie to you. While I am super stinking excited about this, my 28-year-old frame and personality is nervous about this, too. I’m not a kid anymore and I know it. I’m not used to all night gab sessions for several days on end. I checked out of the dorms in 2006, and now I notice that my throat gets sore after more than three hours of conversation.

Now, I think the super stinking excitedness for this upcoming reunion will help me power through any fatigue, conversational or otherwise. But for those moments when coffee won’t cut it, and when I realize that I won’t get time to myself for another five days, I will take solace in the fact that I have grooming.

When I feel like I can’t stop talking, when I feel the crankiness creeping in, I’m going to exit the conversation, head to the hotel bathroom and get to grooming. An extended shower, an unnecessary yet necessary manicure, some hydrocortisone cream on new bug bites. Whatever it takes.

When I don’t have time for my normal, several hours-long routine of personal recharging, I will exchange it for some grooming time. If I have to go to a party that I am not ready to go to, I will be so much more ready if I am granted twenty minutes to do some not-immediately-necessary grooming. Let me take a quick shower, or wash my face and spritz on some perfume, and I will be a much more amiable party guest.

Grooming lowers my blood pressure and simultaneously perks me up. So, a note for you to take: if you see me get that look in my eye, that “Get me out of here now” look, send me to the bathroom. Hand me a glass of wine, too, if you’re feeling like an exceptionally awesome human being at the moment. Give me some time to groom, and I’ll emerge like a hyper (or very calm, one of the two) poodle with unnecessary bows affixed behind her ears.

Bring it, world. I’m freshly groomed and comin’ atcha.

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