It’s A Fine Line…

I’ve mentioned on several occasions that fashion is not exactly… okay, fine; just not… my thing.  But every now and then I get a niggling feeling that maybe I should try a little harder.

It usually happens on a day when I’ve been immersed in some project, and I discover that I urgently need a tool/part/ doohickey to finish the job.  So I zip to town, forgetting that I’m wearing my old clothes.  They were clean at the beginning of the day, but halfway through my project they’re decorated with dirt/sawdust/engine grease/paint/all of the above.  My hair is in a braid that started out tidy in the morning, but by now I’m wearing a halo of frizzy tendrils and the braid itself looks as though it went through a spin-washer and then got rolled in twigs (or other bits of work-related detritus).

That’s when I see her:  My nemesis.

Her hair colour, skintone, height, weight, age, and fashion style vary, but she always has one instantly recognizable characteristic:  She’s perfectly put together.

Her hair might be sleek or artfully tousled, but she clearly just stepped out of the salon.  Her makeup is flawless; her nails are polished; her clothing is pristine, fashionable, and well-fitting; her shoes are the stuff of dreams; and her jewellery accents her outfit.

We do not make eye contact.

I suffer a moment of hopelessly envious inadequacy, and then hurry off to buy my much-needed doohickey.  By the time I get home I’ve forgotten the whole episode, which sets me up to repeat it over and over.

All this occurred to me the other day when I found myself resenting the amount of time I spend on personal hygiene.  It was a worrisome thought, because five minutes with the nail clipper a couple of times a month constitutes my “manicure”, and my “beauty regime” consists of showering, slapping on some deodorant and a combination moisturizer/sunscreen, and letting my hair air-dry.  A bit of lip balm, and I’m good to go.

That’s when I started to wonder:  Where do you draw the line between “carefree and natural” and “a lazy slob”?

I realize that my nemesis would probably consider herself a lazy slob if she went out in public with a chip in her nail polish; but that’s not a helpful evaluation tool when the closest my nails have come to polish in the past three decades has been a splattering of blue house paint that wouldn’t come off for a week.

Notwithstanding my occasional sartorial slip-ups, I do usually make an effort to change my clothes before I leave home; and I figure as long as there’s no visible dirt and people can’t smell me coming, I’m doing okay.

Or maybe I’m just a lazy slob.  It’s a fine line…

Book 14 update:  I made it to Chapter 16 this week, woohoo!  I love it when I hit “the zone” and the words just flow.  🙂

36 thoughts on “It’s A Fine Line…

  1. I’m having such a hard time figuring out what to say here that it’s taken me four days to come to grips with it! I think more humans should give fewer cares about their appearance, because it really IS personality and character that ultimately are the measure of a person; and lord knows it probably looks to other people that I give no cares about my appearance; but at the same time I like to look nice; and I wish I could look better than I do; and I do spend a bit of time on it; but that’s just to get to what most folks would call “normal”; and . . . can you see how complicated this is and how conflicted I am? Gah. I guess the bottom line is I try not to judge anyone else but I’m very judgey about myself. Oh hell, I give up 🙂 You’ve certainly made me think, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I pretty much think you’re perfect just the way you are. Your description of yourself tells me you are living in the moment and that’s an awesome place to be. You will probably find that you judge yourself way more harshly than anyone else would, and that also makes you human . Live you life the way you want and forget about comparisons as they never give you anything positive. I love reading your books and your comments as I find them down to earth and mostly inspirational. Just be you and I think it’s enough!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to be like your nemesis when I was younger but thank goodness I wised up! I make myself presentable, but the days of full face makeup and manicured nails are long gone. I think the key is being comfortable in your own skin which most of the “nemesis-types” may not be.


    • That’s a very wise observation! I think it would be okay to be “the nemesis” for someone who truly enjoys all the beauty-type fussing for its own sake, and if they get joy from having and wearing beautiful clothes and accessories. Personally, I get more joy from my garden and workshop; but there’s always a clean corner with a nice cup of tea just in case my nemesis decides to drop by for a friendly visit. Different strokes… 🙂


  4. Nurses here run a 12 hour shift and most of them look like it by the end. One nurse, who goes as hard as any of them, ends the day with flawless make-up. Go figure.
    Tanya does a periodic professional manicure-pedicure, mostly to feel good as it is about a 4-hour spa type thing. Forget about how you look (awesome to me) and treat yourself once in a while. You deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thank you – that’s kind of you to say! Maybe there will be a time when a spa visit will be a treat for me, but for now if I want pampering I go out for a meal at a nice restaurant. The stomach always wins in the end… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I often find myself looking at all those folk who are done up to the nines, with perfect hair and exquisitely pressed clothing and think how much of their day they’ve used up to get into that state. Me, I just don’t have the time to look perfect… and if I did (have the time), I still probably wouldn’t (look perfect).
    Ah well, we’re real people, Diane. Perfectly real, if you ask me! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think most who look and find you wanting because you have a bit of dirt and twigs in your hair leave a lot to be desired as a good person. My first thought is just poke ’em in the eye and go get your doohickey.
    Long as my naked is covered I am okay. Some jeans may have a hole or 2 in leg but long as nothing shows that ain’t ‘sposed to. Well.
    I had a sister in law who was upset with me cause she said I had wash and wear hair. Can’t help it if God blessed me with good hair. And hers had to be curled and whatnot.
    Also I love your book covers. Make me think they were based on you. Just keep doing your thang and keep on giving us great reads.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Barbara! That’s me on the book covers, but I promise I’m not a secret agent writing an autobiography. (Mind you, if I was a secret agent I’d have to tell you that anyway…) 😉

      Lucky you with your wash-and-wear hair – I’m glad mine’s that way, too! And I’m going to remember your “poke ’em in the eye” advice, and the next time I see my nemesis somewhere, I’ll start giggling just thinking of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I do try to start out clean (shower, clean clothes), but the older I get the “less dirty” I get during the day. Had my first pedicure at about 72 years of age (got to be where I couldn’t bend to reach my toes/feet so well any more) and I will try to treat myself to one of those each month along with a manicure from here on out. The trick with a manicure is to go with the harder gel polishes or the powdered dips. With those you can still work outside and not have such bad looking nails (of course, I swear by my magical gloves – they allow me much better leverage on picking up things, better grip (small hands) digging in the dirt). They also hold up well washing dishes – the nails, not the gloves.

    Just had my first bout with bursitis in my hip (was scared my hip replacement had developed a problem). Turned out it was caused by all the grass mowing I had been doing this past month, trying to catch up from all the rain we’ve had this summer — about 6-8 acres I mow with a 54″ deck Cub Cadet mower (about 14 years old). Wouldn’t you know it would happen the same week I purchased a new mower to take over and was looking forward to using this new zero turn with a steering wheel. Got to use it 30 minutes before I couldn’t put any weight on my right side and had to go back to using my cane. Ice packs & meds for the next several weeks before I can get at it again supposedly. Will probably give it a try out when I can walk “normally” again.

    I’ve found out that unless you live in a very small, close nit community, that everybody knows you, your family, etc., most people don’t really give you that much attention. As long as you are satisfied with the way you look, and have the funds to pay for what you buy, I say, go for it. They won’t remember you 10 minutes later,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, your poor hip! Ouch! I hope it settles down and you get to run around with your new toy again soon. I don’t think manicures and pedicures are in my near future, but it’s great that they’re available when you need/want them. I often think, when I’m at the physiotherapist, how lucky we are to have professionals who will take care of our sore and/or inconvenient places for us!

      I probably stand out in the small town near us, but I’d like to think that even if people do remember me, they might have noticed me often enough to know that I don’t always look like a bag lady. Or not. It doesn’t really matter, since I can’t read their minds anyway (and wouldn’t want to)! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. One big difference: You nemesis isn’t getting any real work done. You know some guys are really attracted to the smell of motor oil.

    After I turned 50, I decided that how I look is how I look. If you don’t like the way I look – you have a problem, not me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think you are just fine. Your nemesis might look good at first sight, but she obviously doesn’t actually do much of anything otherwise she wouldn’t be able to maintain her “look”. Therefore, it can be assumed by your look, such as it is, that you are actually useful. This is an excellent quality in humans and should not be overlooked and a little maintenance is all that is required to stay functional. Your nemesis may have some hidden qualities, but she is not showing them off. After all we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but you have to start somewhere. A book with a cover that may be a little rough around the edges means people have been reading it. The pristine copy, not so much.
    No, I haven’t been drinking!


  10. I’ve known quite a few of what I call the ‘professional PROFESSIONAL’ type. Also several of the ‘professional beauty’ type, though fewer than many of that ‘type’ would like to think…if you see what I mean.

    One must remember that whatever they have going on is only skin deep, if that. For the rest, it extends no deeper than their outer clothing. What you got can’t be pulled on, buttoned on, zipped on, or painted on, cuz ‘hot redhead’ goes all the way to the bone. Own it. Words to live by, sista. 🙂

    And congratulations on hitting the zone! Priceless time, that.


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