Friday, October 20, 2006

How I Would Look If I Had "People"

Some months ago, I plugged in a curling iron and then hovered over it to make sure none of my children wandered by and wrapped their tiny hands around the hot barrel. Do not put it past them. They are capable of anything. It hasn't been all that long since I confronted my six-year-old after school with: "Your brother told me you had 'fire sticks' under your pillow. He said you were trying to light the window shades on fire." Eugenia rolled her eyes. "I wasn't trying to light the shades on fire. I was trying to light the TV on fire." I stand corrected.

As I stood vigil over the newest instrument of heat danger, my youngest came up and stared. "What is that?" he asked, his gaze unwavering. It hit me then: in over three years, none of my children had seen me curl or straighten my hair, even once. A couple of weeks ago we had a repeat of this scene, this time starring a mascara wand and medieval torture device designed to make my eyelashes appear 1/16th as long and graceful as those of my three-year-old son.

It's far too easy to despise myself for not always looking my best. Every mom knows that, in the early years especially, survival ranks lower on the Hierarchy of Parenting Needs than, say, pulling together a snappy outfit or finally getting those eyebrows waxed. We'd love to pamper ourselves, but maybe later, after great spans of time spent trying to clean permanent marker off the wall, after feeding the kid (again), after paying the long-overdue bills, and by the way, is that a spot of somebody's poop on my arm?

We all know that women have enough to worry about without dealing with unreachable beauty standards. This brief commercial spot is a much-needed reminder that, given enough tech support, any woman could look as good as the woman on the billboard. A woman who, interestingly enough, doesn't actually exist.


Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

I saw this the other day. I think it should be mandatory viewing for teenage girls. And boys. And adults. Yeah...all adults.

5:52 AM  
Blogger K. said...

followed you here from finslippy, because your description sounded like me and because I am familiar with Literary Mama. glad you tooted your horn!

10:37 AM  

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