Yesterday, I paid good money to have hot wax poured on my skin and hair yanked from my body by the roots. When the sting subsided, I thought of something my father-in-law used to say in a mock-pathetic voice whenever someone would apologize for not helping him with some task, like the dishes or canning fruit or anything else. "That's okay...we men are born to suffer." After yesterday, I beg to differ! But do we inflict a lot of the suffering on ourselves? Once upon a time, someone with influence ( a man, no doubt!) decided that women should have shiny flowing hair on their heads, and lots of it. But the remainder of our bodies should be hairless. And so we spend hours and big bucks breathing chemical fumes and braving the heat of blow dryers, having our locks curled or straightened, foiled, twisted, dyed or bleached. Then spend more hours, despite possible nicks, bumps and redness, plucking, tweezing, depilatorizing, shaving or waxing the rest of the stuff away.
But that's not all...said person in the know also decided that women should have a certain size breasts. I have friends who've gone under the knife for reductions, and friends who've gone under for implants. Oh, and women shouldn't grow old. They shouldn't have saggy eyelids or laugh lines or creased foreheads. Voila! Botox! Which brings me to a confession. I did it once. I was at an appointment with a cosmetic dermatologist for something else and she asked if I'd like to try it on the lines in my forehead and the groove between my brows. What the hell, I thought. Why not? I've always been curious. It'll be my little secret. Everyone will think I've been getting more rest, that's all. They'll tell me how good I'm looking and ask me if I've been on vacation. "We can inject your brows, too," the doc said. "Give them a little lift." Sure. Shoot me up. She did. Guess what? No one noticed except one of my sisters. My husband didn't even give my face a curious glance. And my sister's comment? "Have you done something to your face?" A frown, then, "What's wrong with your eyebrows?" It seems, according to her, they almost disappeared into my hairline whenever I spoke. See, I didn't take into consideration the fact that, when I talk, I habitually lift my brows, anyway (which explains why I needed the Botox in the first place--I talk a lot and all that brow-lifting wrinkles my forehead). So now they lifted even higher whenever I made the expression. I confessed my secret and asked my sister to keep it. She did, but whenever we were around other people and I'd start talking, she'd stand back, lift her brows high and smirk at me, and I'd have to try not to laugh. Or to hit her. :-)
Why do we torture ourselves? If that mysterious person in the know suddenly decided that women shouldn't have toenails, would we all make appointments at some fancy salon to have them pulled out with gold-plated plyers? Probably. I say we band together, find the guy, hold him down and give him a bikini wax.
Enough of that. Last weekend my husband and I visited our friends Michelle and Mark and their daughter McKenzie who live in Durango, Colorado. What a gorgeous place! And what great friends. While the men skiied, Michelle had some of her friends and fellow book-club members over for a coffee to meet me. We talked about books and writing and ate some of Michelle's great cooking. I met some really interesting and fun women! Afterward, Michelle and I went to a great independent bookstore downtown called Maria's where I bought "A Great And Terrible Beauty" by Libba Bray. Michelle and I always trade books with one another, too, and here's what she sent home with me: "The Photograph" by Penelope Lively, "The Book Of Dead Birds" by Gayle Brandeis, "Empire of Light" by David Czuchlewski, "Homestead" by Rosina Lippi, and "Moloka'i" by Alan Brennert. Also on my nightstand, waiting to be read are: "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory" and "Teacher Man" by Frank McCourt. In the meantime, I'm in the middle of "Blood Memory" by Greg Iles -- a thriller written in first person, and so far very intriguing. As you can see, I have plenty of reading to do. So many great books, so little time!
This weekend I'm off to Lewisville Texas to autograph books at Barnes and Noble on Saturday from 2 to 4 with authors Candace Havens, Britta Coleman, Jodi Thomas and Lori Moore. Stop by if you're in the area. Better sign off now. The mail just arrived and there's a magazine with an article about a new, supposedly less painful liposuction I'm dying to read.... :-)