When you think about some of the ways us women try to enhance our appearance, and the resulting pain / debilitation from those efforts, it’s no wonder men have a hard time understanding us.
For instance, skyscraper heels – I’d rather be uncomfortable, on the verge of tears in agonising pain, and left hobbling on aching, tortured feet for days afterwards with blisters that weep more than the dayshift in a onion peeling factory, than wear sensible shoes that do nothing for my legs. And apparently I’m not alone in this thought – there’s almost an entire gender that feels the same way.
I mean, just look at these puppies! (I’ve also got a pair in hot pink!)
In fact, during my University days, I spent my grocery money on an utterly fab pair of shoes and had to survive on boiled rice and Vegemite sandwiches for the next two weeks. Was it worth it? Of course it was! My feet were mangled beyond recognition, (pain that was numbed with the anaesthetic properties of Vodka), but my legs looked awesome in my little, black dancing shorts, and as if the dancing-queen faerie herself had sprinkled her ‘groovin’ dust all over me, the shoes even made me a better dancer at our usual hangout, the ‘Mad Cow’ tavern.
The financially astute among you are probably asking how I could afford Vodka but had to eat rice and bread. Wouldn’t it be better to spend my money on food that was nutritionally balanced, that would wrap my brain cells in all the goodness they needed to propel me to the top of the Business faculty and not on a luxurious and frivolous item like Vodka? Yes, of course it would be. But where’s the fun in that? Besides, the DJ at the ‘Mad Cow’ took a liking to me, and my longer legs, and supplied me with drink cards for the next six months. I believe that’s what was called, in the Business faculty, an excellent return on investment!
How about body hair? Mohair stockings and scary bikini lines don’t leave me feeling feminine or sexy. I’d rather live with the regular stinging, teeth-clenching pain of having hot wax poured on my girly bits and my pubic hairs ripped out by the roots than look like a mountain gorilla. I’m not sure where this procedure originated, but I am hoping that, through the generations our DNA will adjust to the new hairless body of the female and will naturally evolve itself into a Brazilian state of being. That way, my great, great, great granddaughters may not have to suffer the trauma of wanting to scream like a banshee when the wax is being pulled off, but having to hold it in for fear of being ushered out of the beauty therapists, with a half waxed muff, by security.
Before the luxury of foils, I used to allow a hairdresser to stab me in the head with a crochet needle as she extracted seventy or so small wisps of hair through a very large condom on my head that resulted in a monster headache and red marks across my forehead for the next three hours. Just when the sores on my scalp had healed, eight weeks later, I would call on all my strength and courage to go back and have it done all over again. Bless the hairdresser who created foils – I could kiss your peroxide splattered feet.
In my teen years my friends and I would squeeze ourselves into our ‘Faberge’ jeans, which were so tight they could have doubled as compression bandages to prevent deep vein thrombosis. We had to throw ourselves backwards on the bed and struggle to pull the zipper up with a coat hanger. Sometimes there were two or three friends on the end of that coat hanger, performing a tug of war with the reluctant zipper as I breathed in and tried to make my tummy as concave as possible.
We would then pull each other up from the bed and have to stand stiff legged until the jeans warmed with body heat and were able to stretch a bit, which almost resulted in partial movement of the lower limbs. It also meant that we were completely numb from the waist to the ankles, were incapable of sitting down for fear the jeans would split and usually developed bladder infections from holding off going to the loo until the jeans had warmed up enough to be manoeuvred back into position without three friends helping. But it was sooooo worth it because, in our minds, we looked fabulous. Or should that be ‘fabber-ulous?’
So, why do we do it? Why do we put ourselves through pain, disfigurement and physical torture? Well, I can only answer for myself, but it makes me feel good, positive about myself, confident, happy, radiant, because I am a girl, and for the most part, girls like to look pretty, to feel pretty, to be told they are pretty. I don’t do it so that my husband will compliment me (although if he doesn’t there’s trouble), I do it for me – the best reason of all.