I hate pain. Any kind of pain, physical and/or emotional. I hate pain so much that I can’t stand to see anyone else in pain. This is why I avoided tweezing my eyebrows for so long. The thought of someone plucking hair from my eyebrows literally caused my forehead to tense up and form unpleasant wrinkles at the corner of my eyes. But as the years progressed, the inevitable happened, I started to wax. The first time I waxed my legs, at the Salon, I thought I was going to die. I literally thought the world had ended and I was in some sort of hair removing purgatory, awaiting judgment. So you can understand why I left the salon, with one leg waxed and the other complete with the hairs I had come with. However after more than a few witty retorts from friends, I went back only to put myself under the same ordeal all over again.
It was during one of my, now still painful, regular wax sessions that I had another epiphany. It must have been sometime in-between when the hot honey-like substance was delicately layered onto my skin and the white sheet made Velcro noises as an ample amount of hair was pulled out of my calf and I winced in agony that I asked myself a very salient question. Who am I doing this for? I mean, really, to whose benefit is all this pain in aid of, Whose? Throughout, history, women have been made to believe that men like women who look a certain way. Slim, well-dressed with only a hint of cleavage to keep him wanting more, smothered in some intoxicating over-priced scent, long hair cascading down the neck with absolutely no hair in other places, legs that touch the sky, beautiful skin, and, of course, a killer body. It is this same notion of beauty that has, perhaps, forced women in different corners of the world to alter their looks every 3-4 weeks.
Every time I go to the gym, it is filled with women who, like me, are desperately trying to lose weight. You see us huffing and puffing over the crosstrainer and treadmill looking like we are regretting that last tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream we wolfed down as we watched Tinsel. In the salon, the scene is similar. While men spend less than 30 minutes getting a cut, most women spend an average of 3-4 hours applying all sorts of chemicals to their hair or allowing another human being sew someone else’s hair on-top of theirs. As if that’s not enough, we now have the miracle body shapers that swear to shave off inches from our midriff and thighs so we can look even slimmer and sexier in that little black dress. What the manufacturers of these miracle suits forgot to mention on their packaging is that these suits cut off (much of blood) circulation from the part of the body they are adorned on to the rest of the body. So most women who wear them have to sit in an upright position all through the day, eat very little and breathe slowly.
Normally, I wouldn’t even complain. I am used to the ordeal I have to go through in order to look attractive to the opposite sex. It is something that has been handed down from one generation of women to another. But the truth is, the more closely I inspect these general rules of beauty, I can’t help but think it is we women that have dreamt them up ourselves. It is other women who make comments on the smoothness or otherwise of another woman’s skin. It is women who know whether the hair you paid good money to purchase is real or fake. Again, it is women who are the first to notice that you are looking a little pudgier than usual and, of course, it is women who comment on who wore what to whatever event. The other day, I sat in stunned silence as I eavesdropped on a conversation between some women as they tore, what I believed was a mutual friend of theirs, into shreds. Apparently, the girl was dating a guy that one of them liked and so the other girls saw that as license to tear her apart. According to them, she was a fat, pimple-ridden, non-human-hair or designer-wearing boyfriend taker. She didn’t have any style and was too ‘simple’ to date a sophisticated man like that. Clearly, it had not occurred to these ladies that the guy had ignored all these qualities they saw as important and decided to go for something much more skin deep.
Maybe that’s the problem with us women. We focus so much on the physical and spend very little time in developing our inner woman. We spend so much time focusing on getting the man with our physical charms we completely forget that it is the woman we are within that will help us keep him. Truth is: a good man will undoubtedly be interested in an attractive woman, but attractiveness doesn’t stop at the length of your weave. It has so much more to do with your character, confidence and other innate qualities. Of, course I realize, that not all women dress up for men and that a lot of women just enjoy looking and feeling great. That’s fantastic! But my point is, as much as you enjoy dressing up for yourself, you should enjoy developing other worthwhile characteristics aside from the physical. Devote more time to your career, learn a new skill, read more, invest considerable time in non-physically-related beauty activities and develop your mind. Beauty if a full package and this is the message that we must hand over to the next generation of women.
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