My friends, we live in interesting times! Not just the election and the economy and war and all of that. Don’t get me wrong, all of that is interesting, to say the least, but our focus and energy seem to be misdirected and, if nothing else, misguided. We live in a world where looks and perceived beauty are more important to us than the more pressing issues mentioned above. Vanity has outrun sanity, and there is no end in sight. I was talking to a friend of mine about the new show ‘Living With Ed’, and I mentioned how happy I am that he is a champion for saving the planet and being ‘green’. My friend said, “I just can’t watch that show. He just wears those horrible ‘man-sandals’ and have you LOOKED at his crusty ass feet? UGH!”
Sad, but we live in a world where toenails outweigh the greater good, or have become the greater good. Of course it’s no surprise. Remember when Venus de Milo embodied the ideal of beauty for women? Dear Venus, with her less than perfect abs, and her A, maybe B cup bosom, and her missing arms? Nah, I don’t remember that time, either. And in my case, I think I am built more like Venus of Willendorf, so maybe it’s best if I don’t try living in the past!
But the whole beauty thing is out of hand. I got an email recently from an online health and beauty magazine that touts all of the latest and greatest beauty discoveries that promises that you will transform you from whatever your current sorry state is, and into such a vision of youth and beauty that no one will be able to stand it. The fact that no one can stand you anyway is another issue altogether. But I digress.
The latest is a product called ‘BungGlow’. I know what you’re thinking, and sadly, you are correct. For the low, low price of 49.95, you can have a younger looking, bleached butt crack. South Beach Skin Solutions promises that “you will see results in just two to three weeks!” Folks, at the risk of seeming anal, er, banal, I can only say bullshit! First, there is no way on God’s green earth that I would ever be able to contort my out-of-shape, middle aged body enough to view my own butt crack…not that I have tried. Number two, I would never let anyone else look at the place where I go number two. Trust me. Is there some standard of booty beauty that I was not aware of? I guess the fact that my butt droops is only one ace in the hole, so to speak. Now I have to be filled with self loathing because my butt crack is adding years to my, uh, something. It’s enough to make you run out and drink a case of Kendall Jackson and devour a whole cheesecake. In my case, it actually doesn’t take much.
Of course if you have a positive rectal self image, maybe you have nasty, tired looking feet. And you’re in luck! At Yvonne Hair and Nails, in Virginia, you can make your feet younger looking and more beautiful with a ‘fish pedicure’. I have to admit that this one had me hooked. The basic concept is that you go to the salon, dip your bare tootsies in a tank of warm water, and then they release hundreds of small fish into the water where they proceed to nibble your stank-ass feet for several minutes, softening them up for an Asian pedicurist who then takes over and turns your feet into perfect Angelina Jolie feet. Or something like that. I even imagined myself going for some fish and foot work.
“Hi. I’d like to get a fish pedicure, please.”
“Hokay.” (I slip my shoes off.) “Ooh, you got stank feet. You don’t get fish-icure. You get piranha-cure. Better yet, jump in the tank with Jaws!”
Then I get to sit with the Asian pedicurist, at which point my feet are just useless, bleeding stumps. I think I’ll just stick to the fish with chips. And the Kendall Jackson and cheesecake. That’s what Spanx are for.
I held on to vanity for as long as I could. Actually, until I realized the futility of it and got real. I had to get glasses recently and I was just horrifeyed, er, horrified. See, I finally went to get my North Carolina drivers license. I held off for as long as I could because I knew it would be a pain in the ass transferring my title and getting my tag and all of that. I called the DMV here after we first moved.
“I need to find out about getting a tag and license. We just relocated from Florida.”
“Well bless your heart. You need to bring the title to your car, your Florida license, your social security card, and roughly 3,000.00 in cash.”
“There’s a 55.00 fee to gettcher license, 175.00 for the title transfer, and 2770.00 for the Highway Usage Tax.”
“WTF, er, Highway Usage Tax? Okay, so, can you drop that if I promise not to use the highway? I can drive on backroads….”
“Bless your heart.” (I have since figured out that this is an old Southern expression that means eff you!)
So I went online and renewed my Florida tag. But after that expired, I had no choice but to sell one of my kidneys for the Highway Usage Tax money and get my NC tag and license. So I went to take the test, only to discover that I could not see out of my right eye. I got all of the test questions right, and of course, all of the signs, because even with bum eyesight, it just ain’t that hard to identify the red octagon and what it means. So I got to the vision part, y’know, the one where you have to put your forehead on the bar thingy and look into the machine and read it? So of course I had to go after some big sweaty Bubba, and I so did not want to put my forehead on that thing. Lord have MRSA, er, mercy! Anyway, I tried to read the top line.
“Nope, try again.”
“Ma’am, I do believe you’re blind, bless your heart!”
So I had to go to the eye doctor for a vision test. The good news is I beat the scores posted by Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. The bad news is I had to get glasses, which I have since been told make me look like Sarah Palin. God help me. Anyway, I went back to finish my vision part of the driving test. Now I was clearly able to read the top line.
“ALL FLORIDA DRIVERS WHO RELOCATE TO NORTH CAROLINA AND CLOG UP OUR ROADS MUST DIE! BWUHAHAHAHAHA!”
I should have guessed that.
Jenda reveled in my discomfort and deflated sense of vanity. I agonized over my Republican looking glasses and failing eyesight. What with the glasses and the occasional stray hairs that have begun sprouting out of my chin, I feel like Jerry Garcia. That poor man was never going to meet society’s high standards of youth and beauty. No wonder he’s grateful to be dead! I explained to Jenda that I was a ‘mature mommy’ and that I had developed a touch of astigmatism in my eye. Then I overheard her telling one of her friends that I got glasses because “Mommy’s old and she got stigmata in her eye.”
Ouch! Charity begins at home, but apparently not at mine. But that stigmata in the eye trick will probably be a hoot at parties! Hmmm….
But truly, I’ve just had enough of all of the eternal youth and beauty crap. I am not going to aspire to any ridiculous standards of beauty and I am not going to try to be younger than I actually am. Wonderbra and Spanx aside, I am not going to go bankrupt buying crèmes and potions and pills and having fish gnaw my feet off because it’s supposed to make me look younger and more beautiful. Frankly y’all, the color of my butt crack is like the whole JFK conspiracy or Jimmy Hoffa… no one knows for sure and we never will. I am not going to let animals gnaw the flesh off of my feet or any other part of me. Instead, I am going to tell myself that I am in great shape, because round IS a shape. I think I am going to try to be a voice of reason, a sort of standard bearer for standard looking people like myself who refuse to skinny dip into a school of hungry barracudas hoping to come out alive and with smaller hips. I am going to take on the unrealistic beauty industry. I plan to spend all of my free time lobbying against these cosmetic outrages.
And since I am not skinny and have what could, at best, be called an hourglass figure, I have plenty of time on my ass!