No Fuss, No Muss

How I feel about makeup and styling my hair. (Photo by icke48, via Flickr)

I don’t do “girl” very well.

It took me twenty-seven years to figure out how to handle curly hair, because I refuse to mess with it. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing but admiration for the women I know who can do updos and braids, who know how to use curling irons and blow dryers to make their hair into works of art. I enjoy looking at the results, and if I had money to blow, I’d consider hiring somebody to do it to me.

But I can’t do it. I will not spend more than five minutes on my hair, and that would be considered a special occasion. Truthfully, in my world, good hair results come most often when I throw it up in a clip without looking. The more time I spend on it, the worse it looks.

Then there’s makeup. I am continually befuddled by how many women I work out with go to the trouble of putting makeup on before coming to Jazzercise. I like the look of makeup, but it’s such a bother. In December I had to wear makeup five days in a row, and by the last day, I was gnashing my teeth as I stood in front of the mirror to put it on. And seven times out of ten, the minute I put on eyeliner and eyeshadow, it sensitizes my eye and some speck of dust requires me to take my contact out and replace it, and then all the makeup is rubbed off anyway.

I cannot stand the feel of nail polish.

But it’s not just girly stuff that’s feeling like a real bother these days. I’ve been in a serious no-fuss funk lately. I didn’t want to put up the Christmas village. I didn’t want to put up the garland and bows on the stairs. I mean, I’ve been around this block a few times now. You spend twenty minutes getting the swags just so, and two days later somebody snags one at a dead run and it’s all over for the season. What’s the point? We didn’t pull out the Christmas plates until Christmas Eve, and they went right back in the hutch after they were washed.

Then there’s the “mom” thing. I often wince when I consider what people at my kids’ schools must think of me. (Because they have nothing better to do with their time than think about me and my life. Ahem.) I never, ever remember to have my kids a) bring the stuffed animal, b) wear the PJs for PJ day (except today! Miracle of miracles!), c) wear the spirit day shirt, d) bring the canned good on said spirit day, e) bring the money for the charity…

You get the idea. Frankly, I’m just thrilled to think I can get everyone safely from point A to point B and back.

One of my critique partners, at a meeting one night, said, “Kate, do you have a tissue?”

I said, “Man, you’re asking the wrong ‘mom.’ I have to ask OTHER people for that stuff.”

And this December, when we took Nicholas to his first-and-second-grade concert, I shared my little glow of pride that he was actually, unlike any other child I’ve ever sent to a concert, dressed appropriately.

Christian cocked his eyebrows. “That’s nice. In six years at this school, you’ve sent one kid dressed appropriately, once?”

So much for my glow of pride.

It just seems like there are so many more important things in life than wearing makeup or having a perfect hairdo or having a picture-perfect Christmas display. Like…working on my novel. Cooking really good food. Reading a good book. Sitting in a quiet place. Watching political debates.

Just kidding on that one.

But I’m beginning to wonder if a little muss and fuss might be in order in my life. It’s all about time, and the judicious use of what little I have. Squeezing every drop of productivity out of the moments I have is a matter of pride with me, but maybe I need to allow a little more squandered time. Or at least, to adjust my vision of what constitutes accomplishment. Having a cleared-off computer desk might be nice, you know? Looking nice more than on Sundays?

I don’t know. I’m not committing, yet. I’m just thinking about it.