Is it a sin to like the skin I’m in?

A while back I went to watch an SA rugby game… Not my usual thing but it was an important day and there’d be cold beer. I could live with that. But I tend to drift off… I won’t lie. Sport can do this to me, but I don’t want to blame the rugby game here. It’s just something I do. While everyone else sat glued to the big screen under the marquee tent, my eyes moved around the venue. I can’t help it. I’m a people watcher. There’s no malice to it. I just like to find a quiet corner from which to purvey my surroundings. But this day a certain unease was settling in. I began to feel like Dickens’ Scrooge, confronted by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, as I found myself swimming in a sea of long bottle blonde hair…

I thought back to the last time I’d gone to the hairdresser and had highlights at the insistence of my family that it would ‘give me a boost’. It had cost a pretty penny too. Fuck that, I thought. I was going to put a stop to this vicious cycle. I’d been my natural colour for years and it had never bothered me. Blonde in the sun, and that dreaded colour in the colder months: ‘mousey brown’. But I dug my hair, whatever the season. And when I go grey, well I’m old. Shit happens. I ain’t drinking from no perpetual fountain of youth. That stuff’s expensive and to be honest, I’d rather spend my money on Thai food.

But that’s not the long and short of it, I have to confess…

The other day, I decided it best to throw away the mascara I’ve been using since I was a teenager. Expiration dates and all that. I am in possession of one solitary red Chanel lipstick my aunt passed on to me when she grew bored of the colour. Admittedly, it’s a great lipstick. And I can’t be bothered with foundation or blush because well, skin is skin right? But I began wondering lately, am I missing something?

I mean I have to give it up to girls who have mad skills with make-up. Cat eyes are awesome. But I could never fold notes into those damn hearts and I guess make-up is just another skill that passed me by sometime during my adolescence. These days I just figure I’d rather take up knitting. Or read a book. But does this make me less of a woman? Is it wrong that I simply feel comfortable in my own skin? Some days, I suspect I may be committing a crime. Just liking who I am…. Liking the person who falls out of bed and throws on one of the ensembles flung over the laundry basket… Don’t get me wrong. I get fat days. And I know when my hair is looking flat. But I can’t seem to muster enough energy to care. I guess I just look in the mirror and think to myself, That’ll do. Surely  that makes me some kinda weirdo…

With a beauty empire growing increasingly fat from our wallets, it feels almost taboo not to give a shit. A disservice to myself and to any man I date… Is it delusional for me to think that my looks are relatively inconsequential in life? Is it laziness? Or can I take comfort and tell myself I’m staging a revolt? A convenient means with which to justify my dirty nails and lackadaisical attitude towards all things cosmetic… The verdict’s still out on this one.

All the same, I’d like to dedicate today’s post to the mother who thought I was beneath her son because I didn’t ‘look after myself’. There I was thinking my charm was my offensive.

And I guess in the end, what I’m most left pondering is this: Would a man ever find himself asking these questions?

Above:  A classic example of ukiyo-e-cat by Hishido Shunsou

Featured image by the one and only feminsta who went where many still scare to tread today, the majestic Frida Kahlo, who never feared the dark for all It taunted her…

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