I’m not a particularly dressy-uppy kind of person. Hailing from a practical, Midwestern family, both my sister and I would prefer a quick ponytail to any amount of fiddling around in front of the mirror. The two of us have even noted how unlikely it is that we would look at ourselves openly in front of a mirror in a public restroom. We dash out, so that no one sees us looking at ourselves.We must have inherited some kind of ingrained belief about liking ourselves being sinful. Isn’t that ridiculous?
In my late teens I remember writing a poem with a line that said, “I see you going out to see painted ladies with itchy stockings and I don’t want to be you.” I was attempting to write an angry treatise on my feelings toward superficial seeming, vanity-stricken women and probably thought I was quite clever. The reality was that I was cut-off from my femininity and ultimately, my own personal power. I had no idea, until I began traveling in Latin America and saw new ways to revere the feminine, that dressing elegantly and wearing make-up could be an expression of femininity instead of a desperate attempt to receive approval.
So now I do these activities from time to time because there is some kind of mysterious power and allure that seems to accompany the process. Why should I be a stranger to feeling good? It’s good vanity, my partner would say. It does feel good, and I love this picture. A bullring, in Spain, on a warm summer evening, wearing a dress and a suit and hearing the crowd roaring, “Ole!” is just plain FUN. That night will never happen again, and we really enjoyed every minute of it.