One thing about being a stay-at-home mom: personal maintenance takes a back seat. Oh, I know I could claim that my life is all about my kid, which would make “letting myself go” sound far more saintly. But the truth of the matter is that my appearance just doesn’t matter like it used to; my forays into public consist of driving to and from school (at which point sunglasses and a slap of lipgloss suffice), and the occasional trek to the grocery store, pediatrician’s office, or karaoke night at the local bar (all of which require that I actually change out of pajamas).
And yet, sometimes it just gets to me… the unkempt hair, the complexion that looks like I’ve been washing my face with a Brillo pad, the eyebrows that look more like caterpillars facing off for battle above my nose. Seriously, thanks to the Iranian part of my heritage, if I don’t keep on them at least every few weeks, I start looking like this guy:
Not a pretty sight.
So, the other day I got a wild hair (I mean that literally, since bikini waxes are something else I seldom make time for) and decided I simply had to
put down the bon-bons and get my ass off the sofa make time for personal maintenance. I shaved. I exfoliated. I oiled, steamed, filed, buffed and polished. I even picked up a home highlighting kit and decided to give myself a few sunny streaks to liven things up while I grow out the short “Mom haircut” I got a few months ago. Besides, I figure, highlights would hide just how much gray I’m getting up there.
Well, it turns out, I’m not just getting gray hair on top of my head. (No, this is not where I write about using a home hair-coloring kit to tint the downstairs carpet. I solved that little problem with a big jug of Nars, thank you.) My eyebrows are getting gray, too! Egads, is there no end to the indignity of middle age? So, after a stiff shot of vodka (which, by the way, tastes like crap in one’s morning coffee), I dusted off my tweezers and magnifying mirror and settled down by a sunny window to take care of business.
That was Mistake Number One. Because those mirrors? Oh, man. Every pore, every broken capillary, every wrinkle, flake and itty bitty hair looks ginormous. It’s enough to make one cry, really. Or to dump out half the coffee and replace it with even more vodka.
Turns out, drinking alcohol is not a smart thing to drink before deciding that waxing an arch into one’s eyebrows might be a good idea, since alcohol increases blood flow to the skin, and hot wax combined with increased blood flow to the skin leads to big, nasty looking scabs when you rip the wax off. Also, a lot of swearing.
By that point, the kitchen timer was telling me it was time to rinse the highlight solution out of my hair, but I was too busy mopping up the rivulets of blood flowing down the bridge of my nose and settling into the massively enlarged pores on my cheeks. So I grabbed an ice cube, telling myself I’d rinse my hair just as soon as I staunched the bleeding.
Naturally, I forgot all about the time. Apparently, drinking coffee mugs full of vodka will do that to you.
It wasn’t until an hour later — yes, an HOUR — when my husband and son came home from wherever it is males go when it’s time to do family chores on a Saturday. And there I was, puttering in the kitchen, my gait decidedly bow-legged (hey, YOU try waxing your crotch at home for the first time in years and see if you don’t walk funny, too!) with folded wads of tin foil sticking out from my head like shingles and the skin above my nose finally starting to scab.
And they said nothing. Not one word. Because, although I’ve apparently failed to train them to help out with household chores, they’ve somehow trained themselves not to comment negatively about my appearance… even when it’s much deserved. (It’s possible my shrieking temper tantrums when they’ve pointed out that my pajamas seem to be getting too snug again may have had something to do with this.)
Flash forward several more minutes to when the third mug of coffee with vodka (hold the coffee) hit my system. My bladder about to burst, I dashed to the bathroom to pee where, of course, I saw my reflection and screamed, not because of the huge red welt and dark scab between my brows, but because the damn highlighting foils were STILL there!
Convinced my hair was going to break off in chunks, leaving me once again with hair short enough to prompt strangers to assume I had gender identification issues, I carefully unfolded the bits of foil and found… perfection. Carmel and honey-colored streaks the shade that my stylist, despite repeated efforts, never obtained without first taking my hair platinum and then trying to disguise the damage (and frazzled ends) with toner. Beautiful, pretty streaks that added volume to my hair and, most importantly, disguised the gray. Streaks that were, in fact, so gorgeous I wanted to style my hair and go out somewhere to show off how awesome it looks.
So, after dabbing on aloe and a thick layer of foundation in an effort to conceal my eyebrow-waxing mishap, I suggested to my husband and son that we all go somewhere, maybe for a nice lunch at a restaurant we’d been wanting to try.
And darned if they didn’t immediately remember that it’s Family Chore day, and that they needed to tackle their bathroom, clean the garage, wash and vacuum the cars and rake leaves in the yard. Since I’d finished all of my own chores, they said, I should take some time for myself to do something relaxing, like maybe take a long bubble bath followed by a nap. In hindsight, their sudden interest in doing chores can probably be attributed to the fact that, thanks to three cups of vodka laced with coffee, I probably looked a lot like this:
But who cares, right? I not only got time to tame my eyebrows but ALSO time for a nice, hot bubble bath and a nap…which, thanks to the vodka, occurred simultaneously.