Friday, September 28, 2007

Intimate Details

Red Queen recently won a rather amazing prize from her job where she gets to go to a spa with a few of her friends and she has graciously chosen me as one of those friends.

I'm very excited. It's October 14th, so one week before I leave for Nashville and I'm sure I will need the facial, back cleansing and massage and that it will help me gear up for the trip.

Here's my dilemma:
Do I really want people to look at my skin that closely. I don't like my skin very much. I had bad acne and have lots of scars and gunk in the pores. I don't like to have bare skin in public.

Isn't that silly?

Musing has explored this question recently, here and here. Why do we worry about what total strangers think of us? As if we are somehow abnormal? As if they (the viewers) are not also plagued with body odor and excess hair and gunk in their pores. As if they are not worrying about how we view them.

I have felt obliged to use my skin lotion more religiously to try and reverse years of damage (like frantically flossing two or three times a day in the week before going to the dentist as if that will prevent the dentist from knowing that you have only been flossing every few days for the six months before). I remember an old friend writing an email to me once saying that she had just 'masked' her face and looked seconds younger. I thought that was great.

I actually get massages semi-regularly now because I have a friend who is a masseuse. We trade for services--though I don't know that I have a lot to offer her, so I am reluctant to suggest it unless she does. I remember one time apologizing as I realized that I had stubbly legs.

Now, the silly thing is that she doesn't shave at all and I know that. She decided sometime ago that the whole thing was silly. Of course, she's a red-head so her hair is fine and nearly invisible. It's a little different with Asian hair.

But is she simply more comfortable with herself than I am? I guess it's partially the first impression thing--one wants to seem polished, but again, I'm unlikely to ever see these people again. There will never (or unlikely to be) a second impression. I have, for instance, a very relaxed relationship with my hair cutter and I don't worry about unplucked eyebrows with her, but I didn't have that relationship with a previous hair cutter and worried about appearing "worth" his time. The cult of (minor) celebrity. One is cool in proportion to how little you seem to care about it.


musing said...

For me, I think being teased as a child for how I looked contributed greatly.

Also, it seems it's just a fact that we're judged by our appearance. I just heard somewhere that people, based on looks alone, size up someone in the first three seconds and decide whether or not they want to know him or her better.

Novel said...

Oh, absolutely. I never could afford the right clothes and had acne and was too skinny. That all adds up to how one reacts in the present day. I'll be going back to those old haunts for the first time since I left for college. I'm afraid of seeing people, even though I probably look better than a lot of them.