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Archive for February, 2011

Another day, and I’m once again — job hunting: slow-going, confusing, overwhelming and confidence-slashing.

This morning I started off with productive intentions. I searched news sites and Twitter feeds for articles pertinent to my fanciful job ideas. Then I treated myself to just a peek at Facebook where I saw a local Jcrewville mother posting about moving her blog to a new host site. I barely know her, even though we’re technically friends (and I mean that literally). So I got right to stalking.

After getting 404’ed multiple times, I did find her Twitter feed, which led me to contemplate following her, which led me to re-visiting my own profile, which led me to re-designing it, which led me to losing two hours of  job hunting in lieu of a slightly prettier profile background. And because I’m so research-inclined, I went back to her tweets, comparing them to my tweets (or lack thereof) in order to discern her social media prowess versus mine.

Wondering who won? Please, I don’t gossip. 

Three hours later, I was no closer to drafting one (just one!) cover letter than I was yesterday.

But then yesterday, my daughter was puking, so I gave myself the day off to wipe puke off the walls, wash five hundred loads of laundry, and scrub doorknobs, remote controls, phones and faucet heads until my hands were raw. Somewhere around 4pm, I think I brushed my teeth (can’t confirm that 100%).

The whole time I kept asking myself, do I feel sick? Am I getting sick? So to ease my suspected illness, rattled nerves and enormous dose of self-pity, I ate everything white in the house: white bread, cold pasta, crackers, toasted bagels with cream cheese and vanilla ice cream.

Now today, I’m not only behind on things, I’m bloated. My black stirrup jeans (yes, you heard that right) are tighter than appropriate –if stirrup jeans were ever meant to be appropriate after 1985. 

This afternoon I forced myself to go the library where computer time is limited to 60 minutes. It’s quiet here and there’s no fridge to taunt me with cold, simple carbohydrates. 

I am finding the folks around me highly distracting, however. I think the guy next to me has a tick. He keeps gesturing at the screen every (and I’m counting here) 20- seconds as though jabbing an imaginary friend with a “what the hell?” Oh, and he’s scribbling non-sensical (and I’m glancing here) tally marks on a napkin in between gesturing and typing. He’s wasting my time, and after much effort to ignore him, I only have 10 minutes…

…and three hours to come up with today’s answer to my husband’s daily question (which he still does, despite my pretending I didn’t hear him): “Soooo, what did you do today?” 

And that’s the sad truth here. Meanwhile, what did you do today?

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“Hey, your hair looks GREAT,” he said.

My face flashed hot as I fumbled for a response.

“Um, thanks? It’s ah, I er, wha…it does?”

I saw fear in his eyes.

“Didn’t you just get it done?” he said.

Suddenly my daughter and his daughter appeared behind me. We’d been standing in the doorway, waiting for his daughter to gather her things, and that’s when I got it. When my daughter called to invite his daughter over, I made sure everyone knew I was running late from an appointment. For my daughter, “appointment” means “highlights,” and she must have told them I was getting my hair done.

“Ohhh, no,” I said. “I wasn’t getting my hair done. I was at the doctor’s. But thanks for noticing my great hair,” I said, giving it an exaggerated Betty Rubble pat.

He laughed and went on to say that his wife (who happens to be one of the most gorgeous women I know) comments that he never notices her haircuts, so now he always compliments a woman who’s had her hair done.

“You are well-trained, my friend…and I mean that in a good way.” I said laughing and waving good-bye.

I shut the door and thought: well now, that was awkward.

It was silly. I was almost relieved by his benign intentions and yet, a teensy crestfallen that they’d been such a mistake. I realized it was the first time in near decades a (cute) man other than my husband had made a comment on — or even seemed to notice — my appearance. And for a nano-second, it was kinda nice.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any desire to be a MILF. MILFs eat salads. I prefer burgers. They wear lipstick, hoop earrings and bracelets. My biggest Saturday-night effort involves Burt’s Bee chapstick and the same fake gold studs from Kohl’s. Bracelets I pull out for Christmas and weddings only.

No, I don’t want to be leered at by the other dads at Family Fun Nite. That’s gah-ross. Further, if I overheard my husband telling some other woman how great her hair looked, I’d feel a bit sick.

But the exchange did give me pause. Once we get married, we are off the market –but does that mean we’re not to be noticed? Is married status the modern, suburban equivalent of wearing a Burka?

I don’t aspire to get compliments from other men, but over time, does that somehow contribute to a feeling of invisibility? Even though we strive for achievement in areas beyond our looks, when we go decades without a non-spousal compliment on our appearance, how does that impact our feelings of femininity?

Maybe that’s why we give our girlfriends so much feedback. “You look so skinny in that,” we say. “What a cute sweater!”

I don’t know what it all means. I’m not losing any beauty sleep over it. But with Valentine’s Day around the corner let me just say this — to all you great, funny, talented, intelligent, thoughtful, ambitious, compassionate, creative women out there: You are beautiful, and your hair looks great.

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