Bad Hair Day

Me and my hair have always had an apathetic disengaged relationship. It acknowledges me with politeness during holiday gatherings, inquiring nonchantly regarding my current “escapades,” but the indifference cannot be disguised. For the past two weeks, however, the tension radiates for other’s to pick up on: “your hair is quite…” they stammer, “getting long.” They are polite where my strands are not…gangly, limpy, just hanging there…content in deadness. But, the hair has to stay for a couple of weeks until my Locks of Love task…but in the meantime, I complain about it more than I complained of a lack of sun in the Seattle Winter!

Today, the comment was “you have to worry asillykbout your looks so much because you are single.” Which is funny, because I truly think all women have borderline personality disorder when it comes to their hair. The comment was NOT from a man, however, but a married nurse, who by the way, has vibrant highlights. I shuddered at the remark while appearing cool, “ I guess it makes up for all the time not spent putting the toilet seat down…”

 My feminist rational brain defended against this remark, until, despite my strong denial, I accepted that sometimes, I really wished I was in a relationship because when I’ve been in one in the past, I felt good about my appearance, and good that everyday, someone was responsible for noticing me.

Now I know that a lot of relationships do not cultivate such positive body emotions. And that really it is about the individual’s sense of security. And I don’t worry about my appearance because I don’t have a relationship (let’s reword that: I don’t always  think I am single because I feel ugly). But I think she was wrong about the connection between being single and worrying about your appearance…

I have always de-identified myself from my appearance (I took me years to recognize that I am petite at 61 inches). And now, I realize that the appearance thing is really about a sense of worth, a sense of mattering…So I didn’t worry about my appearance and being single, but sometimes, of whether or not I’d ever matter to anyone intimately.

 Are you in a relationship? Single? Should I be more worried?

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10 thoughts on “Bad Hair Day

  1. In difference to Carla, I’m going to pass on the red shoes and dress.

    Appearence, of course, does matter and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. However, it is my experience that women worry more about how they look in the eyes of other women more than they do about what men think. Let’s face it, a man can be attracted to a woman in a McDonalds uniform. We are not exactly discerning.

    Now I’ve been married for so long I have lost touch with the dating world, so I am probably a bad person to dole out advice, but stay true to yourself and what you want to be. Anybody who you are going to be happy with for the long term is going to love you for how you really are anyway, so don’t hide it.

  2. Hey, nice toilet seat comeback! Well done. I am always too slow to think of a retort.

    I think that just as people can tell if you’re putting on a different personality in order to acquire a partner, people can tell if you’re obsessing over your appearance just in order to get a partner. But if you just work with what you’re comfortable with physically–puce shirt that doesn’t match your skin tone but is comfortable versus the yellow shirt that does but itches your neck–then the attractiveness of a comfortable person will overshadow any benefit gained by choosing proper color schema, etc.

    That said, I struggle with appearance issues often–and yes, my hair is a Major Bane Of My Existence. It is SO STRAIGHT. My curly friends complain about their curls, but they have no idea what it’s like to have hair that for thirty-five years has Done Nothing. Couch potato hair!
    = )
    CC

  3. I’m not sure there’s an exact relationship between your relationship status and your investment in your appearance. I’m nearly 30 and have had one boyfriend to speak of, and I can almost guarantee that was because of my eating disorder and other psychiatric melodramas and less because I don’t like wearing makeup. I have a pixie haircut because I can’t be bothered to wake up earlier to style my hair (and I have a fear of curling irons). I refuse to act different than I really am to get in a relationship.

    @Chad- you’re spot on. I feel much more awkward around other women than around guys. Guys are potential mates; women are competition, and it is fierce! I used to get hugely jealous of women who looked all put-together and such, but it has helped immensely to realize that yes, I could dress to the nines, too, I’m just choosing not to.

  4. “Are you in a relationship? Single? Should I be more worried?”

    No-yes-no.

    I never worry about my looks as A: I can’t do much about it and B: I don’t want to do much about it.

    Let’s face it, we may be attracted to people because they look hot or pretty or handsome, but when it comes down to it, if there’s not much upstairs, then there probably won’t be a meaningful connection anyway.

    Hygiene is important, looks are what they are 🙂

  5. First off, awesome for doing locks for love! I did it last year and it was an amazing experience 🙂 I think it’s important for you to feel good about yourself… so if that means dolling up and layering on the makeup and highlights… good for you… for me it means feeling confident about myself, going to the gym and eating healthy. As long as I’m doing good things for my body I’m confident and happy 🙂

  6. Thanks for this, because you’re right! One minute I feel super confident and the next, HATE my hair. That woman probably was having a bad hair day, too. And sometimes, no matter what you eat or what you run, you feel yucky. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. At times, I’ve “let myself go,” but for the most part I feel best about myself when I feel good about my looks. By “best,” I don’t mean “best” in the sense of “attractive to potential mates” — I mean confident as a human being, as a teacher, and as a scholar. As a person who CONTINUES to struggle with acne (!!!!!!) even at age 30 (!!!!!), I know the value of NOT worrying about my body (or hair). If I I know the physical looks great, I feel ten times better when I have to put my best “self” out in public — especially since I’m representing my intellect every time I’m on campus to teach or for meetings.

    So I guess the short answer is, I do “worry” about my hair, but only so I don’t have to worry about it.

    — Lisa

  8. I think it’s human nature to want to look pleasing to the eye in public. Unfortunately, it’s a fact that we do judge by appearances quite a bit, even when we don’t intend to, so I think it’s only natural that we’ve evolved to want to look attractive.

    How important that is to any individual varies so widely. It’s true that some people feel like they have to dress to the nines at all times in case they meet “the one,” and it’s equally true that some people really let themselves go in relationships because they no longer feel like they have to impress. But I think everybody has their own baseline in terms of physical maintenance, and we all tend to return to it. So, if you’re, for example, a laid-back person who likes to run around in sweats and you force yourself to dress more fashionably because you’re hoping to meet someone, eventually, once you’ve got him, you’ll end up back in sweats. In my experience, I’ve found that some of the guys I’ve dated were a little disenchanted when they realized I’m the kind of girl who likes to wear sweats at home.

    So, just extrapolating from my own experience, I think it’s best to keep up your day-to-day appearance in the way and to the degree that you want to. That way, anyone you attract will be interested in you for who you really are and won’t be disillusioned later on. The truth is that quite a few guys out there prefer girls who don’t wear heavy make-up or follow the latest trends. They like girls who have their own style or look a little different or quirky. How you dress communicates something about your personality, and I think that can be helpful in attracting someone compatible.

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