Posts Tagged ‘Vanity’

Many of us have probably already watched Katy Perry’s music video, “Part of Me.” In that one particular scene after confronting her cheating boyfriend, she went into a public restroom and started chopping off all her hair in a fit of tearful rage.  After that, she signed on for a tour with the marines in Iraq and began a grueling training to become one of the meanest fighting machines the world has ever produced.

Although most women do not necessarily join the marines after going through a major life-changing experience, it is generally a truth that the desire to control that which seems to be uncontrollable becomes so great that we try to control that which seems to be feasibly controllable – our hair.  Of course, other women have enough vanity in them to not actually try to raze their own hair so they solicit the help of a professional hairdresser.  However, something more drastic than just a trim is bound to happen like coloring it from black to blonde or getting a perm or having it chopped off from waist to ear level.  Others who are less adventurous would just stick to cutting their own bangs just to feel like, “At least that didn’t turn out to be such a disaster.” If the purpose is merely to show off and not to change something in her psyche, then a woman would generally not do something so immensely drastic to her hair.  It was after all Coco Chanel herself who said, “a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” The bottom line:  women have a very special relationship with the hair on their heads.

I was asking my brothers if they felt the same way about their hair and, of course, they did not.  My younger brother does apply some blonde streaks to his black hair from time to time but it is more of a show-off thing rather than a control thing.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the socially accepted concept of feminine beauty appears to be directly related to none other than a woman’s hair.  I heard a group of guys talk about how pretty one of my female classmates’ hair was and one of them said in a loud, obnoxious voice, “Well, that’s what she uses to flirt and play around.” Not cool, bro, not cool.

A male friend was once put on the spot by a group of girls who were asking him questions about which girls he found more attractive – the long-haired ones or the pixie-haired ones.  He told them that he found long-haired girls to be more feminine because the long hair showed him how different the girl was from him – a guy who preferred to keep his hair close to his scalp.  On the other hand, he also said that what he liked most about pixie-haired girls was that he could see their pretty faces without them hiding behind long hair.  That last one, I’m not sure if it’s complete bullshit but, at that time, it sounded so freaking good to female ears.  His point though?  To each his own; whatever floats his woman’s boat.  This is one guy who knows better than to come between a woman… and her hair.

vanity crap

My little project began during senior year in college and, although it never persisted for more than a few months at a time, it still took up a big chunk of every single year since then. Let’s call it “The Vanity and Bare Essentials Challenge.” Captain Obvious, double-check title please.  This has something to do with female vanity and existing without the stuff women think are essential to them such as facial wash, moisturizer, lipstick, conditioner, body lotion, daily panty-liners, foundation, and many, many more – you get the drift. Open any girl’s bag and you’ll find very few who do not carry a beauty kit. Ask any girl for a tissue and she’s bound to pull out a pull-up.

This project took root during an out-of-town trip with some girls, when we’d ended up staying overnight somewhere remote, and one of them freaking out because she forgot to bring her vanilla-scented hand lotion, insert epistaxis here. The wanderlust in my veins spurred me into thinking that, since I am bound to get stuck somewhere unexpected and remote time and again in the future, I had to start training myself emotionally and mentally to survive with the barest of essentials without freaking out just because I forgot to bring moisturizer. What if you’re backpacking across Southeast Asia and could not find any store that sells your particular brand of lip balm? Freaking out over these things sounds very nonsensical.

It is a fact that female vanity is innate in all women but, if millions of other women who cannot afford beauty products can survive without them for most (if not all) of their lives, why would I be any different? As such, this project was more than just a I’m-so-kickass-‘cause-I-don’t-need-no-conditioner project. It was a way of impressing onto one’s brain that, despite the blessings one has been receiving from family and other benefactors that has led to a relatively easier way of living, at the end of the day, all women – all people – are the same. It just so happens that, for other women, Lady Luck has been very kind in this lifetime.  Being grateful instead of being ignorant or indifferent about it is the point.

On the other hand though, there is nothing wrong with being the kind of woman who wants to maintain herself, especially if she can afford it. To each his own. It was, after all, Coco Chanel, who said, “It is imperative that a woman fixes herself up even if only for the sake of politeness,” or something to that effect. Personally, it was only when I started facing patients that I truly understood what she meant because, these days, one has to always keep in mind that, when a patient looks at his/her doctor, he/she should already feel confident and hopeful that you can treat him/her. A disheveled countenance does not exactly inspire confidence, does it?

There was a time when my project was at its peak that I went for three days without taking a bath. Of course, I barely left the dorm at that time but, then again, if I had, I wouldn’t have known if I looked like complete and utter crap because I’d given my mirror away too. Over the years though, the rules of the project became more lenient.  Ergo, I have become just like most girls. But I can also survive on a mountaintop for two days with less than a liter of water to use for hygienic purposes. Disgusting? I think so too but we, bare-essentials people, are kick-ass like that… or so I’d like to think, haha.

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