Category Archives: le beaute

Flip-Flops: The Real Reason Dinosaurs Became Extinct

I consider going to an orchestra performance among those occasions in life when a person should dress up.  A half an hour before the babysitter arrives, I like to step inside my closet and take a look around. Sometimes I even try on as many as four or five outfits before settling on my little black dress.  As my husband and I are heading out the door, I’ll notice that he has once again tried to get away with a dinner jacket and Birkenstocks, so I’ll kindly ask him to change. And while he’s at it, would it kill him to get a haircut?

We went to a Cleveland Orchestra performance (or “show,” as the P-Dawg calls it) a few weekends ago.  I wore a little black dress.  And while sipping chardonnay from a plastic cup in the lobby, I happened to notice this:

Of course, not everyone has a spiffy black dress and sensible pumps or stilettos she can wear to the Rachmaninoff show. I understand that Jesus himself wore sandals and it’s not the 1950s anymore. But if you’re going to an event that’s hosted by a group of men and women in tuxes and gowns, my feeling is that you should dress similarly as a courtesy to them. Would you show up for a planned photo op at the White House in flip-flops and a tank?

We all want to be comfortable. That’s why we take our bra off the minute we walk though the door at night and sleep in our pajamas instead of hairshirts.  We have grown to expect our clothing to be more a second skin, less a sausage casing. The first time I tried to hang a clip-on tie on my son, he acted as though I was attempting an emergency tracheotomy. And I’ll be the first to admit that when I’m wearing a pair of Spanx or nylons, it’s all I can do not to start running in circles and lighting things on fire.

But I still maintain that dressing up is good for you.  If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.  It’s OK if you’re not 100% comfortable. (Remember, I’m sitting just a few seats over trying not to pick my own wedgie.) I think that when we go to some trouble about our appearance, we comport ourselves to match it. I think when we dress up, we become more refined versions of ourselves. We start opening doors we might have otherwise let slam in faces. We become more graceful or more debonair. We’re more inclined to smile at a stranger. We put our water bottle in the recycling bin instead of throwing it away.

Flip-flops aren’t the reason civilization is going to hell in a hand basket, they’re just the stone that starts the avalanche. First you wear flip-flops to the symphony, then you don’t bother to write your grandma a thank-you note for the cash she sent you at Christmas.  Next you plagiarizing your college thesis off the Internet and before you know it, you’re calling the president a liar on C-SPAN and leaving misspelled, incendiary, anonymous comments on someone’s post at Salon.com.  In twenty years’ time, you’re running the country (badly, in ALL CAPS).

I’m just saying it’s a slippery slope, and your flip-flops are perched on the precipice.

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My, What Thick Corneas You Have

Last week, I went for a preliminary evaluation to see if I’m a candidate for laser eye surgery.

First they had me fill out a questionnaire explaining why I wanted it. I knew I couldn’t write “I hate my f#%$ing glasses,” so instead I talked about how they interfered with my quality of life. My glasses are making me fat by impeding my ability to participate in contact and water sports! I live in fear of being trapped in a burning building if I had to escape quickly and couldn’t locate them! Also, they make it difficult to watch TV while lying sideways on the couch.

Not five minutes after I’d handed in my essay (did they read it?), a technician invited me back for a battery of tests. I had made the first cut! For the next hour and a half, that technician poked and prodded me. She had me follow a pinprick of light with my eyes, took pictures from different angles, and shot puffs of air into my eyeballs at random intervals, then snickered when I recoiled. (Optometrists get their kicks from administering the glaucoma test, apparently.) But we had a rapport, the tech and I, and felt certain that by the end of our time together, she would present a glowing recommendation to the surgeon.

When I finally went in to meet him, the surgeon started in on the old “good news and bad news” speech, but I cut him off at the pass.

“Give it to me straight, doc.”

“Well, you’re a . . .reasonable candidate. I like the thickness of your corneas and your pupils dilate beautifully, but . . . [whips out thermal relief map of my eyeballs and furrows brow in concern] there is a bit of dryness I’d like to remedy before going forward,” he confided, pointing his laser at some suspicious yellow areas.

He assured me that he’d performed the surgery with great success on many, many people with my exact profile, but since most peoples’ eyes become more dry for up to a year afterwards, it’s a good idea to “get a handle on the dry eye” before proceeding. Also, there is no way to tell for sure how much drier my eyes will become post surgery and whether or not the condition would be permanent. Still, I left with a prescription for Re$ta$i$ and a tentative surgery date in early June, which I plan on canceling at the last minute.

Then I went home and spent way too much time surfing Lasik message boards, reading posts about Lasik disasters from people with screen names like, “Keep Your Glasses” and “Lasik Ruined My Life.” Who I’m assuming got the two-for-one special at Lasers-R-Us and not the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Center, but still. I find this “reasonable candidate” business disturbing.

What to do? And who will win: my vanity, or the Internet doomsayers?

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I’ll Take That as a Complement

I always wore glasses as a kid. And I’m fairly certain that my gargantuan, chablis-tinted plastic frames, coupled with a short, cross-gender haircut – which I liked to wear feathered and parted straight down the middle (not pictured) – were my main obstacles to social superstardom.

Ninth grade saw salvation and gradual peer acceptance in the form of contact lenses, the kind that would routinely pop out as I went about my daily business. Still, rooting around the bathroom floor searching for your contacts beat the hell out of getting stuffed into your locker by Frank Snodgrass.

Alas, my glasses reprieve was short lived. The contacts served me well through high school and college, then all of a sudden*, I just couldn’t wear them comfortably anymore. I haven’t worn them regularly for over ten years now, and it really chaps my hide. Because even though I have a decent pair of virtually weightless Swiss specs that are the least obvious pair of glasses I’ve ever owned, they still give me a bit of a complex. Whatever! Things could be worse.

Every once in awhile, I’ll put in my daily wear disposable contacts on the off chance that my dessicated, renegade eyeballs decide to cooperate, but it’s usually only a matter of hours before I peel them off and flush them down the toilet in disgust. I had them in today, and as I was going through the supermarket checkout line, the cashier says to me:

“You have such a pretty face!”

Me (blushing): “Oh! Thanks!”

Cashier (recognizing me as a regular customer): “You usually wear glasses, don’t you?”

Me: “Um, yeah. I have my contacts in today.”

Cashier: “It makes a huge difference in your appearance.”

Me: “Uh, thanks.”

Cashier: “Just lovely.”

Me: “Yeah, I’d wear them more often if they weren’t so uncomfortable, you know what I mean?”

Cashier: “Such a pretty face . . . Hey, Carl! (to bagger) Take a look at this young lady, don’t you think the contacts really make a difference?”

Carl: “Oh, yes! Very nice!”

Cashier: “She usually wears glasses.”

Carl (contorting face in disapproval): “I see.”

Cashier (shaking head): “You should wear your contacts more often. It’s a shame.”

Me: “Thank you.”

Cashier: “No, really, I mean it.”

Me: “Okay, thanks.”

Cashier: “Have a nice day.”

Then me and my beautiful visage hightailed it outta there before the stroke of noon, when I was scheduled to morph back into a bespectacled hag.


* Following a recurring, untreated case of conjunctivitis that may or may not have been triggered by poor contact lens hygiene habits.


“Beauty”


“Beast”

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