Janet Sheridan: Pursuing beauty
“Joel,” I cautioned, “your meeting starts in 20 minutes.”
“Yup,” he replied, concentrating on the endless game of computer pool he plays. “No problem.”
Five minutes later, game finished, he went from shaving and showering to out-the-door in 10 minutes.
How does he do it? In the same amount of time, I’d still be assembling my shower accoutrements.
In December, Joel and I attended a dinner-dance fundraiser in Craig. I’m certain the lovely ladies in attendance needed a chunk of time to prepare for the party, while the men got ready during an ESPN commercial break.
When I run an errand looking like I’m going to a come-as-you-are party, I envy the time-management skills of the women I invariably encounter: women with demanding jobs, clean homes and happy families — not to mention plaques for volunteer service — who look impeccable from their shiny hair to their crimson-colored toes.
How early do they get out of bed?
I have trouble corralling enough minutes in a day to keep my eyeglasses looking good.
Recently, I dropped them off for repair after stepping on them and snapping a temple sidepiece. When I returned, I was told, “Sorry, Janet. We couldn’t find a match, so we had to substitute. Your frame isn’t made anymore; it’s outdated.”
Choosing new frames takes hours of study, consultation, and indecision, so I wear a dark maroon frame with one neon-blue, rhinestone-studded sidepiece.
At least they cleaned my lenses, which cured my cataracts.
My nails and hair, in particular, require an inordinate amount of time and seek revenge if I rush.
When I decide polished nails will endow me with glamour, it’s because I’ve forgotten the many ways a self-manicure can go awry.
After completing the warm-up activities — cleaning, filing, cuticle control — I rummage through my collection of nail polishes: a multitude of small bottles holding minuscule amounts of questionable colors grown sluggish with age. I choose Very Berry and give the lid a mighty wrench; it’s impossible — like trying to twist a flagpole out of cement.
When hot water, rapping on the counter, and gripping the lid with a nutcracker fail, I enlist Joel. He twists the cap free while reading the newspaper, a casual act that makes me want to scream.
Next, I apply the polish — too quickly and too liberally. Once, after I gave myself a pedicure, my husband remarked, “Looks like you dipped the top quarter of your foot in a bucket of red paint and called it good.”
I invariably do damage before the polish dries: I reach for a pen and gouge a trench across three nails. I go to bed thinking the polish is dry and wake up with implanted sheet marks. I pull on mittens too soon and attend a party with fibers waving from my fingertips.
Then I have to I glide through the festivities with my fingers curled into my palms — making it difficult to get a grip on the appetizers. I smile brightly, hoping the chaos of my nails will go unnoticed because of the distraction provided by my hair.
After I outgrew an uncombed ponytail, I spent years and hours trying to make my hair as straight as Mia Farrow’s in “Peyton Place.” In the 1980s, I tried time-consuming perms, wanting the big hair of Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction.”
When I finally allowed my hair to do its wavy thing, it was time to start coloring it — another drawn-out disaster.
Years ago, I heard a fashion expert explain successful accessorizing. He recommended that women put on the jewelry, scarves, belts and hair adornments they intend to wear, then examine themselves in a mirror and remove one item before leaving the house.
This male expert evidently felt we women over-do.
Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I remember his advice — and decide to remove my scalp.
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