Saturday, 6 August 2011

If I was a grown-up.....

..........I presume I would have some clue what "eyebrow threading" is. I was offered this the other day (on my way to buy Kilner jars and sugar - chutney doesn't make itself) by a woman lurking in my local shopping centre. I wasn't sure what it was - a new hobby? Some sort of craft? - so I smiled politely, dodged round her and fled into Sainsbury's.

This is my standard method of dealing with those awkward situations, the ones which make me acutely aware that I barely qualify as a grown-up woman. I use it, for example, to get through those intimidating perfume/make-up halls one finds at the entrance to Jenners and Harvey Nicks and John Lewis. Actually, I am guessing about Harvey Nicks. I think I am the only woman left in Edinburgh who has never been in there. Anyway, those places scare the life out of me. They are a sort of over-fragranced minefield one must traverse to reach the good bits of the store (in my case, usually the cookshop). Following that analogy to its logical conclusion, that would make those daunting, immaculately made-up young women in scary white uniforms the ravenous alsatians. They fill me with that level of fear and trepidation. I know if I have to speak to them for any length of time, they will figure out that I Am Not A Real Grown Up and I will be sentenced to wear a bag on my head for all eternity.

I am almost ashamed to say, aged 44, that I don't wear make-up. Ever. Oh, I have been known to put on a bit of mascara and lipstick if forced to get dressed up for some business dinner or other but we hardly ever do that sort of thing these days. And since Jen told me that it is not in fact a good idea to keep using that one ancient tube of mascara I have had since before First Born arrived (it is not electric blue, but given its vintage, it could have been) I am even less likely to do so now. Jen reckons that mascara only keeps for about 6 months, tops, and since we only go out to something that might require a bit of slap about once every 2 years, that means buying a new mascara every time I need to wear it. That's just not going to happen.

I wonder if perhaps I am missing some sort of critical female gene - for example, I hate clothes shopping and shoe shopping in particular. More likely I am just too darn lazy, but for whatever reason, I never got into the make-up habit and doubt I will now.

And since I am in confessional mode here, I must also confess to not using skin care products either. I once went for a spa day with my mother to Stobo Castle - it was a gift for her and I reluctantly agreed to tag along. We both had a French facial (I have no idea what made it French rather than, say, Hungarian, but that's what it said on the itinerary) and as part of the process, the efficient young woman in the lab coat asked me what my skin care routine was.

"I wash it" I mumbled. "In the shower. With shower gel."

I could tell by the angle of her eyebrow that was the wrong answer. After the facial I was presented with a lengthy prescription for precisely the sort of cleansers, toners, moisurisers and little pots of magic I should be applying daily to my criminally under-maintained face. Needless to say, I binned it. Not only would buying that stuff mean interacting with the scary Perfume Droid Girls, but the price of it was astonishing. I couldn't help calculating how many books I could buy for the price of a teeny tiny little pot of Eye Bag Unguent and it frankly didn't seem worth it.

So I am afraid I am going to stick to my shower gel skin care regimen. I am going to wash my hair in whatever shampoo was on offer in the supermarket when I did my weekly shop and if I run out of shampoo, I will probably not be afraid to use washing-up liquid. Again. And I will enjoy my books and console myself with the thought that I am probably more the sort of Earth-mother-y, unglamourous sort of female who may never have plucked an eyebrow, but who can not only bake cookies, but make chutney. Hopefully.

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