A good friend of mine posted something on Facebook about Hillary Clinton's hair. How it was unattractive, and couldn't she do something with it? It was not supposed to be taken too seriously, yet I felt my own hair on the back of my neck stand up. I read comment after comment about how bad Hillary Clinton's hair looked.
I left a comment saying, maybe she likes it that way.
I think hair is a huge issue for people. Some of us have great hair and some of us don't. Some like it long, some like it short. People care about how other people look. Although I defended Mrs. Clinton's right to wear her hair any damn way she wants, I noticed. The last time I saw a picture of her, I noticed. It's not that flattering.
I notice how people look.
There lies my huge hypocrisy.
I care how I look. I care because it makes me feel better to look good. Good is subjective, of course. Several years ago I made the trip to upstate New York to visit the brothers I hadn't seen in twenty years. The one who picked me up from the airport said, Oh, no, you cut your hair. The second one, upon arriving at the home said, Oh my God, what did you do to your hair? Why would you cut your hair short? What did your husband say when you came home like that? Did you wear that outfit on the plane?
I liked my short haircut, I liked the outfit I wore on the plane, or I wouldn't have worn it. I think I look better when I have mascara and lipgloss on. Two things I am never without. I have friends who haven't held a mascara brush in years. They look fine. To each her own, I say. Yet sometimes my thoughts intrude. She'd look great with a little touch of (fill in the blank.)
I grew up in a family that cared how people look. My parents sat in the basement in front of the black and white Zenith television set. Totie Fields was fat. Joan Rivers wasn't feminine because she was a comedian. Barbra Streisand needed a nose job. Ed Sullivan looked half-dead. These were only a few of the judgements made in the basement of our home in the 1960's.
I apparently also care how people look, but I'm working on that. I make judgements all the time based on looks. It's an unconscious habit. A learned response. A product of monkey mind. I try to catch it every time I see myself do it.
Here is an example of what went on in my head on a recent Metro ride: Pretty girl, ugh those sneakers with that dress! who wears green nailpolish? love her outfit! cute guy! too much make-up, pull your pants up, Dude! socks with sandals, gah, Oh, I love her haircut! that's a great color on her...
The judgements are not all critical, they are often complimentary. But I ask myself, Why am I judging in the first place?
I think it's a good idea to learn how to dress appropriately for work, and for social engagements. I think it's okay to really like fashion and admire the latest haircuts on the train. What I don't think is okay, is the constant judging that goes on in my head, (and maybe in yours too.)
My daughter is beautiful, hates make-up and doesn't wear it. When she is home visiting, I still fall into the habit of calling out after her as she's walking out the door. Do you want a little blush?
The thoughts are so automatic, I think they are ingrained in me. Too fat, too skinny, nice hair, bad hair... I actually don't seem to have much control at this unenlightened point in my life to stop them. But at least I catch them. And I try to remember that maybe they really like their hair, their glittery nailpolish, their too fat/too thin bodies.
I care how I look.
But I shouldn't care how you look.
I'm working on it.