Last week I wrote about bait and switch, about how we sometimes don’t present ourselves accurately when we meet someone new or are in the beginnings of a relationship. G Sandwich remarked:

Don’t we all spruce ourselves up when we meet someone new?

That’s a fair question: I know I’ve agonized what to wear on a first date, or what to wear to a party when I knew the aim was to meet a guy. I’ve dressed more sexy, highlighted my assets, worn make up…done what I could to look my best… I mean, it’s sort of like the peacock fanning his feathers, we often do certain things so that we can be noticed by someone who we find attractive.

Fair point.

But how different is your “normal” look from the one you portray when you go out?

There’s a scene in the first episode of “Mrs. Maisel” where the title character gets up an hour before her husband, does her hair and her makeup and all, and gets back into bed so that he never sees her not looking her best. Of course- that was supposed to be the fifties, and I don’t advocate that behavior ( the lack of sleep would get to you after awhile), but I want you to think about this:

If you spend a lot of time and effort to look a certain way when you meet someone, to lure them in, why don’t you spend an equal amount of time once they are hooked?

In a relationship, how quickly do you go from full makeup and nice clothing to ponytail, lip balm and sweats?

I wear make up every day. I wear perfume every day. I do my hair (well- I’m not great with hair but I do what can be interpreted as working on it every day). I’m always clean. I do grooming every day. Every day.

I don’t do this so that my husband will find me attractive. I don’t do this so others will find me attractive.

I do this because it is who I am. I like make up and products and all these things. It is part of what makes me me…

If I am spending the day writing, I admit I am in sweats and a t shirt because that’s my comfy outfit for sitting in a chair for hours.

But…

If I am going out, even just running errands, I am dressed. I get dressed in an outfit with jewelry and accessories no matter what I am doing. I do this because I like all these things and it makes me feel good about myself. I dress for me…

Yesterday I posted a picture of a dress. I wear this dress multiple times a week. I might wear it with a short tweed jacket for going out to a nice dinner. I might wear it with a moto jacket if I’m doing something trendy, or a cardigan for book club, or a long flannel dress for a museum outing. I switch up the shoes or the accessories, but I look a certain way whether I’m out with my husband, my friends, or just by myself. (full disclosure: I have stopped wearing heels- it’s change/evolution/growth/whatever, but I try to wear “nice” flats or low heels)

What are you saying to someone if you really go all out to look good in the beginning of a relationship, but then stop once the relationship is going on?

Are you saying that someone is only worth the effort if you are trying to lure them in?

Why would you represent yourself differently?

I get that love is supposed to be about the inner qualities- appearances shouldn’t matter…

But…

Aren’t you sending a mixed message?

I must be attractive to get you to pay attention to me…

But then I can stop being attractive because now you are only supposed to love what’s inside?

Fall in love with the outer…

but then only love my inner…

If there are vast differences in how you present yourself to others when you meet them, there are eventually going to be issues. A woman might wonder why her spouse no longer shaves or gets regular haircuts. A man might wonder why his spouse no longer dresses sexy. They might love the inside, but the outer you was what was attractive in the first place…do they have a right to feel duped because you just don’t make an effort any more?

What’s the difference between sprucing up, and wearing a mask to hide who you really are?

 

 

80 thoughts on “Toss Hair, Check Nails…

  1. It’s complicated by the fact that we’re all many selves. We show a part of or one of ourselves at different times. Your description of dressing and making up confirm that we do this for ourselves, related to identity and self respect.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good points! I always find people being their natural selves more attractive. Their natural being might involve make-up, dressing-up etc. If these come naturally to them, they should do this. But if they don’t feel like it, then forcing themselves is not good.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’ll be fun to see where this one goes over the week. I’m mulling things over in my head right now, trying to remember how much differently I presented myself during that relationship building time. There are things that I did then, ie: always makeup when I was out and about, hair always washed and “done”, etc that have fallen away over time but I think the basic person I was then is still the person I am now when it comes to appearances.
    I am more about the concept of what my plans are and if that means looking professional or “together” I do that. Spending a day with the grand kids…well they get grandma completely natural and in grubby clothes!

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  4. I like your question. What is the difference? Mask? Real self? I can only speak for myself but I don’t like it when women wear a lot of makeup or go to great lengths to fit a societal definition of beauty. I find that that to be phony. And frankly, I think they are more beautiful without it. And if the external is more important to that person, well, I doubt we’re going to be together a long time. I usually dress more for the occasion, which can be pretty much causal all the time in this country now, unless it’s during business hours. I gave up trying to impress others a long time ago. That’s putting way too much importance on what others think.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I had a friend once tell me to improve my wardrobe – else I’d never get a good date. That didn’t happen only because I liked my white t-shirts and jeans. I told her I felt like I would be lying about who I was! I moved to Colorado so I could be myself which means a lot of jeans and not a lot of makeup.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. So, if I “get dressed” to work in my home office each day I am trying to produce an image for the outside world?
    Ok, I am not a fashion person and my skin is allergic to most makeup so I don’t wear it. But, I think I was raised to present myself to make a good first impression. So, dress up, a bit of lip stick, and look your best when you are heading out the door. Now, I am nicely dressed each day but the “going out” is something different. But, totally for me! I am a bit vain even at 54. So, I want to feel good and look good. I have to admit hose and heels are not my thing anymore and I get comments from Dutch women that not wearing them is not appropriate. Really? That is stupid! Nice blog to get me outside my box, thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Whatever you do, you need to feel comfy with your appearance. I have seen people go to great lengths to appear a certain way, and the. As soon as they’re married, they stop caring about themselves. I don’t understand the not caring anymore

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Studly and I lead very casual lives, so dressing up is an occasion. Having said that, I never leave the house without makeup on, my hair as cute as I can make it, and a nice blouse. I might wear jeans with boots or capris and flip flops 99.999999% of the time, but when I leave the house in them I look put together. And very seldom do I lounge around the house in sweats. I have to be feeling icky to do that.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I think the bigger issue of bait and switch isn’t hair/makeup/clothes related because most people have comfy in-the-house clothes and where I live athleisure wear is the norm. I too, usually wear makeup, always have my nails done, sometimes do something with my hair, etc. But I’m the hiking/gym classes version of this, not city girl.
    But again the REAL issue for me regarding bait and switch is related to what you do not how you look. Do you go to movies, museums, fancy restaurants, dive bars, sporting events, play sports, act frisky, cook romantic dinners, read books, etc. to attract someone and then stop doing those things or complain about doing them after you’ve landed them? That’s the bigger problem. The exterior changes are minor.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Don’t worry…it’s only Monday. The other stuff is on the way… but I think either thing is major if it’s major to you. If my husband stopped shaving I would have a huge problem way worse than if he stopped going to movies with me

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  9. If I go outside the house, I have to look decent. What I wear at home and what I wear out in public are two very different things and always has been, so what I would look like and wear on a date isn’t the same as if I stayed at home, but I didn’t hesitate to allow someone I was dating to see both sides.

    It used to be that you wouldn’t catch me dead going out of the house without at least a little eye makeup, but I can’t wear makeup anymore (fun eye issues). It took a really long time to get comfortable with that. My daughter on the other hand, refuses to wear almost all makeup, even for her dance recitals (girls usually wear stage level makeup) because she says that it doesn’t look like her when she wears makeup and doesn’t like it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My daughter always wore heavy eye make-up when in high school, but didn’t continue into college, too busy really. When it came time for her wedding since she would be photographed she knew she wanted her make-up done professionally, but wanted it very natural no false eyelashes etc. She looked great and so much like herself.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. When I go out on laundry day I usually feel self conscious. The down side to having a small wardrobe is that I’m often washing everything at the same time….but I just don’t like going out of the house not in my uniform

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t even like to go and sit in the truck while BG is assisting without being in what I consider decent clothes. If I feel bummy at all outside of the house, I can’t stand it. When I’m home, give me all the cozy clothes!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I am not a big makeup person, hate having my nails, and no fancy hairstyle. This is the authentic me. But, I am into clothes and like to dress up, this is the authentic me too! I feel when I want a big pick me up or esteem boost I will put on more makeup, might put my hair up, and paint my nails myself. There are events though that I feel peer presseured or maybe societal pressure to doll myself up and even have my nails done. I am not sure if I want to “fit in” to these certain events or do this by by habit. As for attracting the opposite sex, I guess I did doll myself up more when I first started seeing Steve, but I think it was more because when we dated, we went to events and activities that I still would doll myself up for now. So I guess I am not sure whether I was doing it to attract him or following norms for places we went.

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    1. The whole societal norms for how we dress is confusing. How much should we/do we adhere to things…I wNt to a wedding over the summer. I knew at least part of the wedding would be outdoors. I wore silver sparkly flip flops with my dress, and I didn’t care. This topic is worth revisiting though

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      1. I agree! I’d like to think adherence to norms is not the same as peer pressure but I’m not sure. Is it our peers who make us want to adhere to norms or is it something in ourselves. Personally it may be hearing that little voice in my head that repeats my mother on how I should act, dress, and behave in social settings!! I mean seriously I am not sure if I will ever be comfortable wearing white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day!!! Lol

        Liked by 1 person

  11. In the past I always made sure my hair looked great, that I had on a little makeup and some jewelry when I left the house . My philosophy was that An extra half hour was necessary if I wanted to feel my best. It’s funny how ridiculous that all seems now that I am having chemo and battling cancer.

    Some days if I can brush my teeth I’m doing great. It’s all relative isn’t it? I now believe it’s about a positive attitude and being in good health. When you sit in an infusion room with women of varying ages, all fighting for their lives, you notice their inner beauty. We are all at different stages of baldness. Chemo changes your skin color, it makes your skin extremely dry. You lose your eyebrows and eyelashes too. So what do I notice? I see beautiful smiles. I see strength and hope. I hear woman encouraging other women. All of us wear comfortable clothing because nothing fits anymore. And the room is freezing so we all are bundled up with sweaters and blankets .

    Yet, all the women look beautiful to me. Some chemo visits I am feeling well enough to use a little blush and will draw on eyebrows with a special brow cream made for cancer patients. ( It goes on skin) But most makeup irritates everyone. I always cover my head with a cap. But there are brave women who proudly bear their baldness in public. I’m not that secure. However, I’m getting there.
    I’ve always dressed for myself not others because I liked how it made me feel. Now I do the same. If I feel crummy, I don’t bother with makeup. If I’m up to it, I put a little on. It reflects my health not my looks.

    What I’ve learned through all of this is that we judge others too harshly. When you notice courage, smiles, and a desire to fight illness then everyone becomes beautiful. I’ll never color my hair again when it grows back. I’ll never judge another person’s choice of attire since they may have had surgery and aren’t able to wear normal clothing. And Ill spend more time looking at smiles and the twinkle in someone’s eyes. I am learning a lot about what beautiful really means. ….
    Have I changed? Yes. But for the better I think. (My chemo caps are pretty flamboyant that’s how I show my wild side. ) Sometimes our authentic self doesn’t find its true nature until we face a challenge….

    Liked by 6 people

    1. That’s a very good point. We do judge others harshly, and we shouldn’t because it’s everyone’s choice as to what they should wear, you we’re not in their shoes so we shouldn’t judge. And sometimes we need to face hardship in order to see it.

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  12. I suppose it makes a difference as to what lengths you go in the beginning. I always wear make=up and do my hair, but this is mostly because that is how I feel comfortable. My husband met me this way and I have continued. If I did myself up as if I was going to a formal affair on a daily basis then it would be different. Maybe how you become introduced is connected to how you continue. I always try to continue as to how I want to proceed from then on. On a side note, I have never liked the term “hooked” it seems dishonest and something that was against someone’s will. This train of though you have going here is very thought provoking.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Used to be I wouldn’t leave the house without showering and doing my hair (I never wore face makeup but did wear mascara and eye shadow, some lip gloss) even just to take the kids to school. By the time the youngest was in middle school and I no longer got out of the car, I was driving them in my pjs, especially since I work from home. Now I get dressed every morning to take the dog for a walk but I don’t shower until I get back. I do dress up when we go out, but still don’t wear much if any makeup. Hubby is retired and sits around in sweats all day so neither one of us is expecting anything different. My mom (at age 96) however, still gets dressed with makeup and jewelry every time she leaves the house even if it is only to the grocery store.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I think having kids changes how much time some women are willing to invest in appearance.
    Before I had kids I was willing to spend a lot of time on my hair. I have fine straight hair and I used to get it permed(would make it much easier to style). Now I try to do my best within the capacity of what my hair type will allow. If it is humid….any attempts at styling are wasted.
    Thinking about getting my hair professionally colored in an attempt to cover up the grays.
    I generally don’t do my nails but got a gel manicure last week and I am liking it. I’m a nurse and there is some teaching against having painted/long nails.
    I have had some periodic skin/eye issues where my skin really rebelled against makeup and so I have went without before.
    As a side note it really really bothers me that there is less focus in general on this topic when it comes to men. Not a fan of the unshaven look, not on my husband or anyone else. Maybe because my dad was always clean shaven?
    I have a 17 year old son and a 21 year old daughter. My son likes to be up to date with his hair cuts and he lifts weights, but otherwise there is nowhere near the pressures to do this or that in regards to his appearance, as there is for my daughter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would get pretty annoyed if my husband stopped shaving….the problem with woman is sometimes there’s a societal norm to spend time on beauty where women judge other women. And some mothers put pressure on their daughters, and then women buy into having to look a certain way to find a partner….it’s a vicious cycle

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve always wanted to look presentable in public, so the sweats are for at home. But as I have aged, I learned I got the “wrong “ grandma’s skin. Makeup will not help much anymore, so he’ll just have to deal with the old crone I’m becoming.😉 Anyway, he used to always tell me he thought most women wore too much makeup and he didn’t care for it.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Points well taken. I agree with Kate. Having children shifts the focus away from you, leaving less time for general “fixing” up. I think that’s only natural. There are only so many hours in the day. Personally, I’d rather see a mom with no make-up and clean kids than a mom who’s dressed to the nines and children are in tatters. I’ve seen it, of course, and it makes me very sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. But there’s a big difference in dressing to the nines and being presentable. Then…what if the kids dress themselves? My mil used to be mortified that my daughter went out with different socks and never matched….define tatters…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mean a woman who’s dressed very nicely and her kids are dirty, hair not combed and dirty clothes. I have only seen this a few times, and it’s very upsetting. I’m not talking about mismatched socks. I wear them too. 🙂

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      2. But that’s not necessarily the right way either. I believe kids come first, but not to where the parent loses identity. And I also think kids should be dressing themselves from as early as possible and puck out clothes the night before. I’m big on choosing battles and what my kid wore was never one of them

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  17. You’re on a great roll with these posts! Of course I’m reading from most recent and catching up on the ones I’ve missed. But I’m like you – I even shower before going to the gym which may be counterproductive but it’s who I am. Rarely have I been known to leave the house without a shower, hair presentable and make up on, even just a touch of mascara and lip gloss at the bare minimum. As for when I was married, I was always presentable when he returned home from work, especially if I had been home that day. Nobody wants to come home to a messy wife was how I was raised. Even if I were in sweats, I had perfume on. It’s been part of my daily routine forever.
    Now that I’m divorced, I still cling to the old ways of rarely leaving the house without a shower and dressing nicely. When I go out with friends, I always make the effott because that’s how I was raised so I don’t necessarily think it’s bait and switch b/c it’s what I do and what I’ve always done. You’d get the same girl at home too.
    But I have relaxed my weekends and if I’m not going anywhere, you can find me nestled in sweats, no makeup and probably not showered for the day, but I’d hop to and shower and dress if the opportunity to go out was offered!
    I like that you sound similar to me in the perfume, dress up and want to feel good when you go out even if it’s only to the market. Were you raised that way? Or is in innate? Just wondering….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My mother was big on appearances, but there’s so much to this that would need to be explored on a greater level. There’s a big difference between grooming, and dolled up

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  18. Wearing a mask is wasted on me. It’s just like lying, which I’m terrible at. Always have been.

    I don’t wear dresses or skirts anymore. The reason is I can’t put on nylons anymore without ruining them (disability). I do have “home” clothes and “going out” clothes. The “going out” clothes are a little more confining to wear, but they make me feel presentable in public.

    I don’t wear makeup anymore either. I didn’t ever wear much to begin with and the cost crimps the budget a little too much. However, I don’t go out until I have a newly washed face. I do wear cologne every day. It’s just one of those things that makes me like the day better.

    I do not understand people who wear the mask, and then take it off later. Where is their dignity? Do they dislike themselves that much they feel they MUST put on a mask?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Interesting post. I wouldn’t dream of going out with a naked face and had thought I also did this for me but I don’t. If I did, I would also wear make up and cute dresses when I was alone and I don’t – the minute I’ve the house to myself it’s sweats and bare faced all the way. I realised that I care what people think, I want to be the glam one, the one who always looks fabulous.

    Liked by 2 people

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