Mirror, Mirror

self portrait


When I see women stepping off their boats, their clothes all crisp and neat, their makeup perfect, their hair coiffed just so...I know immediately, they're not liveaboard women. If they were, they'd start looking like me. I read a comment somewhere that while men get more “manly” the longer they cruise, women get less feminine and I think it's true.

I went for a long overdue haircut the other day. I usually cut David's hair and he trims mine. Every once in awhile, however, I need some shaping and that's not within the realm of David's many fortes. The fellow who cut my hair wondered what cave I'd crawled out of. “Wow...you really need a good cut, huh?” When I explained I needed a simple cut, shoulder-length so it would still go into a pony tail or a French braid, no blow-drying allowed, no gel, no hairspray, he was perplexed. “I don't own a blow-dryer” I said “and I can't be bothered with all the goop and sometimes I just need my hair out of the way and under a hat.” He shook his head. He wasn't quite listening and I now look like a Dutch boy... with a square cut, all even, chin-length. It'll grow.

The truth is, once you're on the boat for awhile, the make-up, the manicures and pedicures (what are those?), the home facials … all of that goes away and I never even give it a thought until I look into a mirror that actually has some lighting. On the boat, we have a couple of mirrors and actually I find myself thinking I look rather good at times … in the dim light. When I visit the marina showers and look in the mirror there's a rude awakening. OMG! Who's that with all the wrinkles and the dry skin and one eyebrow extending over both eyes? Mottled gray roots an inch long? Someone must be standing behind me? Oh, no...it's really me and it's always a shocker! Lady Clairol, where are you?




Way back when I was part of corporate America, I wore silk blouses, worsted wool suits, scarves, jewelry, bling. I had haircuts and manicures regularly. I even wore leather high-heel shoes. I had a whole closet full of them. I've traded all that for t-shirts, fleeces, jeans, shorts and deck shoes… all complete with rust stains, bleach spots, bottom paint, holes and tears. All purchased at thrift shops instead of Macys or Bloomingdales. Everything I own is either easy-care, non-wrinkle or unwearable. We don't have an iron aboard either. We hang things up in the wind and hope the wrinkles and the diesel fumes will blow out of them. I am a mere shadow of my old self.

The “good old days” included a hot shower every morning, blow dry/curl the hair, full make-up...a 20-30 minute process each and every day. I was pretty fastidious about my dress and appearance. And now? Same jeans or shorts for days, showers regularly, but not necessarily daily and definitely not always hot. Haircuts … a couple of times a year...sometimes less. Manicures/pedicures...ancient history. Make-up? almost never except when we're in town or going to some special occasion and even then, sometimes I forget to put it on. Why put on make-up when you have to goop with sunscreen every time you go out and wear a hat?

When we were back in the States last time, I had to learn how to apply make-up all over again. There was so much more of everything available. All those wrinkle removers and concealers. It seemed weird to feel the necessity to apply make-up everyday. I was pleased when we went camping for a few days, so I had a break and didn't feel the necessity to “put on a face”. I was bummed, however, when there wasn't enough room to bring back extra make-up items in our luggage this last trip. When I returned to the boat, I was surprised to find a stash of extra make-up that I'd brought back last time...two years ago...still in its original packaging, untouched.


self portrait 1


David never complains. Perhaps he sees me as I was 20+ years old. I can only hope so. He still tells me I'm beautiful. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and I'm glad he sees me through those eyes. Am I complaining? Not really. It's partly the aging process and partly another one of those compromises we talk about...one which I willingly make. I'm really only aware of how badly I look when I'm looking into a mirror. Easy to rectify that problem, huh?


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