Friday, October 21, 2011

Locker Room Revisited

A couple of months ago a friend asked if she could use one of my blog posts as a monologue when she auditioned for a play. She found a post she thought would work and we worked together on revising it. She auditioned for the play, scored the lead, and the highlight of my life was that I got to see the play AND see my name in the program (she thanked me in the program, that's huge!). Anyway, it was really fun and just yesterday I saw something in the gym that reminded me of this monologue inspiring experience...someone was combing their eyelashes with a toothbrush. Is this normal? I should make a poster "Everything I Need to Know About Personal Hygiene I Learned in the Lifetime Fitness Locker Room". Because really? It's true.

Locker Room
by Kristi Bassett

I grew up in a family of five. But it was kind of a weird family of five because I had three siblings who were, WAY older (I may be slightly off here but I believe my older siblings were ages 17, 14 and 13 when I was born). And my brother Shawn, who was just four years older than me, was too busy plotting ways to raise my parents blood pressure to pay much attention to me. So - for all intents and purposes I was basically raised as an only child, with some of the joys of having siblings thrown in there - like being impaled by horse chestnuts each fall and having to watch Shawn turn his eyelids inside out just to torture me while riding in the backseat of the car (gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking back on it).

What I am trying to say here, is that I never learned how to be a girl. Really, I didn't. I mean sure, I would sneak off with Stef at recess and discuss the intricacies of menstruation. And once on a shopping trip with her family we even pooled our money together and bought deodorant (which we secretly applied while riding in the back of the station wagon). But I didn't exactly have anyone around who I could mimic- who could teach me the ins and outs of being cool, boys, and most importantly of things like make-up.

I mean, sure, I tried to mimic my mom - which is how I assume most girls learn how to primp and pamper. Growing up in the 40s she clung tightly to the trend of nearly shaving off your eyebrows and then penciling them back on, creating a look of permanent surprise. But when I tried to do the same thing I wound up shaving an eyebrow completely off and cutting my eyelashes precariously close to the lid. And maybe some people can pull off the uncle Fester look, but unfortunately, I am not one of those people. My quick thinking saved me a punishment when I falsely accused Jimmy, my childhood friend, of being the mastermind of the assault on my face. And though my eyelashes and brows have long since grown back, she’s still working on treating Jimmy civilly.
What I desperately needed was someone two or three years older who was infinitely cooler than myself, who could be my mentor. I needed DJ from Full House or Topenga from Boy Meets World, but unfortunately I hung around with more of the Kimmy Gibbler crowd, and it showed.

The moral of the story is that the locker room at the gym baffles me. I’ve never been around so much estrogen! There are women in there primping and prepping in ways that I never even imagined. Straightening Irons, finishing creams, powders, potions, it’s overwhelming! These women are dolling themselves up more for an afternoon play date than I did for my wedding! I can’t say I blame them, rather, I admire them! I want to look nice, I want to pucker my lips and trace them and make kissy faces in the mirror without looking like a moron. People probably think it's a bit odd to see me gawking as they meticulously apply their make-up, but I simply can’t help it, I want to learn!

The bottom line is.... I saw someone blow-drying their eyelashes yesterday. And I don't understand why. Is this something I should be doing? Am I unaware of some health hazard resulting from simply letting your lashes air-dry? Does it make them darker? Curlier? Or have damp lashes just gone the way of my beloved boot cut jeans? Are they sooooo 2009? I am kind of panicky about it because as much as I want to embrace my femininity and apply the knowledge I gather from the gym locker room, I can sense a revisiting of the whole "shave the eyebrow" incident, only this time involving fire and eyesight impairment rather than just social suicide. But on the other hand, they do say that pain is beauty...

What else am I missing out on? And for the love, will someone just invite me over for a sleepover and teach me the fine art of putting on eyeshadow? I'm 28 years old, I think it's time I know.