When You Look Good, You Feel Great

ID-100188924I stopped reading beauty magazines a couple of years ago when I realized a couple of things. First, I always walked away from them feeling kind of bad about myself. I mean, I’m not a size zero and while I have been described as “hauntingly beautiful,” it’s usually as a joke. Secondly, I can never afford anything they’re advertising inside, so if I happen to fixate on something, which, trust me Toy-With-Me-ers, happens pretty much any time I do anything, ever, I get all misty-eyed and despondent, because, no, actually, I cannot afford a six-thousand dollar purse and next to it, the two-hundred dollar knock-off looks cheap and crappy. My hopes of somehow become an heiress at age thirty are rather dismal, and while I’m still hoping to be swooped up by some millionaire, it’s probably not going to happen. PROBABLY. MUCH. MAYBE. I DON’T KNOW.

Let’s just say, if you’re a multi-millionaire and you’re reading this and you find me charming, GO AHEAD AND EMAIL ME. bats eyelashes

Part C, the nail in the coffin for these “magazines for women” is that they’re really all about “pleasing your man.” Which, okay, I mean sometimes it’s helpful to get some blow job advice, but frankly, any man I’m with should be so lucky to be with me that he should be figuring out how to please ME. I don’t need advice month after ever-loving month about how I am supposed to give him a better orgasm. Because, hi, what about MY fucking orgasm? And what if I’m gay and don’t have a man to please?

Anyway. I’ll stop myself now before my head explodes into a pulpy mass onto my computer screen.

In my whole “stomping away from beauty magazines because they’re blatantly sexist” thing, I’d forgotten the one key thing that the beauty magazines I’d read when I was a teenager taught me: when you look good, you feel good.

See, Toy With Me-ers, it’s been a long time since I had to bother trying to look good. In the past couple of years, I’ve popped out two crotch parasites and now I stay home with them. Maternity chic gave way to nursing mother chic (if I never see another v-neck shirt, I will be happy) which gave way to *sniff sniff, is this clean? chic. And what I do for work can be done butt-naked, wearing a sarong, or a gorilla suit in any location, anywhere, providing that I have internet access at some point, so dressing nicely has never, ever mattered. The three people who see me on a regular basis don’t even care if I have legs, let alone if I’m wearing a full face of makeup.

So I let myself go.

Not in the I-dove-headfirst-into-a-box-of-Little-Debbie’s, because that’s not my thing, but while I’ve been sloooooowly removing the baby weight, I really haven’t bothered to do the things that make me feel good about being, well, me. Where my children have always had shiny new clothes, I’ve made do with the ratty-ass things I had in my closet, not because I don’t love clothes—I do—but because I didn’t want to spend money on buying anything in a size I didn’t want to be. That’s a vicious cycle right there. You look bad, so you feel bad, rinse repeat.

Like half of the internet, including Toy With Me (woohoo!), Your Aunt Becky is going to that great big conference, BlogHer, in New York City on Thursday. I’m even speaking there, if you can believe it (everyone say it with me now, “poor, POOR, BlogHer”). When I realized that I’d be not only meeting friends who’d lived entirely in the computer before but in front of people who would probably snort at the gigantic holes in my clothes, I realized that something had to be done. Something…drastic.

I had to start taking care of myself, even if I wasn’t precisely the same level of dead sexiness I’d wanted to be. So I did. I went shopping, didn’t actually gasp when I saw the numbers on the pants (!!) and began to try on some clothes. While I may have been aghast at the resurgence of 80’s fashions, a funny thing happened as I swiped my credit card again and again (besides the credit card companies rubbing their hands together greedily): I began to feel…good.

Certainly, many of the things I would have liked to have bought didn’t fit properly (but when DOES it, really, now?), but as I walked from store to store, I wasn’t…weeping. In fact, I felt better than I had in months. With every sparkly thing I acquired, I felt, well, PRETTIER. Could the beauty magazines that I had forsaken been right? I almost didn’t believe it until I went home and twirled in front of the mirror in my new duds. I wasn’t exactly singing, “I Feel Preeetttyy!” but it would probably take a frontal lobotomy for that to occur. Thank God.

It dawned on me, as I’ve been trying to make sure that The Good People of the Internet do not think that I merely crawled out of a hole in the ground like a mole person, that all of those times I picked up an extra SOMETHING for my kid, I could have been doing something nice for myself instead. I’d appreciate it a hell of a lot more than they do. And from now on, I’ll be doing just that, because as soon as I realized how much better I felt when I didn’t dress like a hobo, I went through my closet and threw away everything that either didn’t fit, made me look like an ugly misshapen lump of oatmeal, or was holey (and not like a priest).

I’ll probably never be one of those people in the grocery store at eight in the morning with a full face of makeup mostly because I’d rather chew off my own toenails than go to the grocery store at eight in the morning, but from now on, I’ve got to remember that occasionally, beauty magazines might have something to offer me. Besides how to tantalize my man in bed. Because trust me, Cosmo could learn a thing or two from me.

So what do you think, Toy With Me-ers? Are you good about taking care of yourself? Am I an ignorant slut for ignoring myself for so long, or, you know, just an ignorant slut? Have you noticed that you feel better when you look better?

Photo by aopsan



  1. karen

    I was a follower of Flylady, the maven of home tidiness, until I had my third kid in the middle of an insane in-house kitchen/bath/whatever reno. I lost it. But the one thing I continued to do was to have clothes that I wasn't ashamed to be seen in. Not too many, mostly black for easy matching pleasure.

    The best thing I did this past year was to buy a really really really really expensive ($200) bra that held my not-small cans (they of the "what a rack" type) just so. Everytime I put that bodacious boulder holder on, I feel totally pulled together.

    I have a trip planned to the States (I'm a neighbour to the North, Great White) and hope to score some not as precious but equally as form perfecting items for the coming year as I wore the other one right out! (Any great bra shopping location suggestions in the Portland and Seattle areas graciously accepted!)

  2. I completely relate Aunt Becky. The fear of letting myself go, not just physically but spiritually is exactly why I started blogging. Everyone automatically assumes that my blog Glamamom is all about make-up and fashion. But it's not at all. It's the little things that keep me inspired and feeling "glamorous." Some days glamour is taking a shower, other days it's finding time to workout. Overall, it's about trying to recapture just a moment of what I had before becoming a mother and embracing who I am now that I am.

    Your hair looks great and NYC is going to love you. See you soon. And if you don't know where to find like tampons or gyros at 4 in the morning, just holla and I'll point you in the right direction.

  3. Just Jen

    I love this post! I always feel better when I'm put together, too. I actually never shop for myself either, but last weekend, my favorite consignment store had a $10 bag sale, I go every year, and I got over $200 worth of stuff for that $10!! I went home, washed everything, and then did a little fashion show for The Man. And I felt AWESOME all weekend!!

  4. Nic

    I have to be careful not to fall into the” I don’t give a shit” rut. It’s so hard to get back out. I am always amazed how something small like painting my toe nails lifts my attitude up.

  5. shadowedge

    I just did the closet purge, and am loving getting dressed without needing to scream "Damn it, why do none of my pants FIT?" and then crying in a puddle on the ground.

    I've been hitting the thrift stores, and delighting in my finds: I have pants (and shirts) that fit again! and makes me look nice too!

  6. I do know that if I'm feeling shitty, a little makeup fools me into feeling better.

    I also know that buying something new (even if it's something small) will make me feel bettah every time. but retail therapy is only a temporary solution. a deliciously wonderful solution.

  7. Watching a whole lot of Style network has taught me that no matter what field you're in, you should always put a certain level of effort towards appearance because how people view you matters. But mostly that just translates into not showing off your belly in the office and avoiding kitty ear hats no matter how cute you think they are.

    Also, while how to give blowjob articles are cool. I'm a man. I appreciate the effort. How to teach your man to love cunnilingus and do it right strikes me as having more long term rewards.

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