Genetic lottery

I removed hairs from the lower edge of my eyebrows this morning.

I do this perhaps twice a year… not because I’m not vain.

I am vain, in the sense that: my appearance matters to me; I’ll spend non-trivial amounts of money to achieve whichever look I’m after; my appearance is very rarely unconsidered. I may be rumpled from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, but I meant to do that.

Yes, it is an odd sort of vanity, since it lets me out of the house with bedhead if I (a) am going to exercise next and/or (b) am working in the yard. Or camping. My thoroughly-considered camping look is: feel free to drag me through the mud, because I can’t get much grubbier.

That’s part of the special joy of my (and my hair’s) relationship with Tim: he leverages his skill so that when I wash my hair, towel-dry, and comb it, it air-dries into something flattering and chic. It’s an odd sort of vanity that won’t take time to use a hairdryer and brush. Or eyeliner and mascara.

But I caught myself wondering this time whether my tomboy grooming routines owe less to my… hm… disinterest in complications and more to the ticket I drew in the genetic lottery.

I seldom pluck my eyebrows because they already look like the stencils one can buy at The Beauty Store. Even my aesthetician has commented about the innate shapeliness of my eyebrows, so it’s not just my laziness talking.

If you were reading this blog a little more than a year ago, you may have realized that when I weighed 174 pounds, no one but my scale noticed. Now that I’m 25 pounds lighter, folks have noticed that, kind of. But that first shift from Body Mass Index 25 to 29 was somehow invisible. (Note: I pay for decent tailoring, which goes a long way toward generating weight-invisibility. However, not all the way.)

And my face is ageless. I’m not kidding: no one can figure out how old I am. Once I reached my thirties I stopped being taken for a college student, which was a plus in a professional environment, but I’ve been merely “grown up” ever since. I’m thinking I might be looking middle-aged as I lean into the end of my fiftieth decade. On the other hand, three years ago I had an instructor nearly drop his (original, well-rooted) teeth when I told him my daughter just graduated from the high school where he used to work. So I’m probably indulging in wishful thinking.


As a teen, when I was coming in to my grown-self, I was not tracked into the “beautiful people” of my school. My brains were too front and center, I suppose. So my inner definition doesn’t take particular account of my looks. Although, once I determined that if I was going to be pointed at I wanted it to be for the edginess of my attire and not the oddness, I pursued my fashion education with the same rigor I used for science, and with similar results. It was fun, I found. 1980s feminism in part meant I could dress to whichever standard I chose, as it pleased me, holding all my choices lightly in my hand.

I’ve continued my insouciance over the years. Teal blue eyeliner. Orange hair. Trench-coat cut blazers that stop at the ribcage, dresses with the backs cut out, hats… . I’ve recovered my love of hats in the last two years.

Perhaps, when everyone is already guessing, it’s irresistible fun to push a little harder. C’mon, try me. See if you can fit me into that box you’ve picked out.

Then I can show you a picture of my grandson. <mwahahahahaha>

3 thoughts on “Genetic lottery

  1. “As a teen, when I was coming in to my grown-self, I was not tracked into the “beautiful people” of my school.”

    Hm, maybe not into that group, per se, but individually, yah.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.