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Shower and show up

June 20th, 2004 · 2 Comments

Eugene Volokh and other bloggers – including MD – have been discussing this week what it means to be sexy. Volokh wrote:

Women think a lot — much more than men — about how they can become more attractive, and are willing to do a lot to try to become more attractive. Don’t know what to do about that, but there it is.

Women and their desire to be attractive has been a theme I’ve encountered multiple times in the local newspapers this week. I read a piece published by The Bremerton Sun (can’t find the article on-line, though) where one young woman (Maureen Davies) who accelerated her education observed

“Junior-high kids are brutal, ” she said. “Suddenly, the point for a huge number of girls in school seemed to be becoming sexually desirable to boys, and I just wasn’t into that.”

The Seattle Times seems to be perpetually filled with stories of women seeking beauty at any price. Today’s front page article claims that artificial is “now the new normal”. One surgery patient described her experience

“At the health club, I took off my clothes and walked to the shower. Nobody looked, but I felt like I finally hit puberty and had a positive locker-room experience at age 30,” she said.

Last week The Seattle Times ran a series on weddings including one piece describing how brides pursue perfection .
The article began

Melissa Hintz’s biggest wedding expense so far isn’t her dress, the Maui reception or the open bar. It’s her teeth.

Last week, the Mill Creek bride-to-be spent $26,000 on a full set of porcelain tooth veneers, as straight and white as a multitiered wedding cake.

I appreciated the alternative perspective, sandwiched between stories of brides paying bucks for enhanced beauty

Los Angeles-based wedding counselor Sheryl Paul urges her brides to buck the bridal-beauty juggernaut.

“Perfectionism — whether it’s about the cake, the dress or your pores — is a way to distract from all of the feelings that go along with an engagement. Most women are anxious and scared about letting go of singlehood, but instead of confronting these real feelings, they focus on something they think they can control like coffee stains on their teeth or body fat,” says Paul, author of “The Conscious Bride’s Wedding Planner.”

The article ended

For late-summer bride Barbara Dyment, whose bridal-beauty secrets are collagen in her lips and a microdermabrasion-induced glow, it’s all about the photographs.

“I don’t care about the cake or flowers, but I want my photos to look fabulous,” says the 35-year-old medical assistant who lives in Mukilteo.

“I remember growing up and looking at my parents’ wedding pictures and thinking, ‘Mom, you were so young and gorgeous,’ ” she says. “I want my kids to say the same thing … oh, and I also want my fiancé to just fall to his feet.”

What brides seem to forget, Paul says, is that their fiancés already think they’re beautiful.

“It’s odd that they pick this day to look like someone that their fiancé and family don’t even recognize, with someone else’s hair and caked-on makeup — when everyone knows it’s almost impossible for a bride not to look naturally radiant and beautiful.”

But what about groom grooming? Any risk of them going overboard? Says Modern Bride’s Clarke: “Are you kidding? Most just shower and show up.

The groom’s ability to simply “shower and show up” seems unfair given what women undergo on the wedding day. I believe brides should be beautiful. But I also believe brides ARE beautiful. There’s a glow – it’s true. It’s nothing that makeup or tanning booths can do. If the goal is to make your man fall to his feet, it sounds like dermatology is being used for idolatry. What happens when you wake up one morning and look ugly? Or what if you are ugly inside? Porcelain veneers can’t turn a woman into a wonderful wife. There are other ways to make a man fall to his feet than collagen injections. If marriage is all about image then it is doomed. (and if all you want is pretty pictures, then a copy of PhotoShop might be cheaper and more effective)

Maybe brides should consider trying the “shower and show up” practice too. It’d be simpler. Less stress and expense. And after all, isn’t it more authentic. to get married when you look like yourself – or perhaps look like the way you’ll look for 90% of the time you’ll spend together?

Sometimes in marriage you don’t get a chance to shower. You’re smelly and sweaty, rumpled and ragged. You are not a pretty picture. Sometimes in marriage, in the worse moments, you are simply showing up.

And then you can always take a shower afterwards…it could be a pretty positive locker room experience 😉

Tags: marriage

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bob V // Jun 20, 2004 at 8:49 pm

    Don’t tell any of the women whose weddings I have attended, but I think bridal beauty is too generic to be appealing. I have a hard time recognizing the brides. They have had so much work done to them for their special day that the character of their faces changes to meet some global, cross-religion specification for what a bride ought to look like.

    One advantage to the shower-and-show-up is that you can tell whether the photographs are of your wedding or your sister’s.

  • 2 Katherine // Jun 21, 2004 at 2:14 pm

    I purposely wore my hair the way I usually did (or one of the way normal ways…), just washing it and doing it myself, and wearing just lipstick and maybe a little eyeliner, so my husband would indeed know whom he was marrying. Of course I wore a pretty wedding dress and a veil in my hair, and special earrings, but I really wanted to be myself, to promise as myself and hear his promise to me as myself. It’s all about the vows. Be conscious of who you are and make your word count. It’s meant to be permanent. Listen to what you’re saying!