Vanity: Thy Name is Middle-Age

As some of you may know, I celebrated my 16th wedding anniversary last week.  What none of you know is that the husband posted a facebook notice about it.  The sentiment was sweet, and he posted two pictures of us. One pic was actually quite nice- we were dressed for opening night at Carnegie Hall.  Beautiful dress, make-up artfully applied, hair not only combed but styled. (for the record, we don’t usually attend opening nights of anything- the last one we were invited to was when they opened up an Arby’s down the street)  Then there was the other photo.  The one with me in a bathrobe.  A big, white, fluffy bathrobe that hotels artfully hang in the bathroom.  And before you think this was a provocative shot, I  assure you it was not.  Let me give you a mental picture.  Imagine a tall, willowy model showing off a bathrobe.  Now squish her down so she’s a foot shorter and half a foot wider.  That’s how I looked in this robe- anti-provocative.  And think about this- if you’re wearing a robe, are you wearing make-up?  If you’re me you’re not.  And is your hair neat?  If you’re me it’s not.  Yeah- good times.

When I saw the post- all I could think about was – really?  This is my visual legacy to the future- this picture of me unadorned in a white bathrobe?   Looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man?  I thought about asking the husband to take it down.

As I was about to call him, I thought about what I would be teaching the daughter if I took down this picture because I didn’t think it was a flattering portrayal of me.  What would that mean?  Was I ashamed to be short and curvy?  Was I ashamed of being seen without makeup?  Shouldn’t I be proud of my body and my appearance no matter what?  So I didn’t ask him to take it down.

I never thought of myself as vain.  I don’t obsess about what I wear. I use make-up because I like it.  My hair is in a simple, no fuss style.  I exercise and take care of my skin for the health benefits, not in a manner of trying to look younger than I am.  So why did I freak out about the picture?

I was proud of myself for overcoming my anxiety about my outer shell.  I felt good.  Who needs make-up?  Who needs a brush and hair product?  Not me.  I am happy with my appearance.  I look great just the way I am.  I am setting a great example to the daughter!   Long live the shot of me in a bathrobe!

When I saw the  daughter that night, the first thing she said to me was:  “Can’t believe you didn’t tell Dad to delete that picture.”