It’s hard to look glamorous with a shopping cart full of toilet paper.
It’s hard to look glamorous with your face wrapped in a paper napkin hooked behind your ears.
It’s hard to look glamorous bending over to pick up a dog turd.
But you know what’s really hard? Looking glamorous while doing anything at all during a pandemic.
Nowhere is the breakdown in physical appearance easier to see than in grocery stores. Women simply tie their hair in a knot and slum it in sweats. Men wander around with seven-day-old bedhead and flip-flops.
For men, grooming and personal attire are based on an assumption. A man who is shaved, shampooed, well put together, and walking around with his balls waxed is a man who has SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO DO BECAUSE MONEY. This is the essence of manhood.
For women, grooming and personal attire are based on a different assumption. A woman with perfect hair, threaded lashes and brows, cfm shoes, Picasso nails, and an immaculate outfit is a woman WHO ALL THE OTHER WOMEN ARE JEALOUS OF BECAUSE HOT. This is the essence of womanliness.
But in a pandemic? Well, you have problems because no one thinks you have anything important to do if you are a guy. How could you? You’re either unemployed (so no one cares about you), you’re working from home (this means drinking beer at 9:00 AM and wearing pajamas all day), or you work in an essential business a/k/a grocery store. No matter how you look, no one thinks you have anything important to do unless you’re in scrubs, and then people cross the street and pray like hell they never meet you professionally.
Same thing for women. You can’t dress up to go out because there’s no out. You can’t dress up for work because there’s no work. You can’t even dress down-but-up for the gym because there’s no gym. You can of course dress up to take out the trash but, uh, no. No matter how you look, the other women you’re trying to impress are not there to be impressed, especially since your face is swaddled in a diaper and the only thing showing is your eyes.
As one fashion expert noted: “It’s a grim fashion day indeed for most women when the only thing showing is their eyes.”
Few things have been as badly wrecked as the appearance industry. It’s bad enough that hair salons, nail salons, barbers, tailors, and haberdashers are closed, but what’s worse is that in the pandemic environment no one cares how you look anyway. It’s really terrible.
Or is it?
Is it a minus that people are starting to look like people? Is it a minus that women don’t have to devote an hour of their morning or more to cover, remake, shift, primp, crimp, clip, snip, dip, and smellify away the natural way they look–and are supposed to look–when they get out of bed?
Is it a minus that men don’t have to comb over the combover over and over until there’s just the max amount of thinning hair skillfully pasted over the shiny dome? Is it a minus that men don’t have to wrestle with every facial follicle, gas the armpits with chemicals, stand in front of the mirror trying to artfully arrange the sagging tire and pudgy chest?
I’d argue that nothing is healthier for your self esteem than a few weeks padding around in pj’s and bedhead because you’ll see when you go out that so is everyone else. We’re all the same when wearing our skin, and the only people who want us to look perfect–the way we never were and never will be–are the ones who want to sell us something.
And of course the ultimate fashion breakdown? Indoor cycle training. Adieu expensive kit. Adieu fashionable glasses. Adieu matchy-matchy, and hello sopping, sweaty, pale flesh gushing rivers onto a rubber mat.
Hello, no one can see you now.
Hello, maybe they never could.
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