Average Jane

An apology: You’ve been duped

Saturday night I had one final decision to make before heading out the door.

“Hey, Dad! Contacts or Glasses?”

“Are there gonna be boys there?” he inquired.

“Well, yeah.” It was a party after all.


With that sorted out, I could finally hit the town. Average Jane in all her naturally radiant glory left the house… looking nothing like I did an hour before.

As I said, the eyewear decision was the last in a long line of decisions made that day:

Hair: Curly or Straight

Makeup: Natural or “evening”

Undergarments: Padded or Non-Padded

Outfit: Ugh. Don’t get me started.

Footwear: Heels or flats.

The process took longer than anticipated, making me late, which I detest. This was the final result:

Straight hair, contacts, evening makeup, padded bra, lowish cut tanktop w/ jeans, and kitten heels.

I felt good. I matched (Big bonus). I was ready for the night.

But here’s the rub: I looked NOTHING like myself.

It’s funny, I commented to a co-ed group of friends not long ago that men have a “surprise factor” that women just don’t. Their penises. We have no idea what’s going on down there until, well, it’s technically too late. But women, since our goods… our breasts… are more obvious in daily life, men know what they are getting. Right?

The logic seemed sound, until a man in the crowd reminded me that very purpose of the bra is to reshape and redefine the breasts. Lift and separate. Push and squeeze. Minimize. Maximize.

But more broadly than that: Women are shape shifters, too.

If you met me on the street on any given day, today, for instance, you’d see a shorter, curly haired, funky-glasses-wearing girl in a cammo iron maiden t-shirt, with no makeup on and smaller boobs.

When I go out, I work so hard to become a “better version” of myself… to impress members of the opposite sex, to make the other girls take notice. But what I tend to forget (or just blatantly ignore) is there’s always “the next day”.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I can’t keep up the hair done, face on, heel wearing facade for very long. There is a sort of anxiety when my potential match sees me for the first time in “lay clothes,” but even then I try my best to pick out my cutest non-cute outfit to ease him into the idea of my imperfect sense of style.

No matter how aloof I try to pretend to be about my appearance, about wanting people to like me for me, the truth is I suppose I do care. We all care. I think in the end, the surprise we get in bed when we meet Junior for the first time pales in comparison to the surprise men get when they realize that the woman they met the night before spent hours overhauling herself in a silent, naive plea for attention and acceptance, hoping that when the makeup comes off and the hair is a mess, you’ll still want her: curly hair, glasses, imperfections, and all.


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  1. * Justin says:

    <i>…hoping that when the makeup comes off and the hair is a mess, you’ll still want her: curly hair, glasses, imperfections, and all.</i>
    That’s the <b>best</b> part. Getting through the makeup and rolling and ‘outfits’ and heels and discovering the real, beautiful woman beneath. One more wall down, one more step to vulnerability, to truth and trust.
    Of course, I also appreciate the effect of such efforts. (The beauty of a woman who <i>feels</i> beautiful. Gotta go out feeling good about ourselves, right? But… the best part is when it’s gone, leaving just YOU. (Or HER, as it were.)

    I’ve heard it before… the idea that waking up next to a woman, and realizing that she’s… real. Natural. Beautiful. Then again, I don’t think most men would go around saying “MAN! That girl I woke up with today was a TRAINWRECK!” I implies a man’s poor taste. And no man wants to admit that. Does he?

    Personally, I just like waking up to find the man still there 🙂

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 10 months ago
  2. * Sam says:

    I guess the philosophical question lurking here is whether you look like someone else when you have make up on, or whether you actually look like a different version of yourself who wears more makeup and spends a little more time on her hair? Or to frame the question as a transcendental/existential issue, is there a defined facticity of that limits who you authentically are physically, and is any attempt at deviation an expression of inauthenticity? Or is your physical apprearance what you make of it, and thus automatically the authentic you in any particular situation?
    I’m inclined to think that as long as you aren’t defining yourself by your physiological traits in terms of who you are at a party, and as long as you don’t approach this situation with a mind-set of intentionally seeking to deceive, it’s not inauthentic or insincere on your part to take a little extra time and care with your personal appearance. You don’t feel like looking different makes you a different person, do you? Do you feel like the guy in question will have to adjust to the same Average Jane who might perhaps only look a little more Average one time or another, or will he have to adjust to a completely different person?
    (On a tangent, by the way, I’ve never been duped by a bra that was so padded that it would make the breasts look noticably larger. If you know what you’re looking for, you can tell).
    Ok. So, you totally win the prize for most intellectual/thought provoking/well thought out/lucid comment on this blog ever. Now go have a drink. It’s on me. I think you really said it all, and said it better than I ever could. You may single handedly raise the intellectual bar here. So thanks. Or “damn you”. TBD. But, in any case, Welcome aboard!

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 10 months ago
  3. * Ms. Tart says:

    There is one big surprise factor (for both men and women) that you didn’t mention: the apartment. But since women tend to keep their rooms at least reasonably tidy, I think it’s more of a factor for men. If a guy has a great apartment, I’m really impressed. If a guy’s place is a sty and all he has for a bed is a futon mattress on the floor, I will probably never see him again.

    You’re absolutely right. Boys are full of surprises. Body hair is a doozy. The bald head under the baseball cap’s another one. Man… maybe we’re equally as screwed up in that regard. Nah. Women always end up screwier than the boys.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 10 months ago
  4. * Justin says:

    Voy! Such a cynic!
    -quote- the idea that **waking up** next to a woman -end quote-
    My point was nowhere near the “waking up” bit. It was closer to holding her hand in the cereal aisle of Giant at 11PM on a Tuesday and realizing that she’s still beautiful not <b>in spite of</b> but because of her ratty sweats, faded hoody and unkempt pony tail.
    I’m a helpless romantic, though. Tease me if you will; you wouldn’t be the first! -grin-

    Tease you for it? Hardly! I think that’s the most beautiful thing I’ve heard someone say in… well… a long time. I don’t know if men realize that women *do* need to be told we’re beautiful, and that really, in the end, it’s nice to be complimented when we spend hours getting dolled up for you, but the little moments when you kiss us on the forehead out of nowhere, bring us a cup of coffee when we haven’t asked for it, and tell us we look beautiful in our sweats… those are the moments that matter. Those are the moments that make us fall in love with you all over again…

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 10 months ago
  5. * carrie m says:

    and look, you did all that on Saturday night all by your onesey. They grow up so fast. *sniff*

    This is why posting that picture of my bathroom on my blog was somewhat traumatic. For me, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken more care in my appearance. For the exception of random weekend errands and the like, I leave the house attempting to look decent which usually requires some amount of makeup (less in the summertime) and outfit thought. Not b/c I think I’ll meet my soulmate while perusing grapes at the grocery store, but b/c it makes *me* feel better. And everyone wins.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 10 months ago
  6. * Jo says:

    This is SO true. Which is why I’ve started to wear less eye make up especially during the day. For a while there I felt like I didn’t look like myself without eye make up, but I’m getting used to it now.

    Excellent post.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 10 months ago
  7. * ceecee says:

    I was never a make up person. Yes, I wear cover up but that’s about it. I may not be beautiful, but I know I’m pretty and I simply don’t need to change who I am to look prettier. Plus, I’m afraid that if I do add more color on myself, I will disappoint the man I am with when I don’t have it on. :-/ Might as well go natural.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 9 months ago

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