I’ve been perusing The Hairpin, and Kelly Conaboy’s scented candle reviews are truly excellent. I have written my own scented candle nonsense, but it got me thinking about my actual candle-related expectations. You’d think having only ever bought maybe five candles ever, and at least two because I thought Mr. Squish would like them, that I wouldn’t have strong feelings about this.
My look, such as it is, is pretty low-maintenance. It was low-maintenance even when I dressed professionally, but I’ve cut back further. Based on this description, it sounds like I must look like a wild animal.
However, I realized just how much I spent for my so-called low-maintenance look. (All of my estimates include tip when applicable because beauticians, cosmetologists, hair stylists, etc. can’t pay for groceries and rent with gratitude alone.)
Mr. Squish has been looking for a gym since Winter is Coming. A snazzy, newer one in town let us have a trial period, which included a free fitness assessment. I suspected that this free thing was like the “free” breakfast my parents went to and got suckered into buying a time share. But whatever! Woo! Free stuff! So far so good.
The assessment was given by a nice, slightly shy younger woman who followed what was outlined in the gym-branded handbook. We chatted a little bit about goals, and I pretty much just stopped short of saying, “I don’t care how fat I am. I just want a pleasant, attractive person to congratulate me each time I complete a weightlifting set and give me high fives.”* Maybe I should’ve been more forthcoming.
Most people who have known me for a while, know that for a very long time I struggled with body image. I hope, at the very least, that I kept it to a dull roar because that kind of thing is tiring and toxic to be around.
It’s hard to remember when everything started because it started so early. Kids aren’t dumb; they spend a lot of time figuring out their environments, the social pecking order, and how to behave to get what they want. So even though my parents never put me on a diet, never put me down about my appearance, and never said that looking a certain way would bring positive or negative outcomes for me, I still put two and two together. From fairy tales to cartoons to toys to advertisements, I was taught that feminine beauty is linked to goodness and good outcomes. There’s also a pretty narrow definition of feminine beauty that I remember being shown: slender, white, blonde, unmarked skin, mostly hairless – a princess who is “fair.” I’m pretty sure I picked up on all of this before I could reliably count to 100.
As long as we believe that the sole purpose of salads is for women to laugh alone with them, there’s going to be a lot of macho men avoiding vegetables to keep their cojones intact. An understandable reaction, I daresay!
But I want to be part of the solution, dear readers. Men should be able to enjoy vegetables with gusto! Not only because they’re good for you (depending upon medication and whatnot), but because they’re delicious! Alas, vegetables cannot win over a population just because they’re awesome. If there’s anything I learned about getting people to do stuff, it’s that you need to speak to your audience about their values, in this case, cojones integrity.
A friend sent me the above picture and requested that I parse out why feminine armpits should smell like fruit or sexy intrigue. I asked for some further specifics regarding sexy intrigue. Imagine my disappointment that it did not smell, as I had hoped, like slim cigarettes and broken promises made in Paris, but instead like a cinnamon sugar cookie. The gauntlet has been thrown, and I shall retrieve it.
Now, one can take the expedient route and say this is just personal preference or “culture,” or one could probably write a book involving details about the history of personal grooming and perfume, cultural attitudes and expectations, the role of marketing, biological responses to scent, etc. I will attempt to pick and choose judiciously to come to an answer, but as this is not a peer-reviewed article or anything, keep in mind that this is more of my answer as opposed to “The Answer.” In order to do this properly, I’d also have to try to disprove my theories, hence the possibility of a book-length answer. I’m just going try to keep this simple.