Wednesday, May 07, 2003
      ( 10:31 PM ) Rebecca  
I’ll put this out on the table right now: I’m vain.

And it seems I get more vain with each passing year, or else my memory is going, so I can’t remember how vain I was the year before.

My dad used to say about me that I “never met a mirror I didn’t like.” And it’s true. I’m a pretty girl, though certainly not pretty enough to justify how much time I waste preening in the mirror every day – as if I’m afraid I look different or worse or older than I did just an hour before.

There’s more of a desperate edge to my vanity now too. I’m 34, almost 35. I look at least ten years younger and get carded everywhere I go. This is comforting in one way, but another it’s weird to have people think I’m so much younger than I am, and it ends up making me feel old. ‘Cause let’s face it; I’m getting up there.

Though a guypal generously reassured me a while back that I’ll be attractive “into my 50s,” I know I’m reaching the top of the hill and am about to go down the other side. Or, to use another rather tired metaphor, I’m in full bloom right now. And we’re talking gaudy, ripe, deliciously-scented full bloom. That’s going to fade before I know it.

I fit into sizes I haven’t fit into since I was 13. I can’t leave the house unless I look sexy. I can hardly be around myself unless I look sexy. Guys on the street and in bars stop and exclaim “You’re beautiful!” And I feel beautiful. Which is great, I guess, except for all the neurotic sh*t that comes with trying to maintain it. And the fact that it’s an empty kind of “happiness," and I'd be much better off finding God or doing Yoga more frequently. But life is easier for me because of being pretty, no doubt (as Fragrant Lotus recently pointed out).

I’m scared too, though. Scared that any day now, age is going to become more and more visible in my face. I watched a video of myself the other day, and all I could see were the wrinkles in my forehead. To my frightened eyes, my forehead looked like a road map that had been crumpled in someone’s pocket for days. And, shallow as this may sound, I'm scared of the day when the male gaze starts to turn somewhere else (as IF the male gaze has ever gotten me anywhere but in trouble).

And while I still can, I want to be beautiful for someone. While I’m still in full bloom. Someone other than the men on the streets or in bars, or the various men who flit in and out of my life (or, rather, the men whose lives I flit in and out of, but that's changing the metaphor, so screw it).

If there is one nice thing I can say about Loser (and there are more, but I’m still not ready to forgive that f*cker), it was that he made me feel beautiful all the time. He never let me put myself down. If I tried to make a critical comment about my own looks, he immediately corrected me and told me how perfect my body, my face, my thighs were.

Almost every day, he complimented me. “You look so cute today!” he’d say with delight in his voice. As if he never got tired of seeing me. Or, my favorite, said in a reverent tone of voice, "You are the most beautiful woman I've ever known." It was easy to go out in the world feeling kick-ass with him around. And I liked having someone to look good for, other than plate glass windows.

I guess though, there's no point in being scared. The bloom is going to fade and that's that. I might not find someone to love while I'm at my most seductive, but hell, I guess that's OK. Whoever loves me is going to love me roadmap and all, right?

Meanwhile, I can bring a little happiness to the busy bees around me, some of whom know how to toss out a good compliment or two.

Plus, there's always Botox.
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