IT’S SUCH AN ORDEALTO BE A PRETTY LADY

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HAVING an affair or being in love is too much work. I mean, forget what you have to do for that guy/girl/ transgendered transsexual transtranny or whatever you’re getting it on with – just keeping yourself fixed up and maintained is a full life’s work.

For clarity’s sake, I shall refer to all my possible possibles as “he.” There’s nothing wrong with being of the lesbian persuasion. Truth is, on an occasional lazy weekend, the experience might beat watching “Saturday Night Live.” But that’s just not my thing. If I ever switch, Ellen DeGeneres won’t be first.

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With that established, let us now discuss the effort in time, patience and cash needed to take on all comers: First, whether it’s rain, snow or shrapnel, one’s initial duty is to wax. That’s hot goo glopped over sensitive areas, followed by searing pain, only to uproot three delicate hairs and five patches of skin. Some parts of my body I haven’t seen in years – let alone felt. Suddenly, to locate them just to wax them? And I should trust those Brazilian waxers, who are total strangers to my 5 feet 4 inches, when I myself don’t know what’s going on around at least eight of those inches?

Then there’s the smoothening of one’s entire corpus. We are talking serious creaming. Not so much that a guy could slip off, but enough so that any contact sport would not result in his getting a sandpaper rash. So you cream your body, cream your hands, cream your soles, your heels, the big toe bunion and the little toe corn. And that’s just the feet. My facialist then insists on a special lightening salve for those unsightly pigmented spots. I was going nighty-night with so much oil on me that I was sliding out of bed.

The dermatologist suggested glycolic lotion for rubbing into what’s called your “laugh lines.” Those are the lines that are laughing even when you’re not. He had many helpful ideas. Helpful to him. This guy was putting two kids through college. One helpful hint was some silicone byproduct. He wanted me pumped up so much that if I fell down I’d have bounced.

The dentist Dr. Lazare demands I floss in the morning, after breakfast, before lunch, instead of tea, following dinner, during my late night cookie fix and before bed. I’m so busy flossing I haven’t time to eat.

The hair person says teasing and spraying isn’t good. This I already know. I don’t have to pay $65 a shampoo-and-set to learn that. I bought a conditioner, a steamer, a set of ampules to massage in, a plant pack. My late husband didn’t get as much attention as my scalp. Hairdresser Lisa says to have a big, thick, glorious mane of wild lush hair, I must brush 100 strokes every night. I say if I attack those weak little follicles that much I’ll be a cue ball. So the choice is either King Kong or Melissa Etheridge. In the words of Bruce Willis: Bald is not bad. At least it’s neat. Manicurist Bianca told me to prevent callouses I need a pumice stone. Forget what I told her. She began fretting over my cuticles. They’re getting raggedy, she said. She would be, too, if she had to do as much work on herself as I do.

The facialist says my lashes are breaking and advises shmearing them with Vaseline. Please. If I did that I couldn’t open them wide enough to find the floss for my teeth, the brush for my hair or the pumice for my hands.

Some physiotherapist prescribed butt-tightening exercises to tighten the valance that hangs beneath my cheeks. Forty-five minutes every morning. Who has 45 minutes every morning? That’s when I’m creaming, massaging, flossing and Vaselining. He says it won’t take any extra time because I can do all that while I’m tightening my bum. And those women’s magazines make you want to go under the wheels of a speeding truck. Page 46 proposes a seven-times magnifying mirror, staring at yourself in brilliant high-noon sunlight, then attacking your facial fuzz with a scythe. Page 37 suggests putting your face up in curlers altogether.

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All of this for a guy (girl/tranny/whatever) who either A) has no job or B) has no future or C) has no apartment and wants to share yours or D) does have garlic breath or E) does have gummy-soled shoes or F) does have more belly hair than that hound Carlee who just won Westminster or G) all of the above.

I tell you the truth, the whole deal is such an effort that I might just chuck it all to join some monastery and become a monk, if not for the fact that those crappy rags in Central Park hadn’t turned me off the color orange altogether.