Driving home from Starbucks I saw a beautiful, smiling, thin blonde girl riding a bike. She was wearing jeans and a long sleeved top but with a slip of thin back peeking through. She looked like a Lisbon girl come to life. In that moment I really wanted to be her.
Sometimes I really like myself. Sometimes I hit John Mayer-like heights of self love where I just want to high five myself and sling an arm around me and get drunk and say, “I really love you, you know that, right? Heeeeeey.” Sometimes I think I’ve got it down.
But other times I see other girls and I think, Why do they get to be them and I have to be me?
I don’t even know that girl on the bike. She might have all kinds of crazy problems. She might be a Mel Gibson fan. But I just want to know what it’s like to be her. To be a human vision of a 70s polaroid. To be so happy and pretty.
It’s like the girls on the Nasty Gal website (shopnastygal.com). The name of that website is very misleading. It is not porn. It’s actually a site that sells slightly hipster clothing. The girls who model the clothes look like Joy Division songs. By which I mean they’re just so cool looking with a slightly hard 80s New Romantics -but not absurdly so- edge. The good kind of 80s. The kind of 80s that’s been sneakily coming back for a while and taking the early 90s with it.
I know I’m not ugly. Although some people on youtube would disagree. My favorite comment ever was, “Okk [sic] your lips are huge and your [sic] ugly.” It’s like, oh, OK. Thanks for the assessment. I will try to work on making my lips look smaller and generally looking less ugly.
A few weeks ago I was at work and I was surprised by a visit from my friend/editor of an online mag I write for. We had never met in person and of course she chose the day to visit in which it was “pajama day” at work. I was wearing new Pjs with dogs in Santa hats and little to no make-up on my face. I think I at least managed to put some concealer and lip balm on there. I hope. I heard later that she described me as “Beautiful and very normal.” I think both adjectives are gross exaggerations on her part. But I appreciate her grace.
When I was blonde and I went to college in Boston (which didn’t last long; my time at Boston, I mean, the blond hair lasted for a while) I had this guy friend who thought I was just beautiful. He was gay so it’s not like he was trying to get into my plaid skirt (at the time I was really into wearing plaid skirts from the children’s section from Target; I really can’t even explain this period in my life) and I remember he once met me outside of class and came up to this group of girls and said to them, of me, “Isn’t this just the most beautiful girl you’ve ever seen??” The girls were chillingly silent. I completely understood.
I am OK to look at. I could be taller and I could be thinner. I could have some angles in my face. No one is ever going to mistake me for a young Catherine Deneuve. I will never steal a role from Charlize Theron. But I don’t need assurance. I’m not writing this so people can tell me, “OMG you are soooooo pretty/what are you talking about/get over yourself/et cetera.” I’m just humbly and simply putting it all out there. This is me, this is who I am, this is why I write what I write, how are you, aren’t we all excited about Lost starting again?
I miss my blond hair. I mean, I think I’m doing OK without it. But I looked different. Older, happier, a little less sophisticated. (To quote others. To me I looked the same but a little more like Scarlett Johansson.) I decided one day to go dark and I haven’t looked back. Except for when I did look back and went blonde again. Then I went dark and really didn’t look back.
Brunettes are really in right now. At least that’s what it seems like. I think we’re in this new era where no one has any money and everyone is skeptical and Jay Leno can swoop in and crush your dreams and we’re donning dark hair and we’re smudging our eye make-up and we’re telling others that we’re going to be OK but completely unsure if we really are. What else can we do?