Wednesday, June 27, 2012

5 Things you buy because you feel guilty

I don't know if I'm some kind of sucker, or if this happens to everyone, but I often find myself forking out cash for things I don't really want, and then feeling crap about it afterward.  The reason?  Some smart-arsed sales assistant has worked out how to push my guilt buttons, of which there are many, forcing me into a purchase of something ridiculous, unneeded and overpriced. Does this happened to you?  Here's a few ways it can..

1.  BEAUTY AND FACE STUFF - You rarely treat yourself to a facial, so when you do, you want to lie down, relax, switch off and be pampered.  You don't want to be told your skin looks dry. You don't want to be told about fine lines or wrinkles - especially if they're yours.  You don't want to hear that after 30 your skin starts losing elasticity and after 40 it no longer regenerates itself. You certainly don't want to be asked if you'd consider botox. And when the therapist asks what you use to care for your skin, you lie, because you don't want to admit that you would never cleanse, tone, exfoliate and moisturise, even if you were at a Nutrimetics party, and that's why your skin is so sallow, you have bags under your eyes, big pores, lots of little lines and the occasional zit. So when she tells you your skin 'just gobbled up' the $650 worth of 'nutrients' she sloshed on your face, you grudgingly buy the cheapest one and go home with a shiny face and empty purse.

2.  HAIRCARE PRODUCTS - You go to the hairdresser which is already exorbitantly expensive, and you sit in the chair for 2 and a half hours, and somewhere during the conversation about your hairdresser's love-life and your kids' gymnastics prowess, you hear that your hair is dry. Or yellowed.  Or weak, or frizzy or split or something generally unpleasant which makes you feel like only half a woman. So when you hit reception with your wallet open and the new product for frizzy, weak, split and unpleasant hair comes out, you shell out, not just for the  cut, colour and blow-dry, but also for a product you would never have normally bought and which you will inevitably use only for a week before shoving it to the bask of your bathroom cupboard with the other 33 similarly unused haircare products.  Because you are only half a woman.  Half mum, half woman.

3.  SHOE CARE PRODUCTS - No one is actually in the market for these.  They're a pure, pure upsell.  Just like spray and chamois cleaners for your sunglasses - both of which I've been guilted into buying.  This time the sneaky salesperson is suggesting you don't have the panache to look after your special stuff, and you DO have panache, you know it! This is what happens: You've just bought these fantastic leather boots.  Ooooh, aaaah, aren't they lovely, you're going to look gorgeous, what a great buy with such soft Italian leather, and such a great price, but are you going to buy the leather care?  Oh you must, or they simply won't last. They're so superb and you're pretty much going to go out and trash them tomorrow with your cheap, non leather-caring ways aren't you?  So you'd better buy that stinky spray with enough chemical fumes to kill a baby chicken, and use it, otherwise risk wearing half-baked boots that match your half-baked attitude. Sold.

5. ULTIMATE CAR WASH - Your car is covered in bird and possum shit.  Ok, yours may not be, but mine is. Inside the car - and no-one with kids can deny this - you could collect enough biscuit crumb to make cheesecake, there are lolly wrappers from the last 15 party bags your kids received, plus the actual bags themselves. There's general shoe-dirt, a few pencils, hair clips, some works of art and a few of the craft items from kindy that were too ugly to bring into the house.  Yes?  So when you say 'standard thanks,' and the guy at the car wash takes one look and goes 'need polish,' you feel guilty and embarrassed and you say, 'of course. OK.'  Then you go get your coffee and when you come back an hour later, the car looks fabulous and the cashier says '$95 thanks,' and you crap yourself wondering how you're going to explain that to your husband, which of course you're not going to, because you'll keep it to yourself and feel guilty about that too!

5.  DISNEY PRINCESS STUFF - I can't stand the cheesiness, the princess-ness and the crappiness of this stuff but my house is full of it!  The worst are the movies, which undo years of hard work teaching your girls to be strong independent young chicks, and in less than an hour, impart the high value of being beautiful, rich and wearing pretty stuff. They also teach that rich people are always happy, well dressed and have good luck in love. Poor people are generally sad and unattractive, and are orphans or motherless, which takes alot of explaining. If they have a mother she's mostly awful or not the real mother and still awful, which requires even more explaining. So when you try not to buy this shit and it's the first thing your kid looks at, and the salesperson shakes her head and says 'It's not for you, it's for her," (this actually happened to me), you buy the Disney Princess bedspread, and take it home where it will live happily ever after with the DP beach towel, DP lunchbox, DP shoes, make-up, singlets, gumboots and colouring-in pads.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

5 Things grown women should remember before a girl's night out

 After the hard yards of early mummy-hood, when the babies are no longer on boob, the nights aren’t so sleepless and 'the day after' involves school or pre-school, mummies everywhere are taking advantage and heading out for a good old-fashioned hoo-ha.  A bunch of girls, a bunch of drinks, and a bunch of laughs.  I did one of these last week with some of the best and funniest chicks in the world, and it reminded me there are some things grown women seem to forget somewhere between that fourth drink and home time that really ought to be remembered... 
1.     YOUNG MEN DON’T NEED LIFE COACHING – At some stage during the night, some poor bastard – often a waiter, bar person or the bloke you ‘borrowed’ a cigarette from because you don’t smoke – ends up at your table copping an earful of advice. They seem to like volunteering information about the girlfriend who wants to have kids/doesn’t want to have kids/wants to get married/won’t get married/the girl they’re trying to chase/dump etc. As the motherly mothers you are, you can’t help but offer your incredible wisdom, loudly, and generally all at once. Imagine your husband sitting there while 4 half drunk buzzards screech their recommendations for his future!?! It’s an unusual phenomenon, but weirdly, it often results in a prize - a couple of cigarettes for later consumption, an extra bottle of wine or in special cases, a discount on your bill!    

2.     BOUNCERS REALLY DON’T WANT TO SEE YOUR ID – Bouncers ask for ID from people who look under 21.  You have had children.  You have bags under your eyes.  You have a skirt that covers more than your arse and are carrying a jacket for later when it gets cold.  YOU ARE CLEARLY OVER 21!  They’re not going to ask, so keep it in your wallet.  Under no circumstances should you pull it out and ask them if they want to have a little look, as this will result in the suggestion that you and your friends  move right along because you are clearly too intoxicated to attend this very classy establishment. 

3.     IT’S STILL NOT COOL TO DANCE AROUND YOUR HANDBAGS – In fact, I don’t even think having a handbag is cool.  I don’t know where girls carry their crap these days, but no-one seems to have a bag.  They don’t shove money and lipstick down their tops either, because there’s not enough fabric to hold it there. It could be shoved down their FMBs – the only thing that covers a significant amount of flesh.  My husband once told me that I was obviously the oldest woman in the bar because I was wearing a scarf.  I said it was winter.  He just said ‘you’re old’.  But back to the bags.  Don’t put them on the floor.  Don’t step touch around them.  Don’t flash-dance, slam dance or attempt to pole dance around them either.  They’ll just get beer and vomit and shoe muck on them anyway, and by now your bag should be expensive enough that you don’t want that kind of crap anywhere near it.  Put your money in your bra.  At least you’re wearing one.

4.     RESTAURANTS DON’T SERVE FOOD AFTER 10PM NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU BEG – Because you shared the mezze plates or went for the set menu tapas, and because you spent most of your time either talking or drinking, when midnight hits (unless you’re on the dance-floor with your money down your bra) you’re absolutely starving and there’s nowhere to get food.  You can beg the guys putting chairs on tables, you can ask to see the manager and you can tell them you’ll put your complaint in writing, but no-one, I repeat no-one, is getting back into a kitchen to make you a meal.  Especially not the way you look by this time sister, no matter how hot you thought you were 6 hours ago. 

5.     PIZZA, KEBABS AND MEAT PIES HAVE A SPECIAL PLACE IN THE WORLD – After the final restaurant rejection, you realise you’ll need to embark on a search for the best food you can possibly find.  The smell usually gets you first, but only after an infinite period of walking, after which time you’re pretty much ready to eat your own leg.  Hence, regardless of the type of food you find, it will taste like absolute heaven, and you will eat lots of it, very quickly, speaking loudly about how good it is to anyone who’ll listen.  The next day you’ll have happy recollections of this clandestine activity, as will those around you, as the whiff of garlic wafts up now and then as a reminder.  One word of warning: avoid Indian Take-Away at all costs, especially Chicken Tikka, otherwise, you may find a little more than a whiff popping up to remind you of the night before!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

5 things every woman should know about waxing

Last week I went in for my 5-weekly ‘wax job,’ which involves some form of bikini wax (stock-standard, G-string or Brazilian), plus an eyebrow tidy up.  After this particular episode, I somehow walked away with a piece of skin missing from my thigh crease, and two days later was sporting a mask of about 23 pimples across my forehead, including a trio of spots between my eyebrows and my nose ridge which I’m now referring to as the ‘Bermuda Triangle.’  While I continue to wonder why we bother with this painful and dangerous beauty ritual, I’m offering up my 5 best waxing tips for those of you who are brave enough to continue this now ancient tradition...

1.     BEWARE OF PIMPLES – As you grow older gracefully, may you find peace in the knowledge that you’re never too old for a pimple.  Or ten. Waxing of any facial region can bring them on. Thankfully I've no need for a mo’ wax, but God help those of you who do. The pimples (which are actually whiteheads) appear only sometimes and strike a few days after the wax.  I have no idea what triggers them – a different type of wax?  Your skin on the day?  The soothing product afterwards?  Who knows?  And sorry, this one’s clearly not a tip.  I have no help to offer and am still trying to cover my spotty brow and keep myself from squeezing.(Beauticians – any advice?  Please comment!)

The lovely smelling Bump eRaiser
2.     BEWARE OF IN-GROWNS– These are on a par with pimples and can be painful, ugly, and can get awfully infected (though at least they’re not on your face for the world to see).  I get the odd ingrown, but they're a big problem for some people, especially if you're going the whole hog. My awesome waxing lady Michelle from Belle Isle in Manly recently put me on to this stuff called Bump eRaiser, which works a treat to keep in-grown hairs at bay.  Even if you do get the odd one, Bump eRaiser seems to soften them so much they just fall out.  It smells lovely too, which is a bonus.  Highly recommended.

3.     IT WILL ALWAYS HURT – I’ve been waxing for what – 20 years now? - and it STILL hurts!  No matter what they tell you, being waxed more frequently doesn’t make the hair finer nor the process less painful.  It hurts every time and more if you’re pre-menstrual, so don’t go that week!  Some people recommend taking a Nurofen about an hour before your appointment to relax your muscles a little.  I’m not a big fan of painkillers if they're not totally necessary, but if you don’t mind, I hear it really helps.

4.     DON’T BOTHER WITH DISPOSABLE UNDIES IF YOU’RE GOING BRAZILIAN – Seriously, there’s no point.  It will be pushed aside, away and may as well not be there.  Just get naked.  It helps if you’ve had a baby, because you’ve already had several strangers get acquainted with you down there and you probably don’t care as much.  You’ll want to find a ‘specialist’ - someone who does this all the time and is very quick – both with the wax and the timing (like Michelle). No one wants this experience to last any longer than it needs to! You’ll also want to know your beautician preeetty well, trust them, and trust the cleanliness of the salon, because there’s not much room for prudishness, queasiness or dignity! 

5.     DON’T BE BULLIED INTO A BRAZILIAN – When they first became the hot new thing, everyone was doing it and I still wonder why.  I get that Brazilian chicks get about in really tiny bikinis, but the rest of us generally don’t, and we don’t participate in Mardis Gras with feathery headdresses and tassels either (though that would be fun).  Lots of young chicks are ‘going Brazilian’ purely because the young blokes expect it which just ain’t grand.  Everyone’s heard the claim that most Gen Y males haven’t even seen a naturally hairy v-jay jay, which is a bit creepy, partly because totally hairless is just plain weird and also because it reeks of porn industry imagery.  Some beauticians push it too, and even among girlfriends it’s almost a dare or a physical challenge to see if you’d go there.  It’s fine and fun when it’s your own choice, but it’s a big, invasive and very personal deal that you probably don’t want to go through if you’re doing it for some other reason. If you have teenage girls, you probably want them to think about all this first too.

So I’ve gone all mummy at the end, but I can't help it! As a mother of two young girls and a friend and relative of several teenage ones, I can’t help but throw in a dose of concern and protection for the next gen of chicks.  It’s our job as the older, more experienced, still stupidly waxing 20 years later women, to share and pass on this kind of wisdom.  So there you have it.  Go forth and share!