Shopping in the health and beauty aisle stresses me out.
Not only is it expensive, but it’s confusing. There are so many different brands of make-up, facial cleansers and hair products for women, and all of them claim to do something different.
You can spend forever reading the labels -- skin clearing, pore minimizing, redness reducing -- and comparing prices. Each brand is represented by a different female celebrity, as if by wearing that lipstick or buying that shampoo, you can look a little like that celebrity yourself. Kate Hudson endorses the brand of foundation I wear. I’m still waiting for that transformation.
But last weekend, while I was shopping and getting lost in ads and price tags, I started counting. Four aisles for health and beauty products marketed toward women. Half an aisle for products for men. Most of these were razors and shaving cream and none were accompanied by pictures of Brad Pitt or any other male celebrity.
Suddenly, I was jealous. I’d just spent 15 minutes trying to decide whether I wanted to look like Drew Barrymore or Zooey Deschanel. If I was a guy, I could just grab something off the shelf and assume it would work.
I like dressing up, putting on make-up and looking pretty, when it’s fun. But sometimes it’s work. Sometimes, it’s ridiculous -- like the new marketing scheme for Dove Deodorant that promises to make your underarms not only odor-free, but pretty, too. Unilever, the makers of Dove, surveyed 500 women and discovered that almost all of them considered their underarms unattractive.
Well, duh. They’re called “pits” for a reason. That doesn’t mean they need fixing. What’s next, earlobes? Or maybe feet?
After Van Dykes, a male-only spa in downtown Columbus, announced its grand opening, feet become a popular topic of conversation at the Ledger office. Sonya Sorich, a fellow reporter, asked the Ledger’s Facebook community as well as several male reporters and editors if they would ever consider getting a pedicure. Responses ranged from disbelieving laughter to “Heck no.”
By most, male pedicures were deemed a ridiculous idea.
What if women responded that way to beauty trends? What if they just decided some things were ridiculous?
For me, one thing that always seems a bit ridiculous this time of year is the quest to obtain a perfect golden tan.
I admit, this prejudice stems from the fact that I don’t tan naturally. I’m pale -- not pretty English rose pale, but “I’ve just spent 40 hours in a dark library” pale -- and I burn easily.
I also don’t want to risk skin cancer, so I opt for the lotions that are supposed to turn your skin golden brown. I spend every summer praying I don’t end up orange or streaky. About halfway through June, I forget to keep applying the lotion and give up.
I’m never going to have that perfect golden tan, just like I’m never going to look like Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, or Drew Barrymore. Trying to pretend otherwise is just ridiculous.
For more, check out Sara's 20-something blog at www.ledger-enquirer.com/sara.