Maintenance Issues

25 Mar

I’m often asked, what are you going to take with you?  You’ll have to travel very light.  And I reply, yes, yes we will, just a few clothes, hardly any toys, only what we can carry.  It’s OK I say, we can wash our things every day.  We’ll only need three or four outfits each.  The conversation usually stops there.  I can tell that they think I’m weird.

You see, pillows and mince aside, I’ve always been quite low maintenance.

OK Steve, you can stop spluttering into your coffee now.  You have no idea how lucky you are.  I could be spending your whole salary on shoes.

Grooming is like a foreign language, spoken by other women. I know the essentials, how to order a beer, say, but will never be fluent.  I’m mystified.  How do people find the time?  And the inclination?  How do they know what to do?  Armpits get shaved if I’m going swimming, legs are waxed when it becomes too hot to wear opaque tights, eyebrows are always bit less kempt than I’d like.  When I get one thing under control, something else sprouts.  If I lived in record obsessed India, I would try for the hairiest legs medal.  As it is, in our hairless culture, I’m constantly playing catch up.

I don’t own a hairdryer, get embarrassed at the hairdressers when they ask.  I rarely wear makeup.  When I do, I don’t really know how to put it on.  I struggle to look smart.  In my younger, more corporate days, this was sometimes a problem, suits didn’t suit me.  I like pretty, pointy shoes but I only own a couple of pairs, and can never wear them without pain.   I can’t understand how you could possibly wear them all day.  I’m usually to be found in Birkenstocks.  Weddings and black tie events don’t come around very often, but when they do, I sweat for weeks over what to wear.  I never get it quite right.  If I remember the earrings, I forget the hat.

But when it comes to travelling, minimal clothes, no hairdryers, few shoes means less weight in my backpack.  And that’s a very good thing.

I can use one bottle of shampoo to wash my hair, body and clothes.  I can wear the same sandals and t-shirts for months on end.  I won’t have to accessorise or try to keep up with the shiny, groomed women I normally see around me.  It will be liberating to let go of this constant battle.  No one looks smart when they’re camping or staying in budget guesthouses.  I’ll fit right in.  I will be in my element.

So if you happen to be in South East Asia next spring, and see a scruffy woman with fuzzy legs, trailed by three small, rather grubby children and a stubbly husband, do stop us and say hi.

This week I picked this prompt in the Sleep is for the Weak writing workshop: “Describe a ‘letting go’ that made you happy, rather than sad”


31 Responses to “Maintenance Issues”

  1. Vic 25/03/2010 at 3:08 pm #

    I’ve taken maternity leave as a chance to stop with the makeup and hairdryer. I’m living it! When I go back to work, I’m going as is. No-one will remember what I looked like before anyway!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 25/03/2010 at 5:55 pm #

      hooray, I am not alone!

  2. carolinesweetie 25/03/2010 at 5:26 pm #

    6 weeks with my leg in a plaster,enough said.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 25/03/2010 at 5:54 pm #

      I once had my leg bound with giant sellotape for 6 weeks. It’s was very unpleasant when it came off.

  3. Brit In Bosnia 25/03/2010 at 5:36 pm #

    Your beauty routine and mine sound remarkably similar. Except waxing? What is that? But occasionally I ADORE getting into blacktie. I don’t care I don’t look quite right, I look so different to normal no one notices!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 25/03/2010 at 5:54 pm #

      Leg waxing is good because you only have to do it once every few weeks. I’d have to shave daily.

  4. Alice 25/03/2010 at 7:18 pm #

    Ahhh a girl after my own heart. Read your article (page after mine) in Mummo magazine and loved it! Bravo to you… all we need is sandals, shorts and a cagool. The world is the most fabulous playground 🙂

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 25/03/2010 at 9:17 pm #

      I forgot to mention cagouls. Obviously I have one.
      I enjoyed your article in Mummo magazine too, your trip sounds completely fabulous!

  5. Annie 25/03/2010 at 7:53 pm #

    Well done you! Being a relatively “girly girl” I am absolutely impressed with your ability to keep things simple. Although I suppose my extremely corporate job plays a large roll in my beauty routine currently. 🙂

    I am enamored with your up-coming plan to travel around the world. I look forward to hearing all about it! Best of luck to you and your family!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 25/03/2010 at 9:18 pm #

      It’s mostly down to laziness rather than anything else. But it’s very handy when it comes to packing.

  6. Mummy Outnumbered 25/03/2010 at 9:38 pm #

    Im not alone!!!! With 3 boys I really have no time to make myself look very presentable. 2 minutes in the morning is all it takes. Ive got my friends hen party in 2 weeks and shes taking me shopping saturday for clothes to wear for it. Shes mentioned the words ‘leggings’ and ‘long boots’ which with my flabby legs is not making me feel exactly excited! What happened to jeans and a hoody?!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 25/03/2010 at 10:21 pm #

      My favourite going out outfit used to be a miniskirt and a fried egg tshirt. It was a long time ago.

  7. Paula 25/03/2010 at 10:06 pm #

    LOL, you’ll never want to come back from this trip! I love being low maintenance…except on a Wednesday when I’m forced into a cossie for toddler swimming lessons and every week I forget to shave…oh the shame! The best thing about it is that on the rare occasions that you make an effort, everyone notices and comments….saying in not so many words “So nice to see you not looking like something the dog barfed up”


    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 25/03/2010 at 10:20 pm #

      Many’s a time I’ve been swimming with French armpits. I’m quite good at breast stroke without exposing too much hair.

  8. mummylimited 25/03/2010 at 10:43 pm #

    Love your interpretation of the prompt and totally agree it is very liberating and holidays are when I really let all that go.

    Do you know what’s weird though I imagine you as an incredibly glamorous person so this came as quite a shock – despite the sheep avatar!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 25/03/2010 at 11:08 pm #

      Isn’t it funny how we have these fixed ideas of each other based on I don’t know what, that often aren’t really true. One of the conundrums of the online world.

  9. Laura 26/03/2010 at 1:13 pm #

    A woman after my own heart.

    I was really pleased when my son’s swimming lessons (where I have to get in with him ended) because I could go back to my Winter legs.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/03/2010 at 1:24 pm #

      Hooray! Shall tell the OH that there are lots of us with Winter Legs. He keeps making unfair comparisons with his own.

  10. yummymummyno1 26/03/2010 at 3:52 pm #

    Despite your wooly appearance (as a sheep!) I never imagined you would have winter legs.. How liberating it sounds though – I’m just not nearly as brave as you though and would have to be surgically removed from my GHD hair straighteners and the thought of being too far away from a Clinique counter brings me out in a cold sweat ; )
    Great post as ever x

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/03/2010 at 5:21 pm #

      Thank you. I never thought of the sheep as a metaphor for my woolly legs, but I guess there is something in that. I’m hiding behind the sheep because I don’t want people to see the full horror. What’s your excuse Mrs Cow?

      • yummymummyno1 26/03/2010 at 7:46 pm #

        ….humongous udders ; )

        • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 27/03/2010 at 8:24 pm #

          Ah, now I understand!

  11. christinemosler 26/03/2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Oh God, have I found hairy anonymous? An answer to my prayers! Ok, here goes: I am Chris and I am a hairy woman. Phew!
    Fab post, made me giggle, thank you!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/03/2010 at 5:20 pm #

      I think you could be on to something here! Hairy people of the world unite!

  12. London City Mum 26/03/2010 at 4:07 pm #

    Other Half has threatened to make me sleep in the spare room unless I sort out my legs.

    Told him I do not plan to wax until just before we go on holiday so it lasts for the whole 2 weeks at least.

    Also pointed out that his are hairier than mine.

    LCM x

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/03/2010 at 5:22 pm #

      This sounds like the kind of conversation my OH and I have on a weekly basis. I shall inform him that I am not as he thought a freak, but a normal woman like many others.

  13. Josie @Sleep is for the Weak 26/03/2010 at 5:51 pm #

    So according to this I would be a BRILLIANT traveller explorer person. Fab!

    Yes…. another hairy one here… Honestly what’s the point? It just grows back virtually instantaneously.

    God we sound so alluring and sexy don’t we.

    How any of us conceived our children is a mystery to me 😉

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/03/2010 at 5:58 pm #

      Hooray, another one! It’ll make it even easier to squeeze you into my backpack now I know I don’t have to bring a travel hairdryer…

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/03/2010 at 5:59 pm #

      As to the conception of children. Well men aren’t really that fussy are they? If it’s a choice between hairy woman and no woman at all, they’ll put up with most things. Or maybe they just love us for our minds…

  14. Brighton Mum-Teenage Angst 26/03/2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Oh thank you, we are NOT alone in our hairyness! Woo-hoo! I don’t shave my legs through winter, too lazy and they keep me warm!. I honestly can’t be bothered. I almost cry when I have to put my birkenstocks away, as they’re not very practical in a foot of snow!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 26/03/2010 at 6:15 pm #

      I hadn’t even thought of the warmth in winter argument, but you’re right, we are being green by saving on heating. It just keeps on getting better. Almost time for the Birkies to be dusted off…

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