Yesterday I was chatting with a couple that's been married for 45 years. They're the type of couple that seems to kind of look like each other, both short and happy with gray hair and glasses. They finish each other's sentences. They both smile constantly with doses of loud, hearty laughter mixed into their conversation. I couldn't imagine either with anyone else, and yet, I learned that when they first met, neither found the other fairly interesting or attractive.
(See! Not all first dates are perfect, but many lead to long-lasting love.)
Husband: I was 21 and mentioned to a friend that it seemed like all the girls had somehow become taller than I was. And she said, "I know a really cute, short girl!" So I headed over that night to meet her, and I thought my friend was crazy. "THAT girl is the CUTE girl?" I thought!
My wife wasn't wearing ANY makeup and she wore a pair of cut-off jeans. Plus she was wearing a pair of those cat-eye glasses with gold trim.
She looked at me and was just as unimpressed. She kinda' turned her nose up at me.... But we became friends anyway. And it took a while before I finally saw her with a fresh set of eyes.
As the husband relayed this story to me, all I could think of were all those fashion magazines and dating tips that keep telling women the secrets to "nabbing" a guy - most of which seem to include perfect makeup, a hot bod, and shiny hair. Or at least that's the impression I feel left with sometimes. As he chatted about how it took him forever to realize he was in love with this woman who's perfect for him, this is the conclusion I came up with:
No Makeup + Cut-offs = 45 years of marriage
For you ladies...
Here we are told over and over again to prettify ourselves. And while I do believe there is much credit to taking care of bodies and doing our best to present our best selves, there can also be a point where we cross over into that dangerous zone of defining ourselves solely on our looks (or perceived lack thereof).
What I loved about this husband's love story was that he held himself accountable. He now realizes that his wife wasn't really a fuddy duddy. He just needed to look at her with a "new set of eyes."
Wouldn't we be lucky if we all looked at ourselves and each other that way?
To be honest, the whole "women + makeup" issue has me a bit up in arms today after reading this fantastic Forbes article by Jenna Goudreau where she talks about the outcome of a recent study that talks about the success and likeability of made-up women.
I'm reminded of the "No Makeup Week" challenge given by blogger Rachel Rabbit White, which she actually blogged about today and suggested doing the challenge again on her own. Check it out and see if you're up for something similar.
Luckily, I have this video to make me feel better today, with or without makeup: