It Takes Pains to Be Beautiful but I’m No Masochist

My neighbor is a hair stylist. Last year or the one before, I set an appointment with her and got ready for it. I put in contact lenses, dressed in actual clothes, and applied my usual round of makeup.

After she worked her magic and I admired the results in the mirror, she said, “This is the time you go home, put on your makeup, and take a selfie.”

I didn’t tell her that was about as made-up as I got.

I also didn’t tell her that I don’t take selfies.


Granted, I have negative thoughts and poor self-esteem and little support or encouragement from people I know in real life. Those things may contribute to the anti-selfie-thing. Mostly, I tell myself, I avoid preening and self-photography because it’s selfish, shallow, and silly.

Whether anyone agrees with me or no, we’ve probably all noticed that one cannot go through life without any pictures being taken. If the old superstitions regarding photography are correct; my local gym, Costco, and the DMV all stole a piece of my soul. But when I consider voluntarily sharing my face all over the place like a peacock, I instead turn into a turtle.

The same is true of beauty tips and tricks, makeup, spa treatments, Botox, tummy tucks, hair removals, and other alterations women make to screw up enhance their natural beauty.

To me: it’s weird, verging on wrong.

Recently on TwoFacebook, one of my neighbors invited everyone to a Botox Party. We-e-e-ell -it was a cheaper version of the same thing. As I read people’s comments I came to realize the event was like Tupperware Parties of old, except women showed up to inject themselves and not to preserve leftovers. (In a way, they are still preserving leftovers.)


I realize I may have a less-desperate perspective because I am younger. I haven’t started coloring my hair yet, though my boys seem determined to hasten that greying process.

Yet as I do age, I notice signs of the process that are less attractive. My body weight has shifted. I have eye lines at the corners. My lips, never much darker than my pale skin to begin with, have disappeared and require coloring if I want someone to find them.

I’d postulate that I may embrace more of these treatments as I age, yet also know I will always feel a slight shudder at the prospect. I really and truly wish we could all stop with so much makeup and injections. I wish we could all age gracefully and all be okay with that.

Instead I find much older women with blonde hair, fake eyelashes, and skin that resembles a folded potato. How many times did that woman go tanning? Nip a fat layer? Inject her face? Kill her roots with that color?


Where do you stand? Do you like women who are wearing so much makeup they used a trowel to apply it? Are you in favor of all this ‘mainstream’ plastic surgery these days? Is beauty only skin deep and is this how we unearth it?



They may not be selfie-worth, but here’s what I wrote this week:
Wednesday, February 27: Wrote “The Power of the Word,” a short dive into wordcrafting and wordplay.
Thursday, February 28: “The Cure for Depression: Get Up and MOVE,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.
Friday, March 1: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Furious Pockets!
Saturday, March 2: Announced the 16th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. Something about stories with a moral. PLEASE ENTER!
Plus, I posted a picture of my totally-not-dated St. Patrick’s Day t-shirt. For those hecklers, that is my perhaps my fourth selfie ever taken.
, March 3: “Right Quite Not Something’s,” my poem entry for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week. Da Vinci shook hands with Yoda while readers eyes’ crossed.
Monday, March 4: “Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Four.”
Tuesday, March 5:  An inspirational quote by Brian Tracy.
Wednesday, March 6: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote about supporting mothers, how boys smell, and why quiet time is suspicious time.

That’s not all! I wrote a piece for Kids are the Worst titled “Screaming Kids? I’ve Got a Music Playlist for That.” It’s very helpful. Trust me.


Photo Credit:
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash
Photo by on Unsplash
Photo by yunona uritsky on Unsplash
Photo by on Unsplash

63 thoughts on “It Takes Pains to Be Beautiful but I’m No Masochist

  1. “Where do you stand?” On my feet. Seriously, I guess I understand wanting to make oneself look “better” because it might make a person feel better about themselves, but I don’t agree with it. I don’t think anyone should do anything to alter their natural beauty and (and I know this is not a popular opinion) that opinion extends to shaving and I don’t know why women do it. I hope beauty isn’t only skin deep but watch enough TV and that’s the message we get.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Im lucky enough to be with a woman whose embraced her natural badger, who uses a mascara pencil thingy to write labels for her seed trays and has a smile which turns glaciers to steam. 42 years together 35 married and she’s gorgeous. Stick to your guns Chelsea there are many with that self same attitude

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I lived in Texas for several years and they trowel on the makeup like they were expecting a worldwide shortage. It never looked good to me, but the guys down there loved it…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think expectations of beauty are changing, but will they ever be good? I don’t know. It’s a hard thing to think about. I try to believe that it doesn’t matter.

    Then again, I often have a completely nihilistic opinion about a lot of things, because I’m having a hard time deciding on what *does* matter right now. D=

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think part of it is that we’re still so fixated and worried about meeting, catching, and keeping sexual/romantic partners, and there’s the idea that older partners (especially women) aren’t good for reproduction. If we can make that worry less disconcerting, I think we’d be better off, and the only way to get rid of that worry is to focus on the inside more than the outside.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I agree that’s part of it, though I think catching and mating with someone is important in terms of future populations. 🙂

          We definitely need more focus on inner beauty as well as natural health.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. The “Clooney-like” comment made me laugh because on certain days I also hold myself up in comparison to him. And I don’t know why because I don’t know that I’ve ever seen any of his movies beyond “From Dusk till Dawn” or seen him beyond the news and those commercials he did with Danny DeVito. But why him and not someone like Paul Newman or Cary Grant?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. And I don’t even think Clooney is that attractive. He’s kind-of scary-looking. Of course, I may have different tastes than the general population.


  5. ” I avoid preening and self-photography because it’s selfish, shallow, and silly. ” – – – I couldn’t agree with you more. And what is it with people that constantly fish pout lips in selfies?????? I just plain don’t get it.
    Just be yourself, and feel comfortable in your own skin. That is all that really matters!!! 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ok. I’m sort of the middle. I wear make up almost every day, but somewhere in between minimal and trowel. I take really good care of my skin…wash every night, face masques, moisturizer. Hair cut and colored about every 8 weeks, minimal product and blow dry. No Botox. No plastic surgery. No selfies, but I do wefies I guess…if with my daughter or friend will do group selfie. Just be you. Great post!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m not really a fan of selfies either, but I think everyone deserves their moment. And I don’t really like make-up, I just kind of like to be real with people and myself.

    But if its something other people enjoy then they should be able to do what they want -I just hope it’s not at the cost of animals.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, the animal cruelty thing sucks.
      Mostly I have opinions about how much others lather on because it’s fake, it encourages a perfect reality for impressionable people to try to aspire to, and I’m an honest person who thinks everyone should be himself. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. When you get grey hair you’ll get offered a seat on the bus. Oh! That’s right – that was yesteryear. These days no one gives up their seat – so there’s no reason not to dye grey hair. I don’t have a phone that takes pictures or if it does I am not aware…

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A warm personality, a friendly smile, and a cheerful attitude will make someone beautiful no matter the age.

    Superficial attributes of attractiveness and youth are only important in the sexual market.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I do not color my hair any longer. I rarely wear makeup, and when I do it is barely noticeable except by those who notice those things. Botox and body changing “enhancements “ I am totally against unless someone is severely disfigured from an accident. It disgusts me how when I go to see a dermatologist next week they will be advertising all kinds of beauty tweaks… I just want to be sure I don’t have any cancer spots. Ug.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! You sound like me. 🙂
      I remember reading a magazine article 10 years ago; one in which they’d asked a panel of ‘experts’ for beauty advice. Every one of them suggested an injection or a tuck in answer to specific issues. …I was kinda hoping they would share which moisturizer is best.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s a valid point; plus things like alcohol or drug use, tanning or sunburning, and sudden weight gain and loss. 🙂

          I’m sure you are a very lovely 29-year-old, Ruth. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  11. couldn’t agree with you more. glad there’s still some genuine people in this ugly world…
    i am 26 and i do wear eye makeup but only cruelty free and nothing high-end. i grow my hair out year after year so i can donate it. it’s hard for me to make friends with other girls; i feel like i have nothing in common with people my age… and you will never see me take a selfie. it’s hard at times but i simply don’t live for myself and this world, i pray for the people that do. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  12. When are women going to get over the need for makeup. Why wear a mask. Is it something deep within a women’s psyche that feels this need of expression. I remember a community meeting consisting of an equal number of men and women over 50. One women actually said look at all these men with grey hair……and I had to really bite my tongue as I looked on all these older blonde women. That’s a true story. Neither my wife or 45 year old daughter wear makeup or dye their hair. Sorry this is not meant to be a blog…..but it’s tempting. Stick to your guns Chelsea, make a stand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I can try to make a stand, but most people would rather see outside beauty than inside. :/ I mean, look at our celebrities.

      Your story about the older women is funny. That’s been my exact experience as well.


  13. We often are trained as females to compare our “beauty.” But there’s nothing more beautiful than a genuine smile flashed at another; eyes that tear up with emotioned shared with another; hands that aren’t afraid to touch the hair of another in comfort. That said, I don’t think we should be ashamed to have a beauty routine. We should encourage each other to see the beauty within each other. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I watched a tedx talk with a supermodel (Cameron Russell, you can Google it if you’d like) and she mentioned that models are some of the most insecure people around. Another model I listened to/read somewhere said models are constantly being told they’re not good enough. I found this very interesting…

    I like beauty, makeup and feeling pretty. I’m encouraged by the new Barbie dolls I see at stores that have different skin colors, hair types and figures. I think this is a step in the right direction.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My opinion is that the Almighty made all unique masterpieces, but still in His image. Then He told us that He had. Most do not believe His intent (doubt His competence? consider themselves a better judge?) Our improvements are generally not. At least they are usually temporary, though some less temporary than others. You are a very industrious writer. I have been trying to finish the same document at work for two months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A good religious perspective, and one taught by the faith I attend. Yet, the women in my neighborhood STILL inject, makeup, and diet. They’re all so blonde; what’s wrong with being the color your hair grows?

      Thank you for the compliment as well. 🙂 I have more free time for writing than I used to have. That, and the housework is suffering. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  16. When I was younger, I always claimed I’d color my hair when it started to gray because ‘why look older than you have to?’ As the gray hairs started arriving, I recognized a more overriding truth – I was far too lazy for that. If you color your hair, you have to stay on top of it to keep it looking ‘natural’ (or you get that seesaw back and forth) and I knew I would quickly lose interest in that. So, better to never start.

    On the other hand, I was never much into makeup and beauty products – too much of a tomboy growing up. For a few years, after I moved out West where no one knew me and wouldn’t tease me about any efforts, I did dabble in applying a little makeup. But that didn’t last long – too much trouble.

    As for others, I prefer people to look natural and merely enhancing or accenting. I see literal ‘painted ladies’ and I have a hard time believing they or anyone else finds it attractive. I guess the fact that I keep seeing it argues that point.

    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple…and red hats…and anything else comfortable and pleasing! And I do.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Chelsea, I love the inner beauty in people and I am one of those ladies who DOES NOT thrive on makeup or selfies. When I have taken a ‘selfie,” it is not really that but something for my memories of me with another person or an animal I love.

    I am 77 and sometimes I do or at least believe I will do some strange and wonderful things though. I think they are adventures of the mind, and it makes me happy inside to do them, but not for the reasons people might think. So after I had the cancer, I decided I was going to become part of the local roller derby practice each week. I was 74 then. It was really a celebration of life, and I did have several photos taken of me in that time. I didn’t skate though I tried; limbs too fragile and shaky anymore, though when I was younger, I could have done it. I am glad I lived to celebrate and indulge in one of my bucket list fantasies.

    Next it was wanting to ride a horse naked. I think I was turning 75, and it had something to do with celebrating women being able to speak their minds these days. My old mind can’t remember the specifics, but it was something that made me feel good after so many years of living as a mute servant to men at work when I actually had brains of my own and could have done more if I had been given the chance back then.

    Now at 77, I dyed my hair red to acknowledge my other self – Anne of Green Gables. Everything about her is who I am and have been as a person, and actually, my hair used to be red when I was younger, albeit strawberry blonde red. Well, we all can fantasize and at 77, I deserve the right to my memories or who I want to celebrate in my fantasies. I don’t try to be beautiful; most days are without any makeup at all, and when I do use makeup, it is really minimal and takes about 1 minute to do the whole thing. But I think memories and celebrating who we are, who we were, or something about women that we want to acknowledge is a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne, thank you for sharing all that with me. You are an amazing woman. You dye your hair whatever color makes you happy. 🙂
      I’m sure it’s the inauthentic, lemming-like behavior of the blonde-topped Botox-infused women that bothers me so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too, Chelsea. I see plenty of those out here in Southern California, and the men are just as bad!!! Is anyone just a real person? And I think parents are partly responsible, for I see kids at school (I used to work with special needs children in the school system) – especially little girls, coming to school looking made up and dressed like 18-year-olds. What ever happened to just being a child? So sad. Values have definitely changed since I was young. In fact, even in high school, girls did not wear that much makeup. And we had clothes then that were pretty – summer dresses with full skirts and pretty tops and petticoats beneath, and then in winter sweaters or sweater sets and sheath skirts. Oh, those were the days. Women curled their hair but in a natural and pretty way, and it all seems so natural looking when I think back on it. Today it is sad that youngsters often look like street hookers, and the values of the young people have pretty much gone out the window too. We live in a throw-away society and that doesn’t just apply to men and women who throw each other away at the drop of a hat, but also today they are throwing newborns out into the streets, the trash cans, and even drowning them. And older babies and children are abandoned, abused/tortured and murdered in the most horrific ways. And now we have teens telling each other on the internet to murder their parents, or murder other children. Society is at its worst level ever in my humble opinion. Hugs, Anne

        Liked by 1 person

        1. 😥 I see this, too, though not at the extremes you have witnessed.

          I feel an overall deterioration in societal values has snowballed all of these other symptoms, though they might be advancing together with hands held for solidarity.


  18. I wish you lived closer. I would take you to my gym and we could run on treadmills and chat. And you could see this woman there who has done some really strange things to her face. She is very nice, attractive, young and yet feels the need to alter her face? I don’t get it. I’m talking clown eyebrows and lip botox. But I guess the gym is a place for altering your looks. I’m attempting to alter my newly acquired menopausal belly and butt! Enjoy your youth. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would be so fun to have a gym buddy! I’m sure you’d leave me behind, but we could talk before then. 😉

      And, yikes! My writings about “potato skin” and bleaching are all from people I’ve seen. Some people, mostly women from my personal experience, take the alterations too far!

      I’m trying to enjoy the last remnants of youth. Having run and birthed children in my earlier years, I have definitely experienced changes already and know more are to come. Aging sucks, but we all do it; may as well try to embrace it as healthily and honestly as we can.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a love/hate with the gym. I’ve gone most of my life off and on, but now that I have found myself as a ‘runner’ , I don’t really care for the other types of exercise. I have to make myself do it. I do love the Stairclimber because it makes me sweat so much! Lol. I am definitely not trying to be a ‘fitness model’. I don’t even have boobs. Hahaha! But anyway, one of the good things about treadmills is that you can chat with the person next to you no matter what speed you each run!

        Liked by 1 person

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