The Eliza Doolittle Complex
I have a bit of a complex. It has to do with my appearance. And it is totally ego-centric, vain, and narcissistic. Here’s how it goes: there is a normal part of me that generally wants to look good, all the time; but another, more cunning and meticulous part of me wants me to look like I don’t care that much about my appearance. Believe me, I care. But I definitely don’t want to look like I’m trying.
Probably ever since seeing the film My Fair Lady as a kid, I have had this fantasy about being noticed by someone who recognizes that I could look a lot better than I do. A Henry Higgins if you will, but not so much a speech therapist and etiquette coach as a Clinton and Stacy team.
Granted, there is a new aspect to this situation since becoming a mother that doesn’t really allow me any time to care. And there is the fact that I adore feeling comfortable more than feeling cute. And also that I can’t really afford to have a great wardrobe & a fabulous haircut every six weeks. Plus, I was about half-tomboy as a kid (“half” because on top of playing soccer and practicing my free throw during my spare time, I loved dressing up and playing “ladies” and have tea parties with my cousin).
So to make a long story short, here’s a list of things I could probably do but don’t really want to:
- Wear make-up
- Shave my legs more than twice a month
- Wear heels once in a while
- Pay some attention to my nails
- Spend more than 46 seconds on my hair
- Wear some jewelry besides my wedding band
- Pluck my eyebrows more carefully and thoroughly
- Refrain from buying pants and t-shirts in the boys’ section at the store
Ok, so here is where it gets more complex. Besides wanting to be some kind of diamond in the rough, waiting to be discovered and made over, which may be partly responsible for this behavior, there is part of me that does (or doesn’t do) these things out of a kind of feminist rebellion. Part of me is simply a minimalist. And part of me has grown so accustomed to not giving the time for these things, that it has really become an issue of practicality. I mean, I already have 50 more things than I can actually accomplish on my daily to-do list. But I still have a fantasy that underneath my boyishness/sloppiness, I am stunning and that my Henry Higgins will notice that beauty and want to bring it out. Besides, what girl hasn’t wished she were Audrey Hepburn?
So what’s your personality contradiction?
(Cross-posted on my personal blog.)