The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Friday, 26 April 2013

Why does ME TIME have to mean SPENDING MONEY ON ME?

There's been a huge rise in recent decades in the utter total tosh myth that women who "juggle" work/family/house etc deserve pampering in their time off.  Pampering perforce means a beautician's appointment, a spa day or a spray tan, or an expensive hair-do. Or holding a botox party.  Or maybe an indulgently expensive piece of clothing.  Or noo shoes, especially noo shoes.

Without at least one of these a week it seems the magazine-devouring plate-spinner who is The Modern Woman would capsize under the weight of what the word expects of her.  Her husband or partner will find her burnt out husk in a little dry pile behind the bedroom door and the children will scratch their heads and wonder who will drive them to and fro now, and nervously ask one another how much a taxi costs.  She will have imploded and be no use to man nor beast.  The only thing that could reconstitute and re-inflate her might be a stately home hotel weekend with seaweed wraps and saunas.  Nothing other or else will do!

How I ever got to the age I am without all this I have no idea.  I have only ever had a couple of therapeutic massages when suffering from chronic back pain. I've never had a facial, even self-administered. I colour my own hair. I cut my own fringe. I tan my own skin, slowly and gradually, sitting in my own garden. I fail to moisturise any part of body, even my face, most days. I paint my own toenails, and cut and file same, but only in the sandal season we laughably call summer here in the UK. My fingernails are rarely enamelled or adorned, as I am busy in garden or house most days so what is the point as they will be ruined within minutes? Cut and clean is enough.

But do like a decent haircut every once in a while. If going through a short hair phase this will be three times a year, if growing it, not at all. The pooch receives more pampering. As does the car which is valeted more often than I am, as some things I draw the line at and washing and hoovering a mere vehicle is one of them.

Me Time? Do I ever have any?  Yeah, LOADS.  It's every time I lie down for a little stretch out and an idle think when I've just changed and made up the bed (a brief reward, but very appreciated after twenty minutes of what I call duvet-struggling).  It's the moment each night when the dog and I curl up for a cuddle at the end of the day.  It is any and every snatched minute of a day when it is quiet enough to think my own thoughts.

It's enough. I truly believe the real me resides between my ears, and in my lumpy but delightfully familiar old body, not on the surface where I am most visible to others So long as I don't frighten the horses I'll DO, unless it's a Very Special Occasion, and if one has too many of those the risk is they cease to be special at all.


  1. Personally, I blame Cosmo.

    That's where I first read, as an impressionable teen who thought herself oh-so-sophisticated, that we could (nay, should) have it all. And by implication, if we didn't, we were failing not only ourselves but all of our sisters.

    As you know, I have a soft spot for my hardresser, but apart from that I'm low-maintenance - despite the shocked looks from friends and acquaintances when I tell them "No, I don't have facials", "I paint my own nails", "Fake tans just look daft" and "Why would ANYONE want to truss themselves up in clingfilm?"

    The real Me Time is within us - we just have to remember how to get at it.

    1. Hello, Ms Well Meant,

      I left such a long comment on your blog I thought I'd work it up into a longer piece for my own. Thanks for the initial inspiration and for stopping by on here.

      Yeah, Hurley-Brown (was that the name of the editor?) certainly seemd to set out to put the body beautiful, slender and sexual at the heart of being female, and gave rise to dozens of narcissistic neuroses along the way. And even more small businesses on every high street, especially the godawful Ann Summers!

      I am awfully fond of Lycra underpinnings as well as a good hair cut. I buy two pairs of new shoes a year whether I need them or no, usually boots in autumn and sandals in spring, and wear them until they shred. I also have half-a-dozen pairs of bog-standard pharmacy sunglasses as I am always losing them and finding then again. Apart from that, and a small selection of cosmetics, the rest of the beauty industry can go hang!

  2. I cannot think of many things more repellent than having someone faffing around me with mud packs or manicure gear.
    My Me Time is for me...not for inflating the profits of companies selling twaddle to twats.

    1. I think the younger generations have fallen prey to all this even more than their mothers, Fly.

      My daughter has a manicurist she goes to (but then she earns reasonable money and has elected not to have a family, so I suppose she has more disposable income and time than I enjoyed in my thirties) but she is pertrified of her as she barks at her in a heavily accented English offering treatments she's never haerd of, so I can't imagine she finds it at all restful.

      She also gets her eyebrows done professionally from time to time as the lady did it so beautifully when she was a bride two years ago. Some method called threading, or summat.

      EEK! That's just reminded me of bridal magazines, the wedding industry and Bridezillas. Entire weekends of pampering for the hen party group. Rolls eyes in back of head and dashes off upstairs for a quiet lie down

  3. Hari OM
    ....Here here and ditto!!! Hollywood-Bollywood-and if there is such a thing-Lollywood. It started with Dallas. Should've ended there. Sigh.

    I'm with you, gal, out in the garden being with nature and letting same take its course.

    Enjoy the weekend! YAM xx

  4. OOh, yes, Yam; Big Hair, Big Shoulders, Power Dressing Killer Heels. The 1980s ushered then all in, didn't it? First it was grooming (but you can do most of that yourself with a hairbrush and heated rollers and a mascara wand), then it was waxing (I have never, ever had anything waxed in my entire life) and then pampering and even "treatments" as though a person is ILL, and not just vain and insecure.

    Pah! to it all. However, I will confess to always slowing down outside my favourite shoe boutique in our little market town, especially when I spot the word SALE!

    1. ..... ah yes well. SALE! is the exception to the rule!! 8-)

  5. As you know only too well, Baby Sis, I'm a lost cause as far as the pampering and beauty industries are concerned - and the clothes and shoes industries too when it comes down to it. :-) I don't even read the magazines that push all this stuff either.

    I've cut my own hair for years, ever since I realised that I could never get hairdressers to cut it as I want it, but was still paying for it regardless of results. The only beauty treatments I ever use are very basic unscented moisturiser on my face and hands and good shampoo. I only tan when I'm working in the sun as I usually try to sit in the shade. I actively hate buying clothes and shoes and only buy them when I absolutely have to.

    So yes, a lost cause and quite contentedly so.

    1. Consider the lilies in the fields, Big Sis...

      I still love to raid charity shops back in Hertfordshire where we used to live, when I am visiting, especially in the affluent little town of Berkhamsted. You would hardly credit the quality and condition of the stuff some ladies there part with and pass on. Same for books, most of what I buy to read is second hand.

      So I get a new outfit at a smugly low price and a nice feeling of donating to a good cause all at the same time. Sorted!

    2. I'm still wearing garments bought in Oxford charity shops when we lived in the area. The ones on the High were especially rewarding. :-) As for books, I buy them secondhand by the yard to take to France. In Wales I'm happy to support my local library.

  6. Another lost cause here as well. I do have a 6 weekly basic haircut and use a little lipstick when going out with a little make up for very rare special occasions. I use moisturiser but that is it, perhaps when I get old I may do something more drastic but that is not likely - 69 at present.

    1. I suspect if it's worked well so far then it is likely to stand you in good stead a little longer, Susan, although I have heard older skin does dry and crack much more easily so maybe come cocoa butter after showering or bathing might be needed one day. Until then a touch of lippy is always heartening!