I’ve been listening to Dennis Prager on a semi-regular basis, and he mentioned recently that last week he spent some time discussing whether it was important that women strive to look their best and not “let themselves go.” I decided then and there, (I was in the parking lot of my gym), that I must write on this issue. because it happens to be close to my heart. (Or my ego. Potato, potahtoe.)
Do I, a modern gal, believe that it is my responsibility to look good for my man? (Or any man?) I am the woman who has threatened to shave her head on several occasions because she rejects the oppressive, patriarchal and arbitrary standards of conventional beauty, after all. I lift weights daily. I have callused hands and more gym clothes than regular clothes. I swear a lot.
Hell yeah I think women have a responsibility to look good, whether for your partner or for yourself. Ultimately, taking care of yourself is not really for anyone else. I personally hate leaving the house without makeup, partially because I do not have the unbelievably creamy, heavenly skin of Benedict Cumberbatch (guys can have beautiful skin too, you know), but mostly because I feel equipped to take on the world when I feel pretty. (Here I should note that my makeup philosophy is one of enhancement rather than masking — be the prettiest you, ladies, not the prettiest drag queen.) So yes, I wear concealer to the gym in the morning. I don’t like to wear masks and pajamas around the house during the day. I don’t like to lounge around unshowered and greasy until noon. I get up, shower, and put my makeup on. I work out. I try to eat well. I take care and pride in how I dress regardless of where I’m going or doing during the day.
I wear running skirts to the gym.
I know a lot of girls who think that it is their right and prerogative to relax their standards a bit after they’ve “secured” a male, and they could not be more wrong. You don’t have to maintain your birth weight throughout your entire life, or even look as “good” as you did in high school (I am so much better looking in my thirties than I was in my teens), but acting like you give a shit whether your partner finds you attractive is imperative. It’s a matter of respect. It says, “I still care what you think.” But a lot of women don’t really care what their partner thinks after a certain point, because a lot of women in our society feel they are entitled to do whatever the hell they want, and that no one — not even their partner — can say otherwise.
I think the most controversial aspect of this is the idea that if a woman lets herself go and then her partner steps out on her, that it is partially the woman’s fault. While looks aren’t everything in a committed relationship, they’re still important. It is said that women are less concerned with physicality than men and while I’m sure that is generally true, it isn’t true in my case. I’m shallow, so shoot me. And I feel that if I’m this shallow, I should assume that everyone else is, and act accordingly. At least look like you’ve made an effort, ladies, because at some point, they’re going to notice someone who does.
Having a vagina does not entitle one to anything, other than a little old-fashioned chivalry. (Yes, I do want the door opened for me, even if I can lift more than you.) We live in an age of mixed messages, and while I spend a lot of time talking about the mixed messages given to men in our society, it is just as bad for the women. You’re perfect the way you are, but you need to be under 100 pounds to be anything more than invisible. You don’t need a man, but you must do everything in your power to secure one. Love is all you need, but he/she better make over $200K a year, drive a nice car, have perfect credit, and be someone of some importance before you even consider that first date. Men have the attention span and intelligence of a jellyfish, but you can totally let yourself go once you get him to commit. Because you deserve it, all of it, everything. And no one can tell you otherwise or they are sexist.
Making an effort to look good is a matter of respect. Respect for yourself, because by spending time in the ritualized act of beauty (I love getting pretty), you are investing time in yourself. You are telling the world that you are, in fact, worth it and you know it. It’s also respect shown to your partner, because you are telling him/her that what they think of you still matters, and that you’re okay with that.
Make an effort, get your butt off the couch, get your hair did, invest in some nice, well-constructed clothes that fit. And above all else, resist the call of the sweatpants, not just for the sake of your other half, but for ours too. I don’t want to see that when I’m at the store at 6pm on a weeknight.
[I know I'm going to get shit for my use of he/she, him/her, but I don't care. That's how I roll, bitches.]