I grew up with an amazing mother. She built houses with my dad; was the foreman on a cement pool installation company when they met; installed flooring like carpet, tile, and wood throughout her life; and even did a stint as a taxicab driver during her youth. My mother could do just about anything and still, to this day, has occasional wrestling matches with my older brother.
I was a tomboy--not exactly through and through, because I hated spiders, didn't really love to play outside, and have a vivid memory of sitting on the stairs, when I was about 5 or 6, totally distraught over my large thighs (ha!)--but I always resented the fact that because I was girl, I couldn't be a cowBOY. A cowGIRL with piggy tails just isn't as cool. I resented the fact that I couldn't take my shirt off when I was hot or pee standing up (although I've heard that my mom could do it like a champ back in the day). I wanted to be just like my mom; strong like my mom and be a laborer, like her. But she never encouraged that. "No, Corynne," she'd say, "You don't want to do this kind of work. I want you to do something more ladylike." At the time, it frustrated me. I thought I would prove her wrong, but I never did. My mom seemed to have a knack for having a bead on what her kids would pursue, but that's another story.
Anyway, I didn't know it at the time, but I needed that fool modeling agency to make me comfortable in my skin, my girl-skin. It was something my mom didn't really know how to teach me. But that's okay. I didn't even realize I needed it until years afterward. Modeling school was like a ladies finishing school for me. At the time, I think I thought I had a shot at being famous or publicly touted as a true beauty, but in the end, I am happy to settle with just being comfortable as a female. I learned a lot of things during my "modeling training." For instance: I had never had a face washing routine, tweezed my slight unibrow, known anything about makeup or how to wear it, manicured my nails, or had a proper answering machine message. These were all things I learned at the agency. Some of them are shallow and dumb, but to this day, if you call my cellphone and get the machine, you will hear a rather proper greeting, which I get teased about all the time, but still can't quite seem to shake the habit of. I learned that at modeling school! (Not to mention how to walk down a catwalk with attitude...) Now, I know that all of this sounds so ridiculous, but would it help if I told you that I was also home-schooled and never grew up around kids my own age? I had no peers until 10th grade.
Everything I know about hygiene and presentableness comes from that modeling agency, my little sister (in-law) who is a make up artist, and a few consultations at Sephora. So, I'm a prime candidate for improvement and enlightenment when it comes to these things.
So, here's the real reason of my story. I was going to tell you that I went away for a few days to a pastor's wives' conference and while I was there (with hundreds of other women) I had an enlightening discovery!
One of the mornings I was there, a friend/mentor of mine and I were discussing face washing in our shared bathroom for 6: "I love the way it feels after I wash my face, but I hate actually doing it," I complained.
"Why is that?" she asked.
"Because its so messy. Water gets everywhere!"
"Well, that's because you're splashing water everywhere like that!" she chided. "I don't know how you even do that."
So, my kind friend proceeded to explain how a real lady washes her face and I was just absolutely stunned. I never knew there was another way to do it besides splashing myself silly with water, and then sudsing up with soap as bubbles and water drip down my arms and face and neck and then splash-splashing again to rinse.
Apparently, all you need to do is get your hands wet (not your face!), add soap, lather a little in your hand, apply to your face and then wet a washcloth with warm water and gently wipe it off. So soothing, so relatively dry and civilized. I'm almost 30 years old, people. This is a revelation! Some things you just can't learn at school.
(me on the right)