I'm not really a slave to vanity.
I bite my nails and my commitment to the gym is more of a passing interest than it is an obsession. I eschew any form tanning (natural or the bed version), though I will on occasion give in to a schmear of the sunless variety.
But the hair - that's another story.
You could pretty much set your watch to my habit of consistent salon scheduling. I make an appointment for some version of a highlight (full/partial/brushlight) two months in advance on or around the 15th of each month.
I guess I am a bit compulsive about my need to be covered in bleach and aluminum foil.
This Saturday I sat patiently as some 23-year-old stylist combed through my chia pet hair, sectioning out different clumps and pinning them up in hair clips. She was careful to comb slowly so as to not tug on my flaxen blonde and copper streaked tendrils.
She was young - the stylist. A head full of deep, purpley maroon hair and a fringe of orange highlights just around the hairline on her forehead. Her name was Cori - she had a tiny little nose ring and I could tell she was trying to project a hardened, all knowing image laced with a dash of punk.
And I thought she was cool.
Then she said she was waiting for a man to find her and whisk her away and take care of her for the rest of her life.
I suppose that's what every girl dreams of when they're 23. It's certainly what I dreamed of when I was 23 - sugar plum fantasies of a white picket fence and a handsome husband to balance the check book and make babies with me. At least that's what I think I dreamed about as I eased in and out of the haze that comes with a young, drunken stupor.
And so she went on, sparkling as she talked about how a man was going to take her away and make her life alright - and that's when I told her I knew that dream all too well.
I told her I used to wish for that very same thing when I was her age - and I've since learned how to take care of myself. I told her I had to become independent while I waited for Prince Charming to find me... and I told her I was still waiting for him to find me after all these years.
And that's when she asked me how old I am.
31, I replied.
"Wow. Well you don't look your age," she said without a thought or hesitation.
Really, now? Thanks. But what DOES 31 look like, anyway?
I realize now it doesn't look that different from 23 - at least on the outside.