My Character Flaw
I have what amounts to a major character flaw. I care very little about my appearance. Note that I did not say that I do not care about my appearance. It's just that I care less than most, or what the heck, less than all my friends. But can I help it if all my friends are narcissitic and superficial?
This flaw is inherited; it came straight through in the genetic package my parents handed me. Unfortunately, the recessive genes they were hiding chose to come out in my other siblings, who are all extremely smart, or rather, superficial and narcissistic.
In childhood, it wasn't my fault if I was a shade scruffy. It could always be cheerfully passed off as my mom's fault. Now that I have kids myself, and a scruffy pair they are, too, I realise how unfair and ridiculous such blame of a mother is; after all, each person, young or old is responsible for themselves.
In college, I managed to pass off with the rest of the crowd because anyway no one expected collegians to wear anything except jeans, and it was at the time fashionable for others to do what was natural to me - manage with one or two pairs of jeans and three or four T-shirts. For the occasional party/ formal day, my mom's sarees were good enough, and she got used to them being returned with rips and tears here and there. I still wonder whether that was why she always gave me her oldest sarees. However, that again was fashionable, like my roommate wearing her grandma's lehenga to her wedding; the older something was the more antique and valuable and blah-blah.
When I began my working life, though, things changed. I like cotton sarees, and wear them sometimes to work. A couple of my nurse friends, however, asked me with the air of having been wanting to ask for a long time "What's wrong with your blouse?" They were Malayalis, and no one wears saris better than Malayali nurses. (I think they can get sarees to do their bidding, much like snake-charmers with their snakes.) Their objection to my blouse was that it was not well fitting enough. Me, I like to breathe, and anyway was in the down phase of my weight yo-yo, and had not bothered to correct my blouses. I displeased the ladies exceedingly.
Since then, that pattern has continued. I may be neat and tidy enough, but never, sigh, never do I reach that level of sartorial elegance that my friends would like. Either my kameez is too simple, or they complain that my dupatta does not bring out the strongest shade in the pattern. They do not like my wearing flat heels with pants, or sarees, insisting that both need high heels. They brush aside my protest that heels are for parties, and flats for better for working days. "You have to be able to bear a little discomfort to look good," says my friend K sternly. When I suggest that my back is more important than looking good, they exchange resigned glances.
Oh, and make-up and accessories! Can I help it if my friends spend most of their monthly income on these trivialities? One of my friends has a cupboard full of junk jewellery, and a roomful of bags, and shoes. I am all admiration for the effort she puts into buying the pretty things (they are really cute, her bags, and ear-rings), keeping them organised and dusting and cleaning that room, but I have not the least desire to buy another bag; this one should do for another year, I think; and I still have another month before I change my ear-rings (I usually change them once in two months or so).
And it is NOT that I do not wear make-up, why i still have that lipstick I bought for the christmas party five years ago. However, I do think that fashion and make-up is rather a sexist thing; why, should only women have to painfully pull out their hair in one place, and painfully attach hair in another? Why do we alone have to colour our lips (and now our hair) to what is seen as an "attractive' colour? Whats wrong with black, anyway? And my lips are a nice brown, why should I colour them red? My friends, of course, are so deceived by the superficial sexist world they inhabit that they do not appreciate the depth of my objections. They roll their eyes, and make rude commecnts about my character flaw, while continuing shrieking as they wax their legs.
My Character Flaw
- » Published on October 04, 2007
- » Type: Opinion
- » Filed under: