When I was in my early twenties, a close friend’s father got remarried. When I asked my friend what his dad’s new wife was like, he replied, “I like her. But she’s high maintenance.”
“High maintenance?” I responded, completely puzzled. I’d never heard that expression before. I was thinking about his mom, a no-nonsense, blue-jeans-wearing mother-of four who made the best cheesecake I’d ever tasted. I asked my friend to explain. He went on to say that his father’s new wife was never not fully made up, her hair was always styled and colored to perfection. She is so blonde, he added. She wore heels even in the daytime. And lots of jewelry and perfume. She sounded really different than his mother, but his dad was happy.
I was young, never wore makeup, and pearl earrings were the only jewelry I wore. If I wasn’t at work, I lived in jeans, a turtleneck and Tretorns or Bean boots. Whatever childhood blonde was left in my hair was quickly fading to mousy brown. I usually wore it pulled back in a ponytail and didn’t think much about it. Most days I couldn’t be bothered to put in contact lenses, so I wore my glasses. I remember walking away from the conversation with my friend thinking that it sounded like a lot of work to look like the woman he described.
Why am I thinking right now about a conversation that took place almost 30 years ago? Because I am sitting at the hair salon, spending hours and too many dollars having my hair cut and highlighted. And I’ve been doing this since shortly after that conversation. I’m not wearing makeup and I still wear my glasses more often than contact lenses. But I think I have become a little “high maintenance” myself.