Monday, 1 July 2013

Finding Fulfilment

I have long held the suspicion that I am not fully woman. My make-up basket consists of two lipsticks, a jar of Vaseline and a pair of illuminating tweezers, lately donated by a concerned friend. I would far sooner browse manure blends at our local aggregates depot than try on diamonds at Asprey. My secret giddy pleasure is removing the lavatory cistern and watching the ballcock rise and fall and any fashion catalogues that make it to the vicarage are employed to wedge the truncated marital mattress in place along with two four-packs of Heinz Beans.

A survey has now confirmed my fear. The sisterhood, it reveals, spends £13,000 in a lifetime on beauty products in order to feel better about itself. Plucked eyebrows, a manicure, perfectly styled hair and new underwear are among the twenty favourite methods to promote self love, according to the Ready to Glow campaign. And hairless legs are essential.

With dismay I realise that my life lacks all of these. It's been eighteen months since I visited a hairdresser. Those reproachful tweezers are a daily reminder of my spring growth and the haul of thermals, purchased from a London market during my first week of work twenty years ago, still sustains me through Sunday Mass in winter.

For a moment I am discouraged. Then it dawns on me. It's not me that is deficient; it's that list. No wonder stress and depression are on the rise when women have got their priorities so wrong. And so I'm going to share with you here five top feel-good factors guaranteed to bestow a sense of feminine fulfilment. And the great thing is you no longer need to shave your legs!

Limescale warfare: that moment when, after months of ineffectual scrubbing with your husband's tooth brush and a flood of own-brand chemicals, you vanquish the black crusts round the bathroom taps. The secret? A tub of citric acid unearthed from my handbag when I was searching for a mint in the Sunday service. 

Verbal warfare: that moment when a perfectly-honed, perfectly-aimed riposte silences your unreasonable tweenager/partner/parking warden. 

Bake-off: not only do you find you possess all the necessary ingredients to make an impulsive cake; not only do you remember to turn the oven on; not only do you remember not to turn the oven off ten minutes into the baking process because you've forgotten you had anything in there; not only do you fail to burn or sink or desiccate said cake in the excitement of Gardener's Question Time, but the end result is deemed respectable enough to be fed to an archdeacon. 

Technical victory: you finally succeed, without help from the husband, in finding the off button for the new radio/prising off the cap of the petrol tank/dislodging the crammed Hoover bag/ unfurling that recalcitrant bargain brolly from Primark.

Affirmation: Your usually uncomplimentary children lisp: 'I love you' and, given the £10 Amazon voucher you've just handed them, you know they really mean it. 

Now, come share the wisdom: what things make you feel good about yourself?

















20 comments:

  1. Um, I know it's air-headed and predictably feminine but I always feel so well groomed and ever so slightly Grace Kellyish when I've given myself a pedicure. Notice I said 'given myself' - nothing so decadent as having one done and paying for it. On a more practical note - When I've cleaned the flat and washed all the floors I'm pretty smug.

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  2. Sewing biennials, nursing them, waiting a whole year to finally see one of the ten or so plants flower. In all other aspects of my life I am extremely impatient.

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    1. Oh me too! And planting bulbs and visualising spring.

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  3. Can I just add to your exciting moment watching the ballcock go up and down? This is made almost incandescently exciting by adding water you have saved from your shower as the ballcock comes up. Frugal Weirdo? Possibly but you have to get your kicks where you can.

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    1. Now I can't wait for tomorrow's shower. But how do I get the water out of the bath tub?

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    2. Embarrassingly, we have a little washing up bowl in the bath and while the shower is warming - it goes underneath. Voila! After a couple of showers it's full and we have a water meter you know so we save money. Please tell me you can't hear my children howling with laughter in the background.

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  4. I want to know two things:

    1) what have you been doing to the marital bed to truncate the mattress and require reinforcement by tins of beans and fashion catalogues?

    2) why is your limescale black? Mine's a rather fashionable sort of beige.

    The single most life-affirming thing I have ever done is digging up a huge and deeply entrenched clump of bamboo. I invented a victory dance to mark the occasion.

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    1. The vicar bought said mattress several years before I got hold of him. Had I been there, I'd have ensured it was a foot longer and I could therefore have eaten the baked beans.

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    2. So how do beans extend the length of the mattress?? And anyway, if the mattress were longer it wouldn't fit on the bed. And anyway, the vicar isn't that tall, and neither are you. So I still don't get it.

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  5. I love you! This is me too. I own more make up than I actually use, which isn't that much in the first place. Me? I get satisfaction when the Access database I have designed actually works. Or a good spreadsheet.

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    1. I'm sure you are utterly lovable, but clearly we have nothing in common!! Technical challenges make my soul shrink.

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  6. I carry no make-up in my bag, unless of course you count chapstick. I did make a rhubarb cherry pie today from scratch, but it will only be the girls & I who will eat it. My husband and son hate dessert.

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    1. Fancy happening to have rhubarb and cherries and pie in your cupboards!

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  7. This is great fun. I like watching the ballcock rise and fall in the cistern too, although not as much as watching a sprinkler go the full 360 degrees in my garden. Your top tips work just as well for men. I once spent twenty minutes at a garage in my dad's car trying to work out how to get the petrol cap off, watched by a suspicious police car ( well a police woman actually - sitting in a police car). It turned out that there is a little leaver under the seat, which was the last place I looked.

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    1. I'm consoled by your parallel struggles, although the excuse of a hidden lever is vindicating. Ours just requires the turn of a key in a lock - but it doesn't like turning for me!

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  8. Getting to the dishwasher and realising I unloaded it ten minutes earlier. It's the little things!

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    1. I don't own one of those. But I do find if I leave a crusted pan/half full cafetiere by the sink for log enough it vanishes and reappears cleansed in the cupboard.

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  9. Actually not having to bother painting my face in foundation and rouge and cover up - free's up so much more time. But I love a nice bath though, and a good book, and my local garden center! X.

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