How to Repair Self-Image

It is the Sabbath and I am prising cat hair off my warmest corduroy. My house guest is peaceably eating marmalade in a woolly jumper when a holler from the 11-year-old diverts us to the vicarage sitting room. Only it is no longer a sitting room. A sign on the door announces Sexy Salon. The coal scuttles have been moved aside to make room for three pink crates of cosmetics. Fairy lights are strung across the Vicar's favourite armchair and reading lamps have been trained on the sofa.

The 11-year-old breaks it to me gently. I am in many ways a good person, she says, but I have trouble with both glamour and dignity.

Me having trouble with glamour and dignity

She tells me that, since it's Sunday, she's prepared to sacrifice half an hour to school me in both and thereby make me feel better about myself.

My friend's two daughters are surrendering a chunk of their Sunday for a similar purpose. We are both manhandled into seats, the reading lamps are aimed at our faces and an assortment of weaponry is brandished.

My friend's transformation appears to be unfolding serenely across the other side of the room...

...but, before long, my 11-year-old's zeal starts to falter. 'Your spots are using up all my concealer,' she laments, surveying the dwindling stick of pink unguent.

She flinches as she daubs on blusher and encounters an obstacle: 'You've got bristles growing out of your mole!' she informs me indignantly.

Then she reaches for something brown and gloopy -  'I'm just using a bit of this to hide the bald bits in your eyebrows' - before finishing me off with a rainbow palette of eyeshadow. This last stage in boosting my self-image presents problems that my beautician has not encountered before. 'Gosh, your eyelids are wrinkly - your eyes are hidden under great folds,' she says. 'No offence - I'm just a bit shocked.'

The half hour approaches an hour and I still haven't scraped the mud off my Sunday boots. 'She looks like Baby Jane!' squeals the 9-year-old gaping at my mask of pink grease and lopsided ringlets.

The 11-year-old starts listing the facial flaws of various celebrities and I feel bound to explain that beauty can be inner as well as outer. She puts down the hair tongs and surveys her handiwork. 'I think,' she concludes with an air of defeat, 'that yours must all be inner.'

Baby Jane (left); Me (right)


  1. I think she's done a really good job! Not that you weren't beautiful before, of course! Heaven knows what my own daughter will say to me in a couple of years!

    1. Well, you can't see the spots and lines and bristles in the picture, but your ignorance is a great comfort!!

  2. Oh my goodness. I am so glad that my daughters had no urge to 'glamour' me up years ago!

  3. How much to send them round to mine?

  4. LOL - You leave your mother's house and end up in your daughter's. When do we get to be who we want to be without hassle?

  5. Ha! How nice to be told ALL your beauty is on the inside! She's done a great job though. I just pulled out a few whiskers reading this... oh to be dignified! X

    1. It's certainly encouraging to learn that I have inner beauty - but I wouldn't mind a small helping on the outside too!


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