About Me

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I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vanity is a Costly Affair

Camping two weekends in a row! It's a nice, comfortable, economical way to get away from the house and its never-ending burden of chores and tasks that come along with being home.

Now to be fair, I don't necessarily consider what we do "camping". We have a 26-foot trailer (Jayco 26P) that we drag around to live in while we're trying to enjoy the outside and a little time with card or board games. It's a bit like dragging a small house with you everywhere you go; we've got a king sized bed, bunk beds, refrigerator, microwave, stove, bathroom (complete with a shower). We're not "roughing it" by any means. We very comfortably slept 8 folks this weekend.

But I'm not here today to talk about my "camping". I'd like to tie up a thought relative to my bald rant, and that is how we as a people spend a fairly large fortune on trying to be something that we're not. I'm talking primarily about cosmetics, whether it's hair coloring, eye shadow, foundation, perfume, blush, mascara...whatever.

As a society, as I'm sure we can all agree, the media are pounding us consumers with messages and images of what we should look like, and what we should find attractive.

You can't look good without:
Big, thick eyelashes;
Big, thick, irrationally red lips;
Hair that is a different color than whatever color you currently have (doesn't matter what color you've got, a different one is better);
Being taller;
Appearing younger...like no later than your early 30's;
Whiter teeth...

The list goes on, but essentially, they cite so many things that make absolutely no tangible difference and reveal what a shallow society we are.

The quote that runs constantly through my mind, tying this together for me is:

"They say it's mostly vanity that writes the plays we act; they tell me that's what everybody knows.
There's no such thing as sanity, and that's the sanest fact; that's the way the story goes."
~ Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)

I am, naturally, very happy that we pretty much all use deodorant and soap, and I'm more than happy to admit that certain people look better with a little makeup (recognizing, at the same time, that "better" is a subjective term). But I also think that NO ONE looks good with a ton of makeup on.

There is definitely such a thing as too much. And I also think that the world would be a better place without folks bleaching their hair. You want to dye out the grays? Sure...go ahead, if it makes you more comfortable.

And although it's only tangential, heels that are more than a couple of inches high are nothing other than stupid. 6-inch (and higher, I've seen) platform shoes are among the most idiotic things on the planet, in my opinion.

Given my choice of super made-up stunningly beautiful woman and minimally made up pretty woman (all other things being equal), I'd take minimally made up every time. To me, that speaks of a real confidence and honesty, both of which are traits to be admired.

Keep it real!


  1. I think we are being bombarded with all these trivial things like "leaving just a touch of grey" and "smokey eyes" (although I'm still not too sure what that really is) and Jenny Craig urging us all to lose that 50 ugly pounds of fat so that we will stop thinking about what really matters. For you see, if we all started thinking about what really matters, we might actually DO something about it and that, my friend, would never do.

    1. Too true, Delores!

      After spending a couple of weekends camping, though, I have been profoundly reminded of what "smokey eyes" means. I got them from both the grill and the campfire! :) Cried my eyes out...wept like a forlorn Greek during the siege of Troy!

      Although I think that I outdid myself on the grill this weekend...I'm still learning to control charcoal!

  2. I agree with you about platform shoes, although my mother is still very fond of them. I can't agree with you on looking natural and keeping it real. On average, it takes me an hour to put on my makeup every day. I think most women look beautiful without makeup. I am not sure if I am one of them. What I do know is that, at some point, I got tired of what society expected me to look like. I decided that if men, and women, wanted me to look like a doll, I would do it on my terms. I would look like a doll straight out of their worst nightmare.

    1. You're a far cry from out of my worst nightmares. Rosanne Barr is closer to that mark! :)

      I agree with your most women remark, AND I think that your approach is much better than the approach where folks use a but-load of makeup so that other folks will think that they are attractive. If you're doing it for yourself, have at it! You only go around once (as far as I'm aware), you might as well enjoy it to the best of your abilities.

  3. My comments are well summarized by the lyrics to If You Want To Be Happy by Jimmy Soul


    1. That's an awesome song. I think that my brother was going to have it played at his wedding! I think he chickened out though. :)