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April 21, 2021

Is Self-Importance really a Bad Thing?

 

 

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Van-i-ty:

“excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.”

~

Hi, my name is Lisa, and I’m a bona fide beauty addict.

It’s so bad that my bathroom, hall closet, and medicine cabinet rival all the Sephoras on the west coast. I’m embarrassed to admit that I could have purchased a hotel in Vegas with all the money I have spent on this habit. Okay, maybe not a hotel—perhaps a motel, but still.

I don’t know what it is about skincare and makeup. Perhaps it’s the promise of youth, smaller pores, or waking up looking like Margot Robbie. Whatever it is, I’m hooked, and I need help.

Regardless of my extreme vanity and my overzealous knowledge in the skincare world, I have chosen a career in this field. I have been an esthetician, makeup artist, waxer, brow artist, eyelash therapist (yawn), and everything in between. I worked in salons, made up clients for weddings, bat mitzvahs, proms, and drag queen pageants—I would make Cher envious of my shadowing skills.

I worked for a major network for a bit, applying powder on the noses of the most obnoxious people I have ever encountered, and took jobs on sets of really bad B films—which was tedious, tiresome, and not good for my diet with the craft table being ever so present. God damn Krispy Kremes!

I’ve done it all, wrapping my pampered, hair-free body in all things beauty. And at 50 years old, I’m sure as hell not going to stop. To some, my vanity might seem a bit extravagant—just ask my husband, who is completely fed up with all the amazon charges and monthly beauty boxes. Not only is he worried about all the money I’m spending, but he’s also terrified that one day I will go too far and come home looking like I made out with an exhaust pipe. Gotta love those lip fillers.

I’ve been devotedly pampering my face since Reagan was in office—in other words, a f*cking long time.

My mother wasn’t a glamor puss like me. She could have cared less, enjoying her cigarettes and boxed chardonnay. She was an ivory soap and sea breeze kind of gal. Her mother, my grandma Helen, was a bit more invested in her beauty regimens, with her weekly blowouts, manicures, and endless supplies of Clinique and Lancome freebies from Macy’s. She was the ultimate fashionista. Her makeup skills were legendary.

Some of my fondest childhood memories were sitting in her salmon-colored bathroom, tangled up pantyhose and laced bras sprawled over the faded yellow tile. My little feet dangling on her dressing table, adorning myself in the mirrored vanity, going through her makeup drawers. My eager little fingers grabbing liners and shadows while applying endless coats of Revlon “Frosted Brownie” on my nine-year-old mouth. I would then set my makeup masterpiece with a touch of Jean Nate powder and be on my way to the Academy Awards for my Barbara Walters interview.

I mean, we all know Jewish grandmothers know how to do just about anything. Makeup aside, she did it all from basting a turkey to hosting Rosh Hashanah dinners with the charm and grace of a world leader. In fact, there’s nothing a Jewish grandmother can’t do. Other than keeping their opinions to themselves, but nobody’s perfect.

If you ask psychologists who study vanity, they will tell you it’s an extensive concern over physical appearance along with an inflated self-view. Some doctors and mental health experts have also reported different types of vanity—one being a form of narcissism. Some even suggested vanity as a form of pride and implies that my world and looking and feeling good are essential.

Vanity means self-importance, and is that a bad thing?

To me, there is nothing more enjoyable and therapeutic than getting dolled up and feeling pretty. I just love trying a new product and adoring the pretty packaging on my bathroom sink. I love how it feels on my skin and the transformation that takes place until I overdo it again and again, with the new serums, facemasks, and creams that turn my face and my dwindling bank account in the red zone.

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