I am Cinderella trapped inside a tomboy’s body. I love any sport that involves speed, danger and agility. I can bait my own hook and put up my own tent. Despite all of these innate tendencies, deep down I am a girly girl. I like coloring my hair, having my nails done and wearing make-up. Unfortunately the clash of these two realities often makes it difficult to find middle ground.
I have tried many avenues to release my inner princess over the years. I have grown my hair out to have a more feminine look but then kept it in a ponytail most of the time. I have painted my nails dark red to hide the gardening dirt under neath. I have worn long skirts to hide the bruises from mountain biking and even used artificial tanning sprays to get rid of my farmer tan from whitewater kayaking. All of these “tries” have taught me that if I want to be a hard-ass Cinderella I’m going to have to make it simple.
With age comes wisdom and in recent years I have discovered a couple of simple short-cuts to beauty. Did you know that acrylic nails keep polish on even after camping for a week? Pure lanolin breast-feeding nipple cream is great for protecting and healing chapped lips and cheeks from cross-country skiing. Baby wipes are great for a quick “shower” after a workout during the workday. Varicous vein support hose make great “all over control” hose. My all time favorite though is my fake hair.
Now, I’m not talking about a closet full of Dolly Parton wigs, but rather little hair piece extensions found at the mall. I happen to have one that is a clip-on ponytail. My real hair is very fine and when put into its own ponytail it looks like a three-inch droopy pencil. Yes, my hair stays back but there is nothing for my inner glam-pus to get excited about. My clip-on ponytail has come in very handy over the years. I have used it after kayaking only to wow my fellow boaters with my ability to go from drown-rat to glam-girl in a matter of seconds. As a mom, the fake has saved me when dropping the kids off at school. Instead of looking like I just rolled out of bed (which is often the case), I look like I’m the perky aerobics instructor who is dropping off her kids only to rush off to a day filled with aerobic boot camp.
The first time my boys saw the perky ponytail they were really excited. They said I looked like a girl in their class. They told me I was pretty. The next day they came into my bathroom only to find the ponytail sitting on the counter. Taking a few seconds for it to sink in, they called me out about my “fake” hair. Now whenever I wear the ponytail they like to tell everyone they see that my hair is fake. Needless to say this has ruined any help the ponytail gave me with school drop-off. Fortunately they aren’t old enough to join any kayak trips that might require the hair.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to have a girls’ night out. As is typical on these nights, I’m not off the clock until I’m out the door and speeding down the road. Getting a moment to match my shoes in the midst of the traditional evening chaos is a pipe dream. Getting time to actually primp? Well, that would be complete nirvana and I believe very few have ever actually found this type of enlightenment. This is where my ponytail comes in. One quick swoop of the tangled mess on top of my head and voila it’s perky Cinderella. A little cover-up on my stress acne, some blush and some sparkly jewelry and I’m off. I told the family I was leaving. After they were clear that I would return in time to make breakfast, they told me I looked beautiful. I was leaning down to kiss the boys good-bye when one grabbed the ponytail and pulled shouting, “Hey, you’re wearing fake hair!” As I stood there looking down at my sons, my eyes watered from the pain of my real hair follicles throbbing after the ponytail was ripped off my head. All I could think was, “Thank God they didn’t notice the fake eyelashes.”