It seems that Austin, our fair city, has found itself smack-dab in the middle of GQ Magazine's list of the 40 worst-dressed cities in America. At number 18, we come in exactly one slot above the Jersey Shore, which isn't saying much at all. Sorry, Snooki!
I grew up south of here in San Antonio, where making a trip to the grocery store requires full makeup and perfectly styled hair. In fact, I used to wake up at 5 am each morning during high school, just so I had plenty of time to shower, scrunch my waist-length curly hair, do my makeup, and get dressed before the first bell at 7:08.
Back-to-school shopping involved a trip to the Clinique counter to stock up on makeup, as well as the purchase of several pairs of shoes to go with all of the new outfits we bought to start the year off right.
When I first moved to Austin and began teaching, I quickly realized that none of my fellow teachers wore pantyhose with their skirts and dresses. That was beyond weird to me, because it seemed almost vulgar to let your bare legs show, plus how did they keep their panty lines from showing? Where I'm from, it's not unusual for women to wear pantyhose with shorts. It took me that entire year to get used to the idea of bare legs, but I finally started wearing open-toed shoes and sandals as summer rolled around. The next year, I ditched the hose, and I have never looked back.
I also remember sitting in a teacher meeting and realizing that I had on more makeup than any other woman in the room, a fact that shocked me quite a bit. That, I can't give up, and I still wear full makeup and fix my hair each morning, even if I have no plans to leave the house.
While my husband was on vacation from work recently, we made a day-trip to Boerne, a quaint little town just north of San Antonio, known for its historic district with antique shops and boutiques. At the local Dairy Queen, the only restaurant my little guys can handle at the moment, I spied a middle-aged woman with the most beautiful long, blond hair. It wasn't platinum-blond, in that past-my-prime-but-desperately-trying-to-fake-it way, but a natural blond that was perfectly styled to go with her perfectly applied makeup.
I remember thinking that I don't see many women her age who wear their hair that way, since it obviously requires a lot of time and attention, and then I realized that I was no longer in Austin.