Vanity is Fair

Caroline - winston-salem
Entered on May 4, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe to never underestimate a woman’s vanity. It does not matter how a woman chooses to live her life nor the circumstances that life throws at her — a woman is always conscious of her vanity.

I was driving to McDonald’s one morning for a cup of coffee and a biscuit. On an overpass, I passed a homeless lady leaning on her bicycle and watching the traffic go by. At the drive thru, I ordered 2 cups of coffee and 2 biscuits. Looping back around, I stopped and leaned out the passenger window and offered the homeless lady a cup of coffee and a biscuit. She received my offering and her first words were not thank you, but you must excuse my teeth. She gently smiled to reveal a mouth bearing only 3 front teeth. She commented, “I am getting them fixed soon. And my hair, I have not had it fixed today.” She is a known homeless person in our town. Her teeth have been missing for years. Rather, she wore her usual black sweatshirt and usual black toboggan. Despite her circumstances, her vanity still thrived.

The importance of vanity was made clearer to me recently during my mom’s hospitalization. She had a brain tumor removed. Following my mom’s surgery, her first comments were “I am in so much pain!” and “I know I must look awful!”

Two days after the surgery my mom turned to me and said, “I have to have a shower!” After showering and seeing her partially shaven head and stitches for the first time, my mom commanded me to get the word out that she would not have any visitors, especially male visitors!!! I told my dad who simply laughed. I also called my mom’s closest friend so she could get the word out, “Absolutely No Visitors!” My mom’s friend laughed as well and commented, “A woman keeps her vanity until they close the coffin door.”

Women take great pains on a daily basis to look beautiful… removing unwanted hair, applying make-up, perming, dyeing or simply curling their hair as well as manicures and pedicures. Some work harder than others, but there is a level of personal maintenance that is unavoidable in order for us to feel good about ourselves.

There are also different levels of vanity. We may not be wearing designer clothes or our hair is not necessarily styled to perfection, but it has something to do with how we perceive ourselves inside our head. And, it is how we go about maintaining that perception. The homeless lady believed herself to still be the woman she was before she became homeless. My mom after surviving serious surgery and while experiencing great pain was still concerned with how she looked.

Vanity is important to women because it is so closely linked to our being, to our confidence and to how we project ourselves to the world. I believe to never underestimate a woman’s vanity and most importantly to respect it.