I wasn’t much for makeup or clothing as a teenager, but I fell in love with fashion as I got older. I was swayed by the mysteries of style. The power of being dressed precisely for the occasion was not lost on me. I wanted to command the powers of vanity for myself
But as the pandemic set in I cancelled all my beauty box of the month subscriptions and closed my Rent the Runway account. I didn’t need red lipstick or cocktail dresses. When we summered in the Hudson Valley the first summer of the pandemic, I only brought one suitcase of sweatpants and cotton dresses. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was was leaving behind dozens of vanity rituals.
Like many other people, we decided to move closer to family as the pandemic continued. Going from Manhattan to Boulder isn’t exactly conducive to keeping up with appearances either. I found myself buying hiking pants and wool socks. I had no occasion to dress for anyone but myself.
I’m not sure how much I actually miss getting dressed. At least not for myself. Earlier in May before the Delta variant squashed “hot vax” summer for good, some ink was spilled on the mixed emotions of getting dressed for others after so much time in seclusion.
The pandemic seems to have proven that for me aesthetics are all about the dance with others. The joy of communicating one’s taste and preferences to the outside world is more riveting than playing with my look for an audience of one.
But I do miss that dance. Vanity can be a wonderful motivator to connect and communicate with others. I so badly want someone to see my hair. I haven’t heat styled my hair for well over a year. In fact, I haven’t had it cut for nearly 10 months.
My vanity tells me my hair has never looked better. It cascades down to my mid back without a split end in sight. Just waves. It’s fucking princess hair. My vanity whispers that someone surely would notice how beautiful I look. If they noticed how I look then they must always want me to notice them.
I miss the pleasure of seeing beauty in each other. Sharing a compliment and an appreciation for the little vanities we all keep.