Jan 11, 2016, 07:05AM

364 Days of Delightful Nothingness

And on the other day, blinded by eyeliner.

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A writer’s life isn’t glamorous. As an editor of this website, I work at home. I rarely get dressed in anything other than plain black yoga pants or sweat pants, whatever was on the clearance rack at Old Navy or Marshalls when I was there picking up something for the kids. T-shirts from same spots. Maybe once or twice a year I’ll go to the Gap outlet and pick up some stuff because it’s comfortable. Anyway, no one really sees me. I’m driving kids to and from their activities and on those days or if I have to go to the grocery store, I have to wear a bra. Fuuuck bras.

If I had the money for a boob job, I’d get it, not because I care about looking sexy in a swimsuit, but because I’d love to be able to throw t-shirts on without wearing bras, so I’d want like the “t-shirt nipple upgrade” or whatever that deal is. I’m a fashion wreck. If one of my children has an event—band performance, sporting event, etc., I upgrade to jeans (I hate jeans, they never fit right) and some type of dressier shirt situation, and almost always wear a hat. Not for fashion purposes, more because I don’t do blow drying, flat-ironing or other girly hair things. Also because chronic migraines make me madly light sensitive: hats and sunglasses are part of my turtle-like lifestyle in both form and function.

It’s a reclusive life. I’m on deadline. I don’t have many friends, I don’t go many places. Teaching class is the only real exception to my cave-like existence. When I started last semester as an adjunct professor I had to level-up with some new clothes for the six weeks in a row I had to wear makeup. Agony.

Last week was my one real professional dress-up day of the year—a book signing in New York. Nothing to wear. I get incredibly anxious about such an event. (Meeting another writer from this website for the first time and staying overnight with a friend in Manhattan were the most relaxing parts of my day). Hair appointments must be made in advance—it’s been how many months since my hair was cut and colored, my eyebrows waxed? Couldn’t tell you. And when the actual day comes, I’m thankful a friend introduced me to the “Dry Bar” chain of stores and accompanying iPhone app. You tap a button with a hair dryer on it, and you’re at the salon chair nearest your current NYC location inside of an hour. Someone hands you a drink and a book of hairstyles to choose from, all for $45. I politely hand the book back and tell the stylist to choose her favorite. Hairstyles with names? Yeah, don’t care. You pick, honey.

Next up is the visit to Lord and Taylor’s Clinique counter. Though I wear makeup only a handful of times a year, I’ve been a loyalist to the brand since I worked at the King of Prussia mall as a teenager. Don’t ask me why. “Free gift,” I think, that bag filled with samples, and she gave me one this time, too. I buy some undereye concealer, a foundation and a lipstick, the lovely woman chats about her daughter and I silently admire her New York accent while she does my makeup.

Except suddenly I’m drinking a Grey Goose Dirty martini with my publisher on my one day, my 365th Cinderella day of the year with my bouncy hair, where I just have to read one chapter from this book, and I can’t see anything. Whatever three kinds of gook she’s surrounded my eyes with have oozed their way into my vision. But it’s time for my exhausted, city-street-pounded ass to go up onstage and read. So I try, eventually assisted by a gorgeous pair of theater friends I’m lucky enough to know in the crowd who are far more entertaining. Thank Christ there are yoga pants in my suitcase, and I’m back on the train in the morning and home to my 364 days of delightful nothingness.

—Follow Mary McCarthy’s author page on Facebook.


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