Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dirty Girl

I drive a 1999 station wagon that has seen better days.  Even so, she’s a reliable car that’s kind of cute and she still has a bit of get-up-and-go.  She’s pretty roomy, though a bit of a gas guzzler.  We affectionately call her Tammy van Damm. She’s not perfect, but she gets us around.

Last week, we brought Tammy in for her annual check up for relicensing, as per Hong Kong regulations.  Tammy is a bit rough around the edges and she doesn’t get washed regularly, but she doesn’t have any issues either.  Or so we thought. We expected the garage would just go through the checklist, tick all the boxes, maybe change her oil, and we’d be good to go for another year of carefree driving.  Instead, we got a call letting us know Tammy would need a complete overhaul, and it was going to cost us buckoo bucks.  How could it be?  On the surface, she seemed just fine.  A little dirty perhaps, some minor dents and scrapes, but there was no engine trouble, no plugged plugs (if cars even still have sparkplugs).

I admit it. I am the personified version of Tammy van Damm. I am a dirty girl, rough around the edges, but still pretty spunky.  I've got my issues, but mostly they're pretty minor in the scheme of things.

While I love a good soak in the tub with a celebrity gossip magazine and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, I do not enter the sacred font of the tub to perform ablutions: I go there to pamper, to relax.  I often realize I have been soaking in my own filth so if there is enough hot water after the bathing, I may opt for a shower and a shave. 

My husband would love it if I’d clean up a little more often, but I think of myself as a latent cave girl.  I’m not bothered by a bit of dirt.  Dirty fingernails and navels never killed anyone.  In fact, I am led to believe that they build up your immunity and resistance to disease.  I am rarely ill.  I haven’t had a cold in years.

As for my hair, the longer I go without washing it, the better it looks.  By the fourth or fifth day I am looking almost like a super model (or my hair is, anyway) and I am loathe to let a steamy shower take out all that body and curly tangle.  If I find it getting a bit greasy, a little bit of baby powder vigorously rubbed through my scalp seems to take care of the problem.  Ocassionally this has me looking prematurely gray, but I usually manage to towel most of the excess off.

I’m lucky because I do not seem to be prone to stinky-ness either, at least that I can notice.  So long as I change my underwear daily (which I do religiously: I DO have some standards, after all), I’m as fresh as a daisy.

This is my final confession because I am starting to feel very embarrassed about my lack hygiene.  On paper, I sound downright disgusting!  Here goes: there is nothing I hate more than washing my face.  The water drips down your arms, making your sleeves sloppy, it is never the right temperature, you have to wait for it to heat up, you couldn’t possibly use the same soap you wash your hands with, and so on.  It's a hellish hassle I could do without.

Until I was about 40 years old, I never washed my face.  Then facial wipes were invented and they changed my whole personal hygiene routine. They did the same for my sister.  Though she isn't a dirty girl like me, she is also a face-washing hater.  These days you can even buy wipes that are double sided: one side cleans off all the make up and accumulated crap that sinks into your pores after a day in a polluted universe and the other side exfoliates your skin.  I don’t exactly understand what exfoliation is or why it’s good, but if it just takes a swipe from a wipe, I’m all for it.  So I now have clean, exfoliated skin.  You can even rub off any dirt that you notice has accumulated on any of your other surfaces or crevices after you've washed your face with the wipes. They are truly a watershed invention.

While I have escaped arrest by the hygiene police, there does come a time where you need to turn yourself over to the maintenance squad for an overhaul.  I realized this week that I had reached that point.  I’m in bad need of a good hair cut, my roots are as long as tubers and the professionals (of many varieties) need to be called in to freshen me up a bit.  It takes a village to maintain a woman’s chassis these days, especially as the years necessitate extra rituals.  While I haven’t put much money into myself lately, like my car, Tammy, I am in need of an infusion of services to get myself road worthy.  While my own standards are not that high, I know there are other people I need to impress.

And frankly, I’m feeling a bit jealous that Tammy is off at the car spa getting all the attention and money directed at her. I’m going to do myself the same favour.  This is my weekend to take care of business.

I’m going to come back to work on Monday in my chariot (that will finally be home from the garage/spa) looking like a whole new woman.

Meantime, I am going to keep up with regular maintenance by:

- carrying on with the facial wipes
- continuing to floss
- changing my underwear every day

And I'm going to shower at least once a week, whether I need it or not!

PS: I hope, if you've been reading my blogs regularly, that you realize I am not only prone to self-deprecation, but also a wee bit of exaggeration.  If you've known me for more than about five minutes, of course, you already know this. I wouldn't want  you to think I am the equivalent of Charlie Brown's friend, Pig Pen. Close, but not quite.

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