words are all i have

Feeling pretty one minute and feeling pretty ugly the next

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So, I was perched on a stool at the far right end of the bar in my favorite watering hole—the Toad In the Hole Pub—and I was enjoying a pleasant bout of chit-chat with a young woman named Gallea, whom I had met no more than 10 minutes earlier.

Engaging, energetic, touchy-feely in a non-offensive manner and with expressive, devil-may-care eyes that spoke to mischief, she was a delight as we discussed, among other things, the merits of country music, our initial focus being Hank Williams and Hank Jr. We agreed that, legend be darned, neither of us was particularly fond of either Luke the Drifter or his boy Bocephus.

“Not impressed,” Gallea said, dabbing at her short-cropped blonde hair.

“Now you take Emmylou Harris,” I said. “I love Emmylou Harris. Her voice is so soft and sweet. Sings like an angel.”

“She doesn’t seem to get older, either,” Drew the barman offered.

“Oh, she’s still a babe,” I agreed. “She’s as pretty as her voice.”

“You’re pretty, too,” said Gallea, changing the course of the conversation and arresting my attention on a fresh level. “You know who you look like? Janet Stewart.”

Drew the barman nodded in agreement.

“Who’s Janet Stewart?” I asked them.

“She’s that news girl on CBC here in Winnipeg,” Gallea advised me. “She’s really pretty and you look just like her.”

“I don’t live here, so I’ve never heard of her and I’ve never seen her.”

Janet Steward (right) and I: Separated at birth?

Janet Stewart (right) and I: Separated at birth?

Drew the barman did a finger tap dance on the keypad of his smart phone and Googled images of Janet Stewart.

“Here she is,” he said, brandishing a color photo (unairbrushed, I’m sure) of the local news anchor/reporter. “This is your lookalike.”

“Wow,” I gushed, peering at the pic. “If I was about 20 years younger, I’d say I could be her older sister. She’s very attractive. I’m very flattered.”

I’m not convinced Ms. Janet Stewart would be quite as embracing of the lookalike notion, but it was a high point for me because it isn’t every day that a 65-year-old granny is compared favorably to such a striking, lovely young lass. And, by the time Gallea took her leave, I was feeling properly pleased.

Then my friend Beverley walked in. Suddenly, pretty gave way to ugly.

Understand something here. Every girl has ugly days. No exceptions. Jennifer Lopez, Winona Ryder, Rihanna, Priyanka Chopra…they all have ugly days. Liz Taylor, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn…they had ’em.

Ugly days are not fun. You’re convinced the hair looks like an unruly bird’s nest. The makeup goes on like goop applied by a blind, one-armed chimp. You have nothing to wear, the outfit you eventually settle on makes you look 20 pounds heavier, and you’re certain you’re about as elegant and graceful as a peg-legged pirate who left his crutch back on the vessel. This is all most stressful.

Needlessly so, I might add.

I mean, really. Why such angst over the proper shade of lipstick, nail polish or highlights in your bird’s nest? Guys don’t hyperventilate over a bad-hair day, do they? Why should girls?

Well, because Coco Chanel told us so, that’s why.

“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little, if only out of politeness,” the fashion diva once said. “And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.”

Coco was good at spewing that sort of stuff.

Anyway, I wasn’t having an ugly day until Beverley entered the room. She’s gorgeous, with smooth, almond-colored skin, enticing eyes and a regal carriage. She is as exotic as the big cats that roam the Serengeti. You don’t know ugly until you’ve sat beside Beverley in a bar with a group of men lurking nearby. Men like British Billy.

My gorgeous friend Beverley.

My gorgeous friend Beverley.

Beverley and I were giggling about various things and British Billy was gawking. At her, not me. He was a bit of an odd-looking duck, our Billy, with a wacky, Rod Stewart-like thatch of greased, blonde hair, earrings, a ratty Coors Light T-shirt and a ratty pair of trousers and shoes to match.

“He looks rather interesting,” Beverley said with a cheeky grin.

“You think?” I replied, at the same time thinking, “Don’t worry, Bev, he’ll be over here soon enough.”

He was.

“Good day, ladies,” British Billy said upon stepping forward. “I’m Billy.”

He took Beverley’s right hand in his and looked at her with lust in every fibre of his being. He then took my right hand and continued to look at Beverley with lust in every fibre of his being.

So, I went from feeling pretty to feeling pretty ugly faster than you can say “Coco Chanel is a prissy missy.”

It reminded me of the night I was sitting in a crowded room with my friend Derese, whereupon a fellow visited our table and chatted us up for a time. Once he realized his was a futile pursuit, he turned to seek other prey, but not without first passing closing comment.

“Nice tits,” he said to Derese, adorned in a dark blue top that made it abundantly clear that her breasts were ample.

He then looked at me, adorned in a frilly, flowery top that made it abundantly clear that my breasts were less than ample.

“Nice mind,” he said.

I took that as a huge compliment…then went to La Senza the very next day and bought the most uplifting push-up bra I could find.

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