Thursday, February 01, 2007

Vanity, Helen Style, or ... Oh, Cool, a Quiz!

I’ve always thought of myself as fairly down to earth, a not out to impress, kind of gal. I’ll go to the store in sweats with my hair in a ponytail and no make-up. I generally wear my clothes until they’re worn out or are so horrendously out of style even I notice. Hey, I wear mukluks to the dog park. How vain can I be, right?

But the other night as I attempted to select the right face cream from the, oh, I don’t know, EIGHT jars, tubes, and bottles in my cabinet, I began to think I’m deluding myself. Either that or I’ve gotten more vain as I’ve aged. Maybe both.

Vanity, I’m beginning to think, can take many forms. So I’ve devised my own quiz. Give yourself one point for every yes answer.

1. You don’t just work out on a regular basis. You have to look good while you’re doing it. No sweats and T-shirts. We’re talking Nike, Under-Armour, Reebok, etc… attire.

2. You own thong underwear. One point. You wear them. Two.

3. You’ve tanned within the last year. (And don’t get snitty here. Tanning beds are a no-brainer. If you had to be outside for a kids sporting event and used sunscreen, it doesn’t count. But if you rearranged the position of your arms to toast evenly, give yourself a point.)

4. You do facial exercises. (Don’t laugh and don’t tell. I do them. If you’re nice, I’ll blog about that on my next scheduled day and teach you a thing or two.)

5. Give yourself a point for every pair of shoes you own with three-inch or higher heels.

6. You NEVER go out of the house without make-up, lipstick, sunglasses, whatever. The point is … there’s something(s) you have to do other than put on clothing before you can go in public.

7. The ladies at the spa/Ulta/Estee Lauder counter know you by name.

8. Wax, for you, is more than just for candles. Ouch! Telly Savalas, anyone?

9. You pluck/wax your eyebrows. If you go somewhere to have someone else pluck/wax your eyebrows give yourself 2 points. (Hey, this is MY quiz. Don’t like it make up your own.)

10. Creams and lotions. This one’s tough to calculate. There are eye creams, night creams, day creams, creams with SPFs, creams with exfoliators and anti-oxidants, facial peels and scrubs. Oh, what the hell. If you use anything other than Juergens on your face, give yourself a point. If you use an eye cream give yourself another point. If you use a night cream, one more.

11. You own any form of lingerie that claims to flatten your tummy, lift your butt, or miraculously produce cleavage. One point for each, ladies.

12. You’re under 40.

13. You’re under 30.

14. You’re under 25. (Yeah, you get 3--count em 3--points if you’re 24!)

15. Botox. Even entertaining the concept is worth at least a point.

Add 'em up and let’s see how you rate on Helen’s Vanity Scale.

1- 9: You’re either very young or have accepted aging much more gracefully than I have. You like yourself just the way you are. I’d say good for you, but you certainly don’t need my validation!

10-19: This is my group. So anyone here is okay. Yeah, you’re probably a little on the vain side, but you’ve got good company. Like I said before, don’t like it, come up with your own quiz.

20 and up: You, honey, are so vain, you probably think this blog is about you. You’re one of those people who ALWAYS looks good. And I hate you for it. Keep up the good work!

Come on, tell us your score. Be brave.


Cindy Gerard said...

Too much fun, Helen. And Heck, yeah, I'll fess us. I fall into the 10 - 19 group. I have so many creams and lotions I could open my own cosmetics counter. As a matter of fact .... anyone out there need a good wrinkle reducer? I need to free up some space in my cabinet.

Michele said...

3 points, and that was only because I could count my spike heels. Love shoes, don't ever have opportunity for wearing them. I am the queen of sweats and uncombed hair. Heck, I've been known to wear my bedroom slippers into stores.


Betina Krahn said...

Helen, you clever babe, you! This is a fascinating look at the youth-obsession that plagues us as women in America. This ought to be published in Cosmo. . . except they don't want their readers to think that absorption with looks is akin to the biblically proscribed "vanity."

I couldn't believe it. . . but I fell into the 0-9 group. Nah,na,nah,na-boo boo!
I confess, however, that just last week (coincidence?) I got rid of a drawer full of bottles, creams, and samplers from pricey cosmetic firms. . . otherwise I would probably have scored much higher. I like to think I scored myself honestly there, because most of that stuff was given to me by my older sister who apparently believes I should be as in love with cosmetics as she is. Alas, I am not.

And I have to say, I was confused in answering the question about body shapewear. Do jeans laced with Lycra count as shapewear? They're supposed to hold their shape and give you more mobility, but they undoubtedly hold in the tummy, too. So I may have shaved a point or two there. Lingere-- do the tummy control pantyhose tuck away in my drawer count? Yipe. . . I think I just edged over into the middle group.

::sigh of contentment::

In the company of friends again. I feel ever so much better.

:) Betina

Betina Krahn said...

Oh, and I almost forgot-- I would probably be in the top point group if you had included an item about hair color. . . maybe one point for every $10 spent each month on hair colorists and-or stylists. That's my main vanity, I realized. My hair.

If my hair looks marginally good, I'm content. The rest is gravy.

Helen Brenna said...

Cindy, creams and lotions are my downfall. I've always had such dry skin and easily fall victim to ads promising dewy, wrinkle free skin. Yeah, right.

Michele, your 3 score doesn't surprise me at all. You always look so comfortable in your own skin. I wish!

Betina, don't tell me you threw all those pricey creams in the garbage. I'm cringing at the thought! LOL! And no, I wouldn't have counted lycra jeans and tummy control panty hose. I'm talking heavy artillery type shapers. The kind that could probably stand up on their own!

Oh, and I did originally have a hair question, but these days so many people color, highlight, lowlight, you name it to their hair, it's almost more like decoration.

This was fun!

Christie Ridgway said...

I am in the vain group on the shoes alone! But what if we only wear them on rare occasions? I work out every day, but never look good when I do it. I even go to the grocery store sweaty.

I don't wear shape shifter undergarments ever since an RWA conference where I nearly wet my pants waiting in the bathroom and laughing uproariously while women in the stalls described their "window-shade" type troubles.

I don't wear my thongs.

But I do have a new face cream. This is the longest I've ever stuck with one, getting past the red, dry patches-along-with-acne stage. I cant't tell if it's working, though. But I think it's a sign of age and vanity that I'm worried enough to keep using it!

Helen Brenna said...

Christie, you make me laugh!

What the heck are "window-shade" troubles?

Debra Dixon said...

Helen, Helen, Helen...

I'm with Christie. The shoes alone skew the whole quiz! I'm like a 52.

I'm only a 4 until you add in the shoes. If we added a hair color question ghen I'd be a 5.

Helen Brenna said...

Can you tell I'm not a shoe person?

Betina Krahn said...

Okay, I vote that we exclude shoes from the list. . . unless they have 4" heels or cost more than the hospital bill for your firstborn.

Now, if we're talking number of pairs of shoes. . . um. . . I'm like guilty as sin of comfort-seeking spending.

I must have twelve pairs of Clarks clogs, skimmers, and sandals. I had three pairs of the same Clarks "Mary Jane's" (three different colors) until Rex broke down and told me that they made me look like I shouldn't be trusted with scissors. So two weeks ago, I took about twelve pairs of shoes to Goodwill. . . some of which looked almost new.

And lest you think Rex is a pushing overbearing snob for saying such a thing about my beloved Clarks. . . he has credentials. He used to run women's shoe factories in Italy, Brazil and Haiti. He's kind of a connoisseur of shoes. When I came home with a pair of 3" Cole Haan heels that cost 4 x the price of my first wedding dress, he just smiled and patted me and said I DESERVED a whole closet full of them. You could have picked me up off the floor with a sponge.

:) Betina

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, no, you don't, Betina. In fact, I'm gonna add that question about hair coloring. We'll get you up in that top group in no time!

lois greiman said...

I'm an 8. That's pathetic. Excuse me while I go buy some thongs.

Helen Brenna said...

Lois! There's nothing pathetic about you. Hey, maybe I should add a question about cowboy hats. That'll boost your score.

Keri Ford said...

Okay, before I tell my group, let me just say, my vanity depends highly on my mood and where I'm going! I scored a 32!

I was doing all right--though I don't think the 3 points for my age was fair :o)--until hit the shoes and cleavage enhancing stuff.

And whether we count 3" or 4", the bulk of mine are 4. Hey, I'm 5'2"! And Clevage bras? Come on! If I don't want lift and fullness then why wear one?

As I said above, if I'm just going to work, I'm all about cotton pants, comfy shirts, crocked ponytail, and no makeup. Same for grocery shopping trips.

If I'm actually going somewhere, like dinner, then yeah, I'd same I'm fairly vain. When going somewhere, I don't wear it unless it serves a purpose to make me look better. Typically, it takes me an hour and half to do the whole shebang of finding clothes, getting ready, and working accessories!

I'll put it this way. I work in a public place and have for over 10 years. Customers know me well. If I stop in my work place while dressed in 'going somewhere' clothes, I'm not recognized by people that see me everyday! I get that, you look familiar stare, until it finally clicks in their head or until I talk to them one!

anne frasier said...

helen, what fun!
i scored a 3. but i have to say that i've actually thought -- not about botox -- but a face lift. :D so that should get me 10 points right there. :D

maybe your face exercises will help me.

Helen Brenna said...

Keri, too funny! A 32 - you rock! And whaddya mean the 3 points for your age isn't fair? You'd still score a 29!

I'm with you on the going out thing. Sweats to the grocery store, but I usually look more presentable if I'm going out for something. I think some of that is working from home, though. If I had to dress up for an office job, I don't think I'd do much of anything for going out.

Anne, I have to admit I've thought about a face lift, too. It sounds so easy, doesn't it. Alas, I think the exercises are my best bet.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Okay, today I score 5. That's if plucking eyebrows ever at all--maybe twice a year--counts.

I took it again for my 39-year-old self, and I score 7, but I don't think botox was available then. I gave my today self credit for thinking about it. I'm with Anne--I've given more thought to face lifting. My thoughts have consistently veered away from Botox--well, that's thinking--as soon as I remember that "bo" is for botulism. I went through a period of pressing on the tops of all the canned goods in the kitchen when I was a teenager. I think I saw something on the news about somebody dying from eating canned greened beans. I've never been a shoe person, so I lose out there. As for the cruel shoes, I'm too tall and too uncoordinated to add 3". I'm with Betina on the comfort shoes. My current brand 'o choice is Born. As for thong undies, Lord have mercy! Why would you want to floss that part of your body?

This was so much fun, I went back and took the quiz again for my mother. She was a 20 until the day she died at the age of 63. (She was also the most beautiful woman in the world.)

Carly said...

I just started to come here daily and you ladies are FUNNY. I refuse to admit my score.
Just kidding. I'm in the second group.

Carly said...

OK I'm really bad with blogger. It didn't display the name I wanted. Carly Phillips. Now feeling stupid, but waving hi to you all!

Betina Krahn said...

Welcome, Carly! Glad to have you with us in the rag-top. Okay, maybe it's a hard-top. . . but from what I hear, all the hard-tops are way too little for our voluptuous selves to all fit.

:) Betina

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hi Carly!

We're funny? We're funny! Loveitloveitloveit!

I'm pretty sure I'm the straight man. The other riders are the funny ones. I'm seriously serious. Scandinavian roots. I'm thinking of blogging about a conversation we riders had on our private loop that was pretty funny, but I was so straight. The only thing is, the topic was rather, um, icky and ookie and downright disgusting. But I was so straight. What does anyone think? Should I tell the story? In the most delicate terms, of course, with absolutely no illustrations. Strictly a verbal challenge.

Helen Brenna said...

Kathy - interesting that your mom was a 20 and you're a 5. I always thought like mother, like daughter applied to this stuff.

Carly Phillips - What can I say, except we aim to please. Thanks for stopping by!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hey, Carly, are you still there? I meant to ask, what turns you on--shoes, creams, or thongs?

Helen Brenna said...

Kathy, I don't think you can tell that story without illustrations. Ick, is right!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Carly, what I meant to ask was, which quiz question got you the most points?

Yeesh, maybe I should run for office. I could be the next senator of Delaware. (Poor Joe. I can so identify!)

carlyphillips1 said...

What turns me on? Shoes, creams or thongs? CREAMS. Makeup. I'm a shopaholic!!!!!

Pat Cochran said...

My quiz score is 8. At age 70, you
just take life and it's twists and
turns as they come. You are just
glad to be blessed with each day that God gives you and you enjoy it
to the fullest extent.

Pat Cochran

Helen Brenna said...

Creams, creams and more creams. I'm with you Carly.

Pat, when I'm 70, I hope I have the same great attitude. I'm still learning!

carlyphillips1 said...

At age 70 I still want to be salivating over new creams!