Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe It’s Quarantine
Quarantine might have closed the doors to salons everywhere, but it has re-opened the door to self-love, identity, and strongly connecting with trolls
It’s day one-hundred and seventy-thousand of quarantine. Last night, I dreamt that I went through the Popeye’s drive-thru and woke up in a pool of sweat. I’m unsure if it was because the human interaction at a drive-thru makes me anxious or the human interaction at a drive-thru turns me on, because it’s been that long since I’ve experienced human contact. The jury is still out on that one. One thing I do know for sure is that my eyebrows are taking over my forehead, I desperately need a haircut, and I trimmed the hair on my upper lip with a pair of scissors because my waxing studio is closed.
A lot of women are talking about outward appearances at the moment, and it makes sense. Women are excellent at forming relationships and establishing bonds, and there’s nothing quite like the collective trauma of all salons and studios closing overnight to truly form a sisterhood. And the sisterhood is strong with this one.
Women are excellent at forming relationships and establishing bonds, and there’s nothing quite like the collective trauma of all salons and studios closing overnight to truly form a sisterhood.
For those of us who are accustomed to regular visits to the nail and hair salon, not having access to this part of our routine can cause a bit of an internal crisis. What will people think if they know these aren’t my real nails? Will they still accept me if they see I have roots? Will someone judge me if my eyebrows aren’t perfectly shaped or I have hair on my lip or chin?
For a very long time, society has tricked our brains into believing that we are unworthy if we aren’t physically attractive, and because society likes to control us and tell us what to do, it has also crafted what physical attractiveness is and what it is not. Aren’t we lucky, ladies, to have a construct that’s entirely man-made and corporate to tell us what to do? So #blessed.
According to society, women are worth less if our bodies aren’t the exact size and shape they’re “supposed” to be. According to society, women are worth less if they let their body hair grow naturally instead of shave, wax, or laser it off in an effort to resemble naked mole rats. According to society, women are worth less if we have short, unpolished nails or naturally textured hair, or even eyelashes that don’t touch our foreheads.
According to society, women are worth less. Period. And during this time of social distance and quarantine, it’s hitting us harder than ever before, because the outlets we have gravitated towards to make ourselves feel more at home in our bodies are closed. And we can’t get in, no matter how hard we knock, no matter how loud we are, or how much we’re willing to pay. There’s a metaphor here about gender inequality, but I’ll save that for another time.
According to society, if we don’t have our physical attractiveness, do we have anything at all?
The other day, I shared a photo on my Instagram of my eyebrows, which are long and growing in a multitude of directions, with the intention to showcase that, yes, world, even a gal’s eyebrows grow! I typically trim and pluck them myself at home, but since we’ve been under stay at home orders, I’ve stopped. Why did I stop, though? Did I stop maintaining my eyebrows because I wasn’t seeing as many people as I was used to, or did I stop because plucking and tweezing my eyebrows actually kind of hurts, is a pain in the ass, and I just don’t feel like doing it that regularly anymore?
This action, or lack of action on my part, got me thinking about just how much women put themselves through to simply walk out of the door in the morning in hopes of being more accepted than who they are in their natural state. This isn’t to say all women put on makeup or fix their hair or shave their legs for the approval of others, but some women do. I surely do. And since being in quarantine and seeing less humans in person, my perspective has shifted, and I’ve been reminded that, who I am in my natural state is more than enough. It’s more than enough for me, it’s more than enough for the people that I see and meet, and it’s more than enough for society.
And if someone has an issue with this, they can, as the kids used to say in the 90s, “Talk to the hand.” Or they can do as the kids today say, “If you don’t leave me alone, I will ruin your life on Tik Tok.”
Let’s face it, COVID-19 and quarantine won’t last forever. It’s here for now, and practicing social distancing to save lives is crucial, but there will come a day again in the future when life kind of goes back to normal. We’ll leave our house and go to work, we’ll meet our friends for happy hours, and we’ll go on dates. We’ll be back in the salon to get our roots touched up, we’ll waffle between OPI’s Big Apple Red and the Thrill of Brazil, and we’ll maybe shave our armpits once or twice a week.
But what I hope will change, what I hope won’t go back to “normal”, is the why behind all that we do. I hope beauty routines transform from actions to please society to actions to please ourselves. I hope it transforms from equating worth to outward appearance to worth based on our character. I hope it transforms from the idea that beauty is external to to the fact that beauty is internal.
Just because we have split ends or our nails look like we sent them through a wood chipper doesn’t mean we are less worthy. Sure, it makes us look like trolls, but, much like our spray tans, that’s temporary.
Besides, if we are trolls, then that’s pretty cool, because according to Scandinavian folklore, trolls will perform acts of kindness to those who treat them as equals. And to those that don’t, well, we’ll eat you.
This is the first piece of a new fortnightly Restless column, ‘Called Out with Kaitlyn McQuin’