Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Echo, My Shadow, and Me

Who is she?

A slim Italian peasant, pinning her thick black braid off her neck before heading out into the summer heat to sell fruit from woven baskets, or to pick olives, or walk to a friend’s?

A gregarious, robust Greek woman, carving slices off a roast lamb and carrying them on overloaded platters into a taverna full of drinking customers?

A Spanish bride, mantilla veil trailing behind her, carrying a bunch of bougainvillea and thinking of the coming days as a wife in the sun?

Who is my long lost ancestor?

As far as I know, I am descended from English people. There may be a German or two thrown in, but for the most part, at least if our last names are any indication, my people originally came from the British isles (I just typed British aisles first by accident, and what an image that is! Blue Light special on aisle five, buy three British people, get the fourth one free! Ahem. Anyway.) My teeth (pre-braces) would support this theory, as does the little we know of our family history.

But one of my Olde Tyme great great great grandfathers had a little game of slap and tickle with a Mediterranean beauty at some point back in that history, because I had to get this olive skin from somebody, and it probably wasn’t from somebody who lived under clouds 363 days of the year. I suppose it could just as easily have been a grandmother gettin’ it on with a hot dude from Capri, and in fact that probably makes more sense, given the olive-skinned love child would have ended up back in England in order to beget the people who begot the people who eventually moved to America and begot me.

But anyways, in short, I’ve got some Mediterranean in me I firmly believe, which means that I was born with black eyes, black hair (both since faded to dark brown), and olive skin that almost never burns in the sun. And what it also means is that my black hair is not corralled to the top-of-head area, but has ventured out to places where it IS NOT WELCOME. On a female anyway.

So. Without my absolutely vital beauty products – my tweezers and razor, and yes the pair come as a SET so I get to include them both – I would look like a werewolf. My brows, like Rin’s, cover half my face and are desperate to be once again joined, linking elbows over the bridge of my nose. As for a little further south - well, I can grow better facial hair than most teenaged boys, if left to it. To spare you unpleasant mental images, I won’t expound on my hirsute natural state any further – suffice to say, it’s forest-like. If I could have all the minutes of my life back that I have spent on hair removal – it would be a lot of minutes, okay? I briefly toy with the idea of laser hair removal or electrolysis, but then I think of bushy-browed Brooke Shields and remember that beauty trends come and go. There may be a day when long black chin hairs are in, baby, and if that’s the case I don’t want to be lamenting the irreversible decision I made back in the early 2000s. At the moment, our society seems to prefer its women hairless, dainty, almost delicate. Perhaps that will change. But until it does – it will be – my razor, my tweezers, and me.

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