Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More vanity, or not

Bearing continues the conversation on vanity vs. looking good:

It was five or six years ago, when we only had two children, that we switched to a parish a little farther away -- we picked it because it had a perpetual adoration chapel -- a parish that happens to have a lot of big families and a lot of growing families.

Some of you moms of bigger families are going to laugh at me for my naiveté, I know, but one of the things that surprised me and kind of astonished me -- and enchanted me -- was the number of really beautiful women in the parish who had four, five, six, seven, eight, even nine or ten children.

And no, that's not code for "every mother of many children exudes an inner beauty." Not every mother is objectively beautiful -- sorry, but it's true; some people look tired and harried all the time, even in their Sunday best. It may not be their fault. My point is: when I mention beautiful women, I really do mean visually beautiful, at least as objective as my own opinion can be.
And on the original vanity post at Betty Beguiles, SuburbanBanshee has the last word:
I'm not a wife or a mother and live alone. I guarantee you that if I don't look after my middle-aged appearance, it can quickly slide from "forgot to look in the mirror" to "forgot to perform basic hygiene tasks" and into "looks to be suffering from mental illness". And frankly, it's a pretty basic human need (right up there with food, clothing, bathing, etc.) to be neat and well-dressed. To do otherwise is to disrespect the templeness of your body.

Even among primates, being well-groomed and healthy-looking is one of the most important signs that one is healthy and taking care of oneself. Among humans, it shows a maintenance of civilization. St. Francis de Sales says that it behooves religious people to dress reasonably nicely and not too ridiculously far behind the fashions, either.

Vanity comes way way down the line.


bearing said...

"Maintenance of civilization!" I love it!

I was just thinking to myself that maybe I would do a better job making it through my husband's long business trips -- i.e., maintaining household civilization -- if I dressed better while he was gone. I always find myself tempted to stay in my pajamas.

Darwin said...

Bearing, I'm in that situation currently, and I'm finding that if I get entirely dressed in the morning (before the kids do, I should add) the day runs far smoother. Also, my feet are spared the depredations of the kitchen floor... Gah. There's some civilizational maintenence that needs to go on here.

MrsDarwin said...

Blogger, I'm getting to where I hate you. It's me, of course.

Enbrethiliel said...


And I am getting to where it's getting wonderfully entertaining. I mean, you see how funny it would be if Darwin had written that second comment, right? ;-)

BettyDuffy said...

I spent a portion of the morning thinking of arguments in favor of yoga pants--primarily, that they are--more or less--clothes. And in the morning they are on the floor where I left them ready to take me out the door at 7 a.m. They put up no obstacles to spontaneous exercise. And really, though not often, I have gone ahead out the door in my pajamas, when we're running really late for school--and it's always those days when for some reason, I end up having to get our of my car.

All that said, it's really difficult to take issue with maintaining civilization. And one woman's yoga pants may not cause the fall--but yoga pants upon yoga pants--it really is quite gross. POssibly even worth rising thirty minutes earlier to do my small part for the civilization of mankind.

Foxfier said...

I am so going to steal this justification to avoid the eye-bleedingly ugly "maternity" clothes that my sister keeps trying to get me into.... (I have no fashion sense, but I do NOT want any form of pajama and/or tent. I can barely stand the sundress Elf talked me into on our honeymoon cruise.)

Lauren said...

You mean the answer to my sartorial ineptitude is not Pajama Jeans? They seem so perfect on the infomercial.

It's hard to get motivated to look nice when the only people I see on a regular basis are my child, husband, and female business partner (who also wears yoga pants to work). But really with 10 mins worth of work, I can look pretty decent. A little cover-up under the eyes, blow dry the hair, clean clothes that fit makes a huge difference. Maybe the world would be a better place if we all took that extra 10 mins or so.

JMB said...

When my children were little I wanted to bring back the House Dress. Remember those? I pictured it in a snappy Lilly print, empire waist, zipper up the front, three quarter length sleeves. You could just get out of bed, zip it up and off you go. Alas, it never caught on.

I can get myself showered, dressed and made up in 15 min if I don't wash my hair, which I've been doing a lot lately. I figure the color will last longer if I don't wash it out. The other trick I have is to have only a few choices of clothes to wear, and underwear that fits. Makes a huge difference.

bearing said...

Well, my personal trick is to skip the makeup. I don't think it suits me. But during the summer at least, aren't there a ton of little dresses around like that? You know, stretchy, cotton, knee length? I have a couple of those -- one made by Patagonia, one by Horny Toad. They both are quite stretchy with a vee neck so I can even bf in them in a pinch. Not terribly modestly, of course, but then, it's a House Dress you are looking for, right?

Anonymous said...

I have fallen into the rather undesirable habit of wearing my gym clothes all day. In the winter, it's the gym clothes plus everything else I own just so I don't freeze to death in our heat- and money-leaking old house.

My husband, who has been known to spend all day in his robe as he works in his upstairs office, claims he does not care, but I suspect I should make some effort so as to improve the landscape of our home and not give him any reason to notice the well-groomed women he encounters on his frequent business trips.

Stuart Buck said...

Does this discussion overlap with the controversy here: