Saturday, September 17, 2011

Eye Brows and New Shoes

Has anyone ever had their eyebrows dyed?

I recently had it done. I was having my hair colored to cover the nasty gray and asked to have it done. After seeing myself in a photo, I realized that while I actually did have eyebrows, they were so gray they had become virtually invisible.

Thirty years ago I never would have imagined myself doing such a thing. I was a tom-boy growing up and those girls who abstained from building forts and sailing boats in the creek because they didn’t want to break a nail or dirty their clothes were scorned by me. I never wanted to become one of those prissy girls.

The other day my husband was working on his truck and asked me to hold something. My first thought as I looked at this greasy, rusty piece of a wheel was, I’m going to ruin my nails. I’d just done them in preparation for a book signing event. The same event I’d gotten my hair and eyebrows done for.

My husband doesn’t understand this new me. I had horses my whole life. The extent of my wardrobe was jeans and a T-shirt. I was always in the horse barn and always covered in horse hair. When we got married I was in the barn twice a day milking cows and feeding calves. I breast fed all my kids sitting on a hay bale a corner of the barn.

Back then my make up routine consisted of mascara and lip gloss with maybe some clear coat nail polish.

Now that I am an author heading off to present myself to the masses, I suddenly worry about my clothes, my nails, my hair and my eye brows. Lately I’ve even considered teeth whitening.

When did I become so vain? Or is it fear that my worth as an author will be judged by my appearance? Will people still by my book if my hair is gray? Can’t my writing stand on its own, or will new shoes for my new outfit really inspire people to buy form me?

And where do I stop? I’m starting to understand the Hollywood set and their need for Botox and plastic surgery.
How far will you go perfecting your appearance before an author event? Does the public judge us by how we look? How much does appearance play in the sale of our books? What do you think?


Kathy Otten said...

Good Morning All,
I want to say thank you ahead of time for stopping by. I have to work today (14 hr. shift) and I won't be able to pop in until midnight tonight or rather tomorrow morning. Enjoy your weekend! :)

Jennifer Jakes said...

Hi Kathy -
Interesting post. I always put on the "glam" before a book signing, and to a lesser extent, when I attend my RWA meetings.
For me it's stepping into my character: The Author. I think readers still have an image of us, one that isn't sweatpants and T-shirts. LOL
And your post made me laugh. I used to help my husband grease/lube dump trucks, so I know exactly what you're talking about.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Kathy,
Great blog. I can certainly relate to the grey hair, my eyebrows are o.k (for the present). I am sure we should let our books sell on their merits without glamming ourelves up. Shouldn't make any difference to sales if we don't look our best, but let's face it, what author is prepared to take that kind of risk?



Tina Donahue said...

I always try to look my best at signings, but I don't go for the glam factor. I think it turns women off. After all, if you look like Angelina Jolie, you're not going to be attracting a lot of middle-aged women to come to your table to check out your romances. I think if you look pleasant and approachable - ala Katie Couric - you'll do better in the long run.

jean hart stewart said...

Since I gave up the glam a year ago, I now don't even look like the picture you see here.I've let the grey come through and have grown to like the new me. I glammed for a long while though, so it if makes anyone feel better they certainly should.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Interesting, Kathy, and I agree. Although I enjoy, for instance, having a manicure, it's not something I do regularly. However, when authors are at a booksigning, speaking, etc. their appearance is important. Although I'll still be overweight (apparently forever as I'm having no luck losing), I can at least appear well-groomed and professional.

Celia Yeary said...

Kathy--I don't understand "glam" and couldn't do it if my life depended on it. My overall appearance says "sweet lady who looks like a Sunday School teacher." When I stopped dying my hair two years ago and started wearing "cuter" clothing and sort of a new make-up look and dangly earrings, I've had more compliments I think than I've ever had in my life.
Fortunatley, my "gray" hair is white-silverish.
I was taught my whole life to look nice "in public." I still have that lesson--won't even go to the grocery store unless I'm "fixed" up. So, my opinion is dress up a little--but not so much so you'd intimidate your audience. Celia

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Your writing speaks for itself, Kathy. You could ride into a signing on a horse with mud all over you and your readers would love you.
If you want to look pretty to please yourself, you go right ahead. We all like to look our best when we have official things to attend. None us look like we did when we were twenty but I believe there is beauty and dignity in age--like vintage wine.

Brenda Hyde said...

14 hours-- wow! My husband works 12 hour days, and that's bad enough. How do you find time to write?

I have gotten better at pampering myself the older I've gotten-- I'm 51-- but I still don't do too much. I color my hair, and buy pretty bras and nighties-- of course only my husband knows about those:) Still, they make me feel pretty. LOL

Fiona McGier said...

I work those same kinds of hours, only at 2 jobs, Kathy! So I figure I'm too tired to do any "glam" work. Plus I have 3 kids in college, so I can't afford it anyway. I eschew make-up because I'm too tired to get up earlier to put it on...I also object politically to the idea that women are only beautiful when they slather all kinds of slop on their faces that make lots of money for the manufacturers, but aren't always good for the woman's skin. My feeling is that I don't have to look at my face, so I don't care; if you don't like it, look away. I've always enjoyed talking to complete strangers, so I count on that to sell my books, along with my writing.
Interesting topic!