High Maintenance Woman
Occasionally, someone who no
longer wants to be my friend will forward me one of those annoying emails,
the ones that have been sent to every email address on earth and are even
now probably making their way to computers in distant galaxies.
you take the time to scroll through those never-ending messages, youíll
often find jokes of questionable quality at the end. But recently, when I
apparently had nothing else to do, I actually scrolled to the bottom of
one of these forwarded follies (enjoying at least two cups of coffee on
the way down) and found a couple of pictures that were worth the trip.
One picture showed two simple push buttons, one labeled On and the
other Off. The caption on this picture said Men. The other picture showed
dozens of buttons, knobs, levers and gauges in a dizzying and complicated
array. This one was called Ė you guessed it Ė Women. The obvious
implication was that women are a high-maintenance sector of our species.
I thought of that graphic depiction of the differences between the
genders a few days later when my husband and I were having one of our
regular conversations about access to the master bathroom. Even after many
years of marriage, we sometimes have these tense and often high-decibel
discussions because my mate refuses to accept the Rule of Triple
Reciprocity that has been in place ever since Eve needed more time at the
bathing brook than Adam.
The rule says that women get triple the
time and space in the bathroom as men. A wise and reasonable man would
resign himself to this timeless reality and add a second sink or, better
yet, build a whole other bathroom. This would allow the wife of such an
admirable man to enjoy her God-given right to leisurely bask in the
An unwise and unreasonable man, a man whose picture is
placed next to the word cheapskate in the dictionary, would insist on
sticking with a solitary sink and shower, brutally throwing a monkey
wrench into the convoluted process that is necessary to keep his wife
looking like her lovely self.
Over the years, Iíve developed a
highly effective, multi-step system for getting ready every morning. Each
phase in this process is divided into a series of tasks, and each task is
absolutely essential to achieving the goal of rendering me fit to face the
world. Phase 1 is taking a shower. While a man might think this is a
simple procedure involving a bar of soap and minimal scrubbing, such a man
would be wrong. A womanís shower ritual requires numerous wash cloths,
loofah, pumice stone, fruity face soap, vitamin-enhanced shampoo,
herbal-infused conditioner and, of course, honeysuckle shaving cream. A
womanís shower, especially my shower, cannot be rushed.
Phase 2 Ė
the after-shower Ė includes putting on various lotions and oils designed
to soften, smooth and perfume my newly cleaned and conditioned body. That
leads directly into Phase 3, when I momentarily leave the bathroom and
enter my closet to decide what to wear. Itís usually during this phase
that my husband, employing guerilla warfare tactics, sneaks into the
bathroom and jumps into the shower, rapidly steaming up the place and
fogging the mirror.
This threatens to stall Phase 4 Ė the
application of makeup Ė and usually leads me to lovingly suggest that my
manís allotted 30 seconds has elapsed, and he should exit the premises
without further delay.
Thatís when things get dicey. The timing
between Phase 4 and Phase 5 -- the all-important, multi-appliance
hair-styling step Ė is crucial. Any kind of unexpected setback, such as if
my husband turns stubborn and stays in the shower, means that my hair will
fail to achieve the desired fullness, and I will be cruelly condemned to a
Bad Hair Day.
A Bad Hair Day wipes out all of my hard work and
leaves me grouchy as a grizzly. Iím a high-maintenance mamma bear who
needs her own bathroom. Maybe someday, Iíll get it.
~ © Jackie Papandrew 2007 ~
Jackie Papandrew is an
award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to
a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column
ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea,
years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself
into. Visit her website at: JackiePapandrew.com